The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Reels

Chances are you’ve seen Reels on Instagram already, even if you didn’t realise it at the time. This new feature, which is currently being rolled out internationally, allows users to create short 15-second video clips often set to catchy music.

Now, if this concept sounds a little familiar, you’d be right! Almost everyone is directly comparing it to TikTok. But what exactly is Instagram Reels, and how can you use them as part of your wider digital marketing strategy? We’ve rounded up everything you need to know.

What Are Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels provide a new and fun way to easily record and edit 15-second videos and share them to Stories, Explore Feed, and on your profile. Videos can either be filmed live or pre-recorded and uploaded from your camera roll, and then edited using a variety of features including audio, text, AR effects, and stickers.

First launched in Brazil in late 2019, Instagram Reels are now available in over 50 other countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan, on both iOS and Android.

How Are Reels Different to Stories

  • While these two features may sound similar, they have some key differences:Reels offers more advanced editing tools, including AR effects, speed controls, and the option to execute cleaner transitions between frames.
  • Reels can be shared to both the Explore page and on Stories. When you upload a Reel, you can also choose to post it to your Feed, where it will appear in a dedicated section of your profile (similar to IGTV posts).
  • If you include original audio (ie sounds you have recorded in the video), your audio will be attributed to you, and other users can use it to create new reels.

Why Should Brands Use Reels:

1. They are here to stay

While Instagram don’t yet provide the same level of analytics for Reels as they do for Stories and feed posts, the app has launched a new Reels button on the main Instagram navigation bar, suggesting that they won’t be disappearing anytime soon!

2. Reach and exposure beyond your followers

The Reels algorithm hasn’t been locked down yet but it feels very similar to the TikTok For You page and is most likely influenced by who you already follow, what content you interact with, and where you’re located. This means that you don’t have to be following an account to see their Reel – providing you with a unique opportunity to access new audiences.

3. Genuine engagement and entry-level to video editing

The style of videos posted on Reels, and similarly on TikTok, are often shot on mobile phones, providing you with a unique chance to dip your toe in the video editing world. Now more than ever, the focus is on genuine engagement instead of professionally filmed and edited content which means that you don’t need to have expensive gear and blockbuster budgets to get involved.

Some Ideas To Help Get You Started

1. Go Behind the Scenes

Give your audience an insight into the inner workings of your brand with behind-the-scenes content that showcases the personality behind the business and creates a more personal experience. Showing personality helps build trust amongst your audience, increasing the likelihood of converting followers into consumers.

2. Take Followers on a Virtual Adventure

Travel inspo and wanderlust locations are already hugely popular on Instagram, and brands have a unique opportunity to capitalize on this using Instagram Reels. Take viewers on a tour of your surrounding area, sharing secret spots and the best locations for visitors to get their Insta-worthy shot.

3. Educate

While short film videos were originally all about entertainment, we’ve seen a hug shift towards more educational content – tapping into the growing trend for micro-learning. Carefully think about your product /offering and whether there is an opportunity to create a ‘how-to’ reel. Speak to your team and find out about any special talents or hobbies that could potentially translate into authentic and engaging content – whether its bee keeping or micro-brewing, your followers will begin to have a much clearer understanding of who you are and the people behind the brand.