copying other social media platforms innovating, Instagram remains at the top of the social media marketing hierarchy because of its engaging features for creating viral content, and an epic feature known as Instagram Reels might just be its best yet.
Before the Reels launch, features like IGTV, Instagram Stories, Shoppable Posts, and Instagram Live have already been exploited by brands for marketing and advertising.
Instagram Reels is another one of such features, and it’s already gathering quite the momentum. If your business is still on the sidelines, this post will give you all you need to get started and derive business value from Reels.
What are Instagram Reels?
Think of Instagram Reels as a way of creating fun and trendy videos using visual effects, music, speed, and other built-in creative tools. It gives content creators the freedom – like a blank check – to go all out and produce something truly magnificent.
One of the best things about Instagram Reels is that its users don’t need large followings for it to be effective because once posted, they become visible to everyone on Instagram – not just followers.
And unlike Stories that get deleted after 24 hours (unless you save them as Highlights), Reels content is permanent and can be viewed by Instagram’s vast audience days or weeks after posting. Cool, right?
Reels typically last between 15 – 30 seconds, but if you’re creative enough, that’s enough time to do your thing and market your brand and product.
Yes, it’s pretty similar to TikTok, but Reels is an in-app feature, and it offers just as much quality. Its similarity to TikTok makes it a product of a strategy that has been proven to generate views, engagements, and sales over time, so this isn’t some project in beta testing.
At the rate at which Reels are boosting brand sales and engagements, it’s safe to say that if it isn’t in your plans, then you should consider it.
Why Use Instagram Reels for your Business?
First, every brand currently using Instagram Reels for promotions and adverts says it’s great. So, why not? For reference, the Instagram Reels of NFL’s New England Patriots record about 67% more engagements than their standard video posts when they leverage Reels.
Plus, this isn’t even the final phase of Instagram Reels. You’d still be an early adopter if you started using it now, and as we’ve learned from Instagram’s history of new features, the earlier, the better.
The major adoption of Reels is inevitable, and Instagram will make sure of it. Social media algorithms always reward early adopters of its newest features.
So, by being a pioneer user, you’re in for potentially millions of engagements and massive exposure when your Reel goes viral. And with the United States at times threatening to ban TikTok, the chances are that more content creators will move to Instagram Reels en masse.
There’s also the fact that Reels is a breath of fresh creative air. It offers something dynamic – something different from the usual and you can tap into that to develop unique promotions and advertising content for your brand.
All you have to do is channel your creativity! You can share Reels on your custom Reels tab as well as your Feed, and rest assured that every Reel you create has a chance of being featured on the global Explore page.
This article is a breakdown of what Instagram Reels is, how it works, and how you can create top-tier marketing content with it.
How Does the Instagram Reel Algorithm Work?
Like every feature on Instagram and other social media platforms, Reels work according to a custom program or, let’s say, a set of rules known as an algorithm. Not much is public knowledge about the Reels algorithm, but here’s what we know:
- The Reels algorithm supports creative, lively, and experimental content.
- It is a big fan of videos with massive potential for going viral.
- It will make content with logos or visible watermarks from third-party apps like TikTok undiscoverable.
- Directly recycled content from third-party apps will not perform optimally on Reels.
- The Reels algorithm frowns at content largely covered by texts.
- It supports content that uses original audio or music from the Instagram music library.
- Reels don’t support paid content just yet.
- Low-quality videos don’t stand a chance of going viral or generating substantial engagements on Reels.
- And, of course, it doesn’t support any content that does not abide by Instagram’s Community Guidelines.
How to Create Your First Instagram Reel
For the record, you don’t need a degree or a big brain to make use of Reels. The feature is highly user-friendly, so its tools are pretty easy to understand and apply. All you have to do is play around with the effects and features, and boom! Fantastic marketing content is born.
You might want to update your Instagram to the latest version for this, but first, you have to know your Reel tools.
Timer and Countdown:
A simple feature that lets you record hands-free. Once you click on record, you’ll see a countdown, which gives you some time to get set before the recording starts. The timer lets you select how long you want your video to run (15 or 30 seconds).
Reels come with preloaded songs that you can use for your videos and you can also select the part of the song you wish to feature in your video.
However, you may not have access to the Instagram music library due to copyright restrictions if you operate a business account. Notwithstanding, you can record any original audio in your reels, and by doing so, the audio will be attributed to you.
Interestingly, if you operate a public account, people can use your original audio for voiceovers by clicking on Use Audio.
This is a relatively new video editing feature on Reels, and the Instagram audience is digging it. With the Remix feature, you can respond to an existing Reel with another Reel video, with both videos standing side by side.
This offers a unique opportunity to respond to trending content by popular creators or partner brands, which will increase your engagements. Users can also Remix your Reels and create more exposure for your brand- just make sure to enable the Remix feature.
This tool allows you to combine cuts from previous videos to create flawless transition Reels.
Just like in Instagram stories and pretty much all video editing platforms, you can spice up your Reels with tons of special effects.
While some are custom-designed for marketing and promotions, you may have to get super creative to use others for the same purpose.
Reels come with an option to increase or reduce the speed at which your video or audio plays. Perfect for editing slow-motion videos.
Note: You can apply different effects to multiple clips and combine them to form a single Reel.
Now, Here’s How to Create an Instagram Reel:
- Open the Instagram Stories Camera and select Reels. You’ll see the Reels interface and a catalog of the pre-discussed creative tools on the left side of the screen.
- Choose the filters, music, and speed you’d like to apply.
- Record your video by pressing and holding the capture button. For the record, you can choose to record reels in fragments or all at once. Reels also support the use of pre-recorded videos from your gallery.
- Add texts, stickers, and other visual effects to tune up your video.
Once you’re done recording and editing your video, the next obvious action is to share it with the global online community – except if you want to save it for later as a draft, which you can.
Of course, you can tag your friends or partner brands, add hashtags and captions, and choose a custom video thumbnail or cover photo before sharing it.
Note: Creating a Reel is easy. Making it entertaining with high replay value is not. And for that, you’ll need to be super creative.
How to Use Instagram Reels for Your Business
Now that we’ve covered the basics, how can a company utilize this innovative feature?
Showcase Your Product
The primal instinct for most businesses is to showcase your product or service in the best possible way. Reels offer unique ways for you to do that. For example, you can use the green screen effect on Reels to place your product in unusual spots that’ll definitely catch viewers’ attention.
You can also showcase your product by making your Instagram Reels shoppable.
In other words, you can directly promote and tag your product or service on Reels and include links that lead people to product descriptions and checkout pages! This is huge for branding and generating sales, so you should definitely exploit it.
Create Authentic Content
Authentic, creative content doesn’t just promote your brand; it cements an unforgettable memory in viewers’ hearts.
Instagram Reels’ features make it pretty easy to dish out hot stuff, but you’ll have to do some creative work too. Plus, the Reels algorithm supports experimental and out-of-the-box content – not repeated or basic ones, so the more creative you are with your content, the higher your chances of going viral.
Nowadays there are plenty of Instagram tools to craft unique content for Instagram Reels, especially when it comes to video editing.
Share Educational content
One of the best marketing strategies is educating and enlightening an audience on a subject and chipping in a related product.
If you own a skincare business, you could talk about acne, the physical and emotional travails of people living with it, how they can get better, and then suggest your product as an efficient solution. It sounds simple and basic, but it works all the time.
Another fantastic option that will educate your audience and build customer relations is creating FAQ Reels that answer common questions about your brand, product, and industry.
You can also share in-depth information on how your product works, how it’s different from the norm, and how people can use it.
For example, if you own a designer footwear store, you could do fashion highlights and show your audience how to step out on a Monday morning or Saturday night in your products. Content like that will boost your engagements and sales, no doubt.
Informative content positively influences customers’ buying decisions, so you should ish them out.
Make it Fun and Personal
Business dynamics are changing these days, and one of the highlights of this change is people responding better to brands that include fun elements in their ads. It makes the brand seem friendlier and says a lot about their customer relations.
As you probably already know, customers are more attracted to the content they can relate to – not imaginary or non-applicable stuff.
Capture and post unaware moments. Share bloopers, silly mistakes, and funny experiences at work or during an event.
Join or create challenges relating to your brand, product, or niche and ask your audience to join and tag you. Use memes and other trendy elements to promote your brand.
Be real with your audience. It works like magic.
Post Some Behind-the-Scenes Content
If there’s anything that excites customers and first-timers, it’s access to exclusive content.
You can use your Instagram Reels to share sneak peeks into your next project or how the current one was created.
Customers and viewers always enjoy a virtual tour of a brand’s workspace, pre-launching event, or any silly but consequential thing you hardly post about- even if it is for just 30 seconds!
Sharing exclusive content with customers makes them feel at home and part of your story as a brand ambassador – something every brand works super hard to achieve. And now you get to do it hassle-free with Instagram Reels.
Share User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content in simple terms refers to content (text, video, audio, or image) relating to your brand but not created or posted by any of your official brand affiliates.
This sort of content has proven to be a powerful marketing strategy, mainly because people trust content from other users or non-brand entities more than custom adverts and promotions.
Many brands, especially cosmetic brands, have started using their reels to post user-generated content, and the results have been nothing but impressive.
It helps build social proof and boost customer interactions, and you need those for brand success. UGCs may even serve as legit, unfiltered, and unbiased product reviews.
An added advantage would be that you won’t need to develop content – just use posts from users of your products or services!
Funnel Customers to Your Instagram Page
By creating creative and authentic Reel content, you spark a fire of interest in the hearts of your audience, and consequently, they go ahead to check out your page.
If your content and products are impressive, you can be sure that they will patronize and promote your brand online and through word-of-mouth.
Basically, your Reels can serve as a source of web traffic to your sales funnel.
Additional Tips on Using Instagram Reels
Now that you know the why and how, here are some additional tips to help you maximize your Reels!
Post your Reels at specific times, not just randomly
This is one thing many people fail at, and it’s the reason why some Reels don’t generate as much content as they should.
Share your Reels when most of your audience is starting to come online, and you can find out when this is by checking Instagram Insights.
Hop on Reel trends early
When it comes to Reels, there’s a general rule of thumb; the earlier, the better. There’s no use creating Reel content using cold concepts.
So, identify new social media trends (slang, video, audio, or pretty much anything) relating to your industry and infuse them in your Reels as soon as you can. That way, your content and Instagram page will receive tons of early and lasting engagements from IG users.
Share Reel content on your Instagram Feed
Posting Reel content on your Instagram is a simple hack for boosting your views and engagements. Plus, it makes sure that your content is viewed by your followers and target audience, which is excellent for sales.
Yes, the original thumbnail might mess with your Instagram aesthetic, but you can always change that to a cover photo that blends perfectly with the existing content.
Keep your texts centered.
You can add texts to your Reel videos – this you know, but you have to make sure that the texts are in the correct position.
Instagram crops Reel content to 4:5 dimensions, so you might want to shift your texts, stickers, gifs, and other content to the center of the screen so that they don’t get cropped.
Don’t delete your Reels.
We’ve all been there – a certain content doesn’t generate as much traction as we like, so we delete it. Well, don’t do that with your Instagram Reels.
Over time, it will rack up views and engagements and might even go viral. Who knows? Plus, that poor-performing Reel video might have been great for the few who watched it. Don’t be a killjoy.
If Instagram is a part of your marketing strategy, as it should be, you need to really check out the Reels feature. It offers limitless promotional opportunities, and your Reel content might just be the next big thing on the web. Plus, there are amazing rewards for early adopters.
Reels is a relatively new marketing and content creation feature, and you’ll be doing yourself and your brand a favor by taking advantage of its inherent potential.
Khris Steven is a content marketer and the founder of Khrisdigital. He blogs about sales funnels, marketing tools, trends, and how business owners can make more from their business by serving and impacting lives.
Hero photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash
How To Use Instagram Reels FAQs
Here are the ways you can use Instagram reels:
1. Showcase/introduce your products and services
2. Create content
3. Post educational content
Check these tips on how to make a good Instagram reel:
1. Be creative
2. Include captions if possible
3. Make it short and fun
4. Don’t forget hashtags
5. Make sure your reels provide value to your target audience/customers
Every brand/marketer should use Instagram reels because:
1. They create 67% more engagements compared to the standard videos posted on Instagram.
2. Reels offers creators something dynamic.
3. It allows users to be creative and develop something new and unique.
To find Instagram reels, open the application, and just at the bottom part of your screen, you will see an icon that looks like a video icon. It is located in the middle of all the icons, besides the magnifying glass and heart icons. From there, you can see all the reels created/posted by people that you might be interested in.
Yes, reels can show up on your feed. Before posting them, you can choose if you want the reels to be posted on your main feed or not. You will also get asked to write a caption for your video. Below that, you will see a button that says, “Also share to feed”.