Short-form video content is the buzzword of the moment, thanks to Tik Tok’s explosion onto the social media landscape. However, Tik Tok isn’t the only short-form video platform to be getting excited about. Here, we take a closer look at Instagram Reels, and how you can use Reels to grow your following…
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram launched Reels in 2020 to provide a space for its users to post the kind of short, quickly-consumed content that Tik Tok previously had the monopoly on. This allows brands and companies who use Instagram to create this type of content on a platform they already know and use, rather than having to be on multiple platforms.
Instagram is currently pushing Reels to new audiences, meaning that it could be far easier for brands to draw in new followers by using Reels, than via posts and Stories.
So, how can you use Reels to effectively grow your account?
1. Know your niche
Understand your offering, and have the confidence to focus your entire content strategy on this. People get nervous about sounding repetitive in their posts, but you need to channel your focus into your offering and stick with it: this helps reinforce your brand and your offering, and ensures people understand you do.
It can be tempting to create content on popular or trending topics even if they’re not a direct match for your product or services, but this can end up making your content look disjointed and will dilute your key message. Only focus on popular topics if they’re genuinely relevant to you: don’t force it. Social media marketing isn’t just about attracting an audience — it’s about attracting the right audience.
2. Post frequently and consistently
Posting frequently and on a predetermined schedule can lead to follower growth, because social algorithms reward consistency. Post often about similar themes that matter most to your intended audience.
3. Use your captions to add context
What we can learn from Tik Tok is that short 15 – 30 second video clips can work very well. This tells us that we shouldn’t be afraid to keep Reels short: you don’t have to put your entire message into a Reel. Instead, create a short Reel that is something relatable and inspirational, and then use your caption as a space to add some context and link it back to your brand and key message.
4. Focus on your data
As a marketer, data can help you identify what’s working well, what needs improvement, and what you should avoid doing, and this should all apply to your strategy for Instagram Reels.
Look at your data weekly and monthly with a view to figuring out which Reels are performing well. This should then act as a guide to which topics to focus on going forward. You can also get even more content out of successful Reels: for example, you could create a carousel post based on a popular Reel topic, and use the caption of that post to add more context.
As previously mentioned, being repetitive is no bad thing. Remember, a lot of your audience won’t see your content when it first goes out, so creating a very similar post and repeating the message can help get it in front of people who didn’t see it the first time.
5. Be real and relatable
Platforms such as Snapchat and Tik Tok have democratised video content, making it cheap and easy to create videos. Social media users crave authentic, relatable, behind-the-scenes content from influencers and brands alike. It’s not about perfection or aesthetics anymore — the stories that work the best are those vulnerable, personal, behind-the-scenes content. Brands should bear this in mind and consider creating Reels content which moves away from a purely professional aesthetic towards something more approachable and fun. The more your audience can relate to your brand, the more they can trust your brand, and are therefore more likely to become a customer.