What are Instagram Reels? Is it just a knockoff version of TikTok trying to keep Instagram relevant? Yes and no. While Instagram Reels and TikTok are similar because of their edits/filters and short video lengths, they have very different applications to increase followers, views, and activity on your brands page.
Some key differences
TikTok is its own platform while Reels is only one featured section on Instagram. Reels have a set of editing tools that allows its users to create engaging and trendy video content. Reels can also be shared to Instagram stories and have a time limit of 60 seconds while TikTok has a longer limit of up to 3 minutes. Check out Hootsuite’s blog post on how to create an Instagram Reel if you want a step by step breakdown.
Instagram Reels have only been around since 2020 and were introduced to answer competition from TikTok which started to gain its popularity in 2018. Most people will say that Reels are just a less popular version of TikTok, but brands create Reels to stay relevant across all platforms especially since Reels can also be shared to Facebook. Brands will recycle their TikTok videos to post on Reels to promote their brands in every aspect of social media. Having experience using TikTok can help brands create and master Reels because they are so similar!
Why are Brands using Reels?
Instagram Reels provide another platform for brands looking to repurpose existing content and partner with popular creators. Reels can be used not only to develop genuine connections to customers but also provide educational information about the type of products you have. Using Reels for advertising and marketing your products/services is a smart tactic because the human attention span does not last very long, approximately 8 seconds. Short and sweet 60 second videos on Instagram keep followers and viewers engaged. Keeping the videos fast paced and intriguing helps the audience from getting bored and swiping past the content.
Five ways Brands are using Instagram Reels in Marketing Strategies
Brands that have already published content on TikTok should reuse their videos for Reels since they are similar platforms. Keep in mind that your videos can only be 60 seconds on Instagram so if your TikTok is too long it won’t cross over! Audio licensing is also different on each platform, therefore you should not download the TikTok video and repost the same file with audio only licensed for use on TIkTok. Be sure you are posting your own original content. Maybelline is one example of a brand that does a good job with this, they often post the same products on both of their platforms with similar videos, or they repost the same video.
In this case, the products did better when being posted on Instagram Reels, therefore it’s important to post on all platforms to introduce your content to new audiences.
Using educational content is a good place to begin if you are new to Instagram Reels. Give your audience tips and tricks on how to use the products or show them what services are offered. Showing the audience different ways to style a piece of clothing or how to make the perfect coffee are an example of what brands can do to create in their videos. Abercrombie is a great example of a brand that is sharing educational content. They have recently become popular again because of the brand being more inclusive with their clothing. This reel is a great example of showing different ways to style an item and the different color options it comes in.
Announcing sales and exclusive offers is another way to increase your followers and promote your products. One brand that is always posting sales and offers through their Reels is Princess Polly. If you go to the Reels section on their Instagram you will see a lot of videos like this one offering discounts. The majority of their Instagram Reels are promotions and sales for their customers. This has helped increase their followers because of how frequently they are posting and using social media as an advantage to promote their clothing.
Rare Beauty is a rising beauty company created by Selena Gomez. They donate 1% of their profits to support mental health and they create makeup for everyone to feel good in their own skin. Rare Beauty connects with so many different influencers on Instagram to promote and show their products on different skin types. This brand does an amazing job at showcasing how inclusive and diverse their products are by connecting with a diverse group of influencers.
Connecting your audience with influencers that they love can increase your sales and expand the customers you are connecting with.
Knowing what’s trendy is so important when trying to stay relevant and up to date on your content. Keeping up with the trending songs and marketing trends can help your brand stay consistent and in the loop. Disney Parks is always staying on top of trends. They created an Olaf hot cocoa bomb which gained popularity within the last two years. This video also went viral when it was first posted because of how much their audience (young and old) loved it.
The take away…
Reels are just another way for brands and businesses to promote their products on Instagram using the popularity of TikTok-style content. It also gives them a better understanding of their Instagram audience and who they should be marketing towards. Currently, the only metrics available for Instagram Reels is views, likes, and comments. Hopefully, in the future, there will be more in-depth analytics to see if you get shares or how many times an individual watches the Reel to get a better understanding of what your audience enjoys.
Getting creative and having fun with making content on Instagram is a great way to grow your platforms and increase sales of your products and services. Your own creativity is what users love and these short videos can help give creators more space to try new ideas and strategies.
So, what are you waiting for? Start creating your Instagram Reels!