Have you heard about Instagram Reels? Moreover, are you looking for a way to incorporate Instagram Reels into your business?
At Dubb, we love studying the vast array of social media tools that both rise and fall in the marketplace. Because of this, I am excited to share with you some of my favorite tips and insights on businesses that are considering Instagram Reels. Whether you are just hearing about Instagram Reels for the first time or have been thinking of incorporating them into your digital marketing work, let’s explore the possibilities and opportunities that come from this new social media tool.
The Constant Evolution of Social Networks
From the earliest social networks to the social media giants of today, social networks are always evolving. They are never staying in one place. As you likely know, one of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s famous phrases was move fast and break things. The simple idea behind this phrase is that social networks like Facebook must always be shipping. They take the data that you (and other users) are providing to it, and then make consistently better iterations of their product. From there, they get even more data and the cycle continues.
But along with gathering data and insights from their own users, today’s social networks are studying each other. Even though they may share some resemblance, there are some key distinctions between them. It goes without saying, but a social network like TikTok is much different than one like Twitter. These social media giants are always studying each other. When the opportunity is big enough, they don’t hesitate to gain inspiration from their accelerating competitors. In other circumstances, they may copy those competitors entirely.
It is with this discussion in mind that we arrive at TikTok and Instagram Reels. As you likely know, TikTok has exploded in popularity this year. As we were locked down in the early days of Covid-19, many of us logged onto TikTok. TikTok has caught on fire for many different reasons, but one of the most prominent is its advanced algorithm. Opening TikTok, you are sure to find content that is entertaining and informative.
TikTok’s massive growth certainly caught the attention of many social media giants—including Facebook. In fact, only several months ago, Facebook announced that it was releasing a new product called Instagram Reels. Upon opening Reels and exploring the app, you will notice that it is very similar to TikTok. While there are some nuanced differences, it’s clear that Facebook is looking to gain market share and capture the exciting growth prospect that TikTok has displayed.
The Emergence of Instagram Reels
Whether or not you admire Facebook’s attempt to copy TikTok, it is safe to say that the app provides some interesting opportunities to create stellar content for your audience.
When it comes to business, I want to always be in a learning mindset. One of the challenges that come with digital marketing today is to make education entertaining. Whether you are trying to build brand awareness for your product or are trying to show how a new product or service creates value in users’ lives, it’s critical to capture and keep your audience’s attention. There is plenty of content out there, so it’s up to you and your team to make content that your audience will love.
In the process of creating content, you may have looked at several different types of tools and social networks. Upon looking at Instagram Reels (or TikTok for that matter), you may have paused. It’s easy to think that these platforms are for kids and aren’t “serious enough” for your company and brand. After all, TikTok and Instagram Reels are mostly known for young influencers creating funny and entertaining content for their fans.
Ultimately, I encourage you to reevaluate your initial impressions of Instagram Reels. Instagram has a long track record of making great new features that are adopted by a wide audience. This is unlike many other technology companies. They are less likely to adopt new features from up-and-coming startups, meaning that the playing field eventually gets leveled.
But on the other hand, Instagram has already created commonly-used features like carousel posts. Yes, Instagram isn’t perfect. Instagram TV (also known as IGTV) didn’t do quite as well as Instagram Stories. Instagram Reels is a new chance for Instagram to come out with a new feature that may be a hit.
As smaller creators, we have a unique chance to see and try new features on all of these social media platforms. With Instagram Reels, there is a tremendous opportunity to try this new tool and get more visibility on the Instagram platform. Whether or not you are an Instagram power user, this is the time to experiment with Reels.
Some Differences Between Instagram Reels and TikTok
Before going on to make some Reels, it’s helpful to understand some of the differences between Reels and TikTok. Understanding these differences, you can get the most out of both platforms (should you choose to use both of them). These are just some differences between Reels and TikTok, so I encourage you to use both products and see them for yourself.
One of the most prominent differences centers on length. With Reels, you are limited to 15-second videos. This is much shorter than TikTok, which lets users record videos for up to one minute. With significantly less time available to you, you will need to be creative to include everything that you want. The good news is that constraints often unleash creativity, so I’m sure that you will create something awesome.
Another difference between Reels and TikTok is you can directly incorporate Reels into your Instagram marketing strategy. This is due to the fact that Reels is an Instagram product. If you already have a detailed or intricate Instagram marketing strategy, you can easily add Reels to that strategy. TikTok is a completely different product and company, so you may need to do some additional work to include it in your overall marketing strategy.
Finally, Reels arguably has a broader audience compared to TikTok. TikTok is mostly catered to Millennials and Gen Z’ers. By contrast, the Instagram platform itself caters to both younger and older users. Because Reels fits in naturally with Instagram, you have the ability to access a wider audience.
These are just some differences between both tools. Once again, it’s best to experiment with both tools to see them in action. You’ll quickly see the pros and cons of both Reels and TikTok.
Tips on Leveraging Instagram Reels For Your Business
So how can you best take advantage of Instagram Reels? Because the tool is so new, all of us are trying to figure it out.
As you know, Instagram Reels are 15 seconds long. Because you have such a small amount of real estate, you’ll need to be strategic. Along with this, you need to sharpen up your storytelling skills. It’s important to have a distinct beginning, middle, and end of your Instagram Reels. Even though it is just 15 seconds, having this type of structure will help you create more compelling Reels. You’ll definitely want to experiment at this stage. Doing so will help you improve your stories and help you get a better sense of how to create more engaging Reels.
Along with this, it’s important to respect the channel that you are on. By this, I mean we have to create and present content in formats that match what the social network is about. Whether it is about the proportion of the video, the length of the video, or the type of new technical feature that we’re using, we need to play to the platform’s strengths.
In the case of Instagram Reels, you need to leverage the short, 15-second format to create compelling content for your fans. Luckily, Reels gives you many different tools to do that. You can do everything from adding audio tracks, special effects, stickers, and text to your videos. As with creating any video, however, you must make sure that your videos are speaking directly to your audience. Understand what your audience wants to see and give it to them. By being empathetic and creating value-added content for your audiences within Reels’ constraints, you are sure to succeed.
The next tip is related to the point I made above. That is, when using Instagram Reels, focus on building connections. No matter the size or sector of your business, you can use Instagram Reels to create genuine, authentic connections with your audience.
It may seem difficult, but you should be trying to create a certain type of experience. That experience is making your audience feel like they are in the same room as you. Especially nowadays, we’re forced to be separate and apart. Social distancing means that we are spending less time with each other in-person and more time on our electronic devices. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make connections with your audience, however. Arguably, it is easier because we can leverage the Internet’s massive scale to get the job done.
No matter where your audience is located, they should be able to feel some tangible connection with you on Reels. There are plenty of ways to do this. For instance, you can take your viewers on a behind-the-scenes look at your business. With Reels, you can show you and your team at a brainstorming meeting. You can even share clips from customer testimonials, where happy customers share their thoughts about your stellar product or service. No matter what you do, keep connection at the top of mind.
Along with building connections with your Reels audience, you want to make education entertaining. Regardless of your interests, there is so much content on the Internet today. Not only that, but it’s safe to say that some members of your audience want to turn off their brains when consuming your content. So the real challenge from this is to create informative and educational content that will capture your audience’s attention.
Luckily, Reels is a great platform to both educate and inform at the same time. One great way to do this is to show off your personality. It is less like the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and more like your favorite influencers that you see on social media. Even if it may seem “unprofessional” or “non-business like,” being authentic is going to make your content resonate with your audience. Keep this in mind as you are experimenting with the content you’re making for Reels.
Finally, to get the most out of Reels, you need to fight fear and continue experimenting. The show must go on. We must continue to keep trying things and testing things. This is especially true on a new platform like Instagram Reels, where all of us are trying to figure out how to best use it.
When experimenting, however, it can be easy to clam up. Our internal anxieties can bubble to the surface. Whether it is fear of failure, fear of being judged, or even fear of success, these fears can deter us from taking smart, calculated risks. Even though it may seem more comfortable to pause that experiment or work on something that is more comfortable, we are doing longer-term damage. The comfort of the present is at the cost of our future goals.
Ultimately, you may have heard of this maxim. Fear stands for “false expectations appearing real.” What we need to do is not necessarily succumb to that fight, flight, and freeze response. That response prevents us from continuing the productive things that we need to do.
Instead, what we must do is have a strong bias for action. Even if we have those subtle fears or anxieties, it’s critical to act anyway. The good news is that experimenting with Reels is extremely easy. All you need to do is pull out your phone, record 15 seconds of content, and upload it to Reels. If you aren’t satisfied with your recording? There’s no problem. Simply delete the recording and try it again.
To get the most out of Reels, it’s important to get in the habit of creating content—wherever you are. If you are in the office and have some downtime, go ahead and take out your phone. Record a 15-second video about an interesting topic that is affecting your industry and direct viewers to visit your website. Go ahead and add some relevant music in the background to spice it up. If you get great engagement, double down and create more Reels like this. And if not? At least you tried. Moreover, you have an insightful, real data point that you can consider when creating future content.
In these uncertain times, a better mindset is to accept uncertainty and have a strong bias for action. Just try things and see what works. While failures are inevitable, you may launch an experiment that kills it with your audience. In fact, that Reels experiment may be the one thing that brings a massive influx of prospects and customers to your business.
An Exciting New Social Media Tool
Instagram Reels is a tool that you should absolutely include in your digital marketing portfolio. Through Reels, you are able to create compelling, educational, and fun video content for your audience. While we are all still learning about how to get the most out of Reels, you can leverage the tips and strategies above as you proceed on your Reels journey.
At Dubb, we enjoy hearing how our audience is using social media platforms like Instagram Reels. If you want to exchange some ideas on how to get the most out of Reels, feel free to contact us. You can also click here to learn more about how Dubb can help you capitalize on the power of video sales and marketing.