Instagram Reels is a content format that enables you to create and share 15-second videos with others. It’s an attempt by Facebook to compete with TikTok, which also aims at short-form video production and is particularly popular with Gen Z.
Although criticized as a “TikTok copycat,” Instagram Reels has received positive reactions from influencers and brands. Many creators have said they are planning to experiment with Reels while maintaining their presence on TikTok. Reels is already being used by brands including Sephora, Walmart and Netflix.
So, what exactly is Instagram Reels? How does it work? How can you, as a brand, use it in your marketing strategy? We have the answers to all of your questions below.
What is Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels offers you a collection of creative tools for making fun, engaging short Instagram videos. Film and edit multi-clip 15-second Reels videos with audio, text, special effects, and stickers, then share them with your followers. Users can scroll endlessly through short video content based on their likes, follows, followers, and interactions to give users the “reel” feeling.
Instagram Reels now has its own tab on the main Instagram navigation bar. But you can still find Reels on the explore page.
You can find Instagram Reels easily on any profile here.
Instagram Reels is now available in the United States and 50 other countries around the world.
Similar to TikTok, you can tap the music and pick “Use Audio” if you find a song or audio clip that you like.
TIP: Use audio to look at the other posts, to see what’s out there. Never hurts to get inspiration and find new trends.
Users can also choose music from a vast library or use their own audio.
As well as selecting and adding audio, there is a range of useful tools to explore for video editing. A video countdown timer, the video speed change option, and a visual effects library.
You can choose to film video clips on the spot or upload them from your camera roll to make a Reel. If you’re done with making clips, you can choose from a range of Instagram stickers and use the draw and text tools.
We’ll begin to see whether Reels will draw users away from TikTok. Brands are not sticking to one platform for advertising yet, but here are ways that brands are using Instagram Reels:
How To Use Instagram Reels For Business
Instagram Reels is a new way of developing your community on Instagram, and to increase your reach. It’s a fun way to share viral and creative clips with your audience.
Instagram Reels, even in its early stages, is proving to be a place where both brands and developers can make waves.
If big names like Sephora and Louis Vuitton have been using Reels from day one, and if you’re already using Instagram for your business, why not give Reels a try?
Convinced? Then, here are five ways you can use Instagram Reels in your marketing strategy:
1. Create Authentic Content that Resonates with Your Audience
As Instagram Stories entered the scene in 2016, the popularity of the fun and casual abstract format could have been predicted by few.
Instagram Reels are designed to be quick and enjoyable and are filled with special effects that make it very easy to create captivating and authentic content.
You don’t have to save your personality for other applications, now you can display anything on your Instagram. All your followers have to do is slide on over to the new Instagram Reels tab.
And what could be better than that? In doing so, you can reach an entirely new audience. Your Reels will appear on the Explore pages of users, and just like that, they will be able to quickly press the follow button.
2. Share Educational Content
Posting educational content is a great place to start. Give your top 5 travel tips to your followers, teach them how to take the perfect picture, or show them 5 ways to style a top.
Take for example this Paris based restaurant group, Big Mamma Group. They only have a couple of Instagram Reels but they discovered their niche quickly: posting videos of delicious food they serve at their restaurants 😍.
3. Reuse Tik Tok Videos
If you have published content on TikTok, you should consider reusing them for Reels. Take ColourPop Cosmetics for example. This brand did an excellent job of reposting their TikTok videos on Reels.
You can either show your followers who have not used TikTok a new form of content, or help introduce your content to new audiences, by reusing TikTok videos.
4. Showcase Products
Instagram Reels offers an immense opportunity for brands and companies looking to boost visibility and sales.
Particularly when the Reels Explore Page is pushed out, users who don’t follow you can see your content — this is big!
Although we’re not sure how the Instagram Reels algorithm works just yet, using hashtags and informative captions is a great idea to let Instagram know what you’re talking about.
French footwear company Jonak Paris, new to Reels with only two videos, uses Reels to highlight their latest summer collection in a fun, innovative way.
5. Announce Your Sales
How about announcing your sales and exclusive offers via Reels? Fenty Beauty successfully applied this idea, as Instagram users gained a lot of interest.
Stay authentic, and don’t turn your videos into blatant ads!
Think this way: On TikTok, many brands have been successful because they reveal their human side and often give up being flawless all the time. This is what viewers want to see.
Examples Of Brands Successfully Using Instagram Reels
Reels is proving to be a place for bite-sized content.
With a handful of brands and businesses using Reels, many are already using it to grow their business effectively.
Instagram Reels by Louis Vuitton are high quality, beautiful, and super creative — and it works for them! Each of their Reels has gone viral, with 5 million views on average.
The global fashion brand is using Instagram Reels to promote new collections. In their latest set of Reels, they’re showcasing the #LVCruise.
Each campaign Reel is very similar. All of them have the exact same caption just with a different model and #LVCruise bag.
Instagram Reels appear on the Explore Tab, which ensures that even people who don’t follow you will see your Instagram Reels.
This is a big growth hack as every time you post it shows your brand to a new audience. When your view count on each Reels post starts to increase, your follower count could get a boost too!
Online challenges have taken social media by storm from # SavageChallenge to # CeleblookalikeChallenge. Sephora’s TikTok influence is massive and has more than 26 million views on their #sephorachallenge.
Sephora collaborated with @ryanbpotter to create their second Reel on Instagram. The video gained over 1.9 million views. Ryan introduced a new challenge for makeup lovers. Will this be a new hashtag challenge on Instagram Reels in the next coming weeks?
Sephora’s reels range from product demos, captivating makeup tutorials, and user-generated content.
Why not tease a binge watcher’s favorite show for a few seconds? Instagram Reels offers Netflix another innovative way, instead of conventional previews, to advertise shows.
Connecting your audience with the influencers they love is always a smart idea and Walmart knows how to do influencer marketing. Walmart’s social media feed is packed with diverse partnerships with influencers that really engage their audiences.
This Reel features spotlight influencers from Walmart throughout the year.
The British online fashion retailer ASOS now has strong followers on both Instagram and TikTok. All they had to do was repost their best TikTok content on Reels, and in just a few days, this reel received over 4.4 million views.
As mentioned earlier if you already have any content about TikTok, why not reuse it in Instagram Reels? Video dimensions are already available in a 1080×1920 format, and you can use the same audio clip in Reels or simply add new audio to it.
This can either show your content to a new audience, or it can help persuade an audience who has already seen the clip on TikTok to search for it on Instagram.
It may be too early to say Instagram Reels will be successful as its predecessor, Stories.
Instagram Reels can be another way for brands and businesses to better understand their Instagram audience even more. The only metrics currently available to Reels are view count, likes, and comments.
But, just like on TikTok and Instagram Stories, we anticipate Instagram Reels to have in-depth analytics in the future.
Whatever your brand or business, there is a creative opportunity awaiting you.