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Social Media Marketing Guide To Instagram Reels

Trying to figure out the hype around Instagram Reels?

If so, your head’s in the right place.

We’ve talked time and time again about how important it is for brands to familiarize themselves with the latest features of any given social network.

Much like Stories took Instagram by storm, Reels is poised to have a similar impact when it comes to engaging customers and growing your presence via social video.

And since Reels is still in its infant stages, now’s the time for brands to test-drive the platform before it really blows up.

In this guide, we’ll highlight what Instagram Reels and creative ways for businesses to get on board.

What is Instagram Reels, anyway?

Reels represent Instagram’s answer to TikTok and is yet another milestone in the ongoing . 

If you’re unfamiliar with TikTok-style content, we’re talking about short-form, vertical videos that often integrate creative edits and music. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of Instagram Reels and its features:

Unlike Stories, people can comment and engage publicly with your Reels. Oh, and you can access an account’s public Reels by tapping the appropriate icon on an account’s home feed (next to Shopping, IGTV, etc).

Why Brands Need to Figure Out Instagram Reels ASAP

Reels might not seem like much of a big deal at a glance.

The reality, though? Reels are poised to be much bigger than just a passing fad. Here’s why:

Short-form Video Content is All the Rage Right Now

No surprises here. 

Recent show that the average Aussie spends nearly 30 minutes per day binge-watching short-form video. Such content is likewise popular with the bite-sized attention spans of and Gen Z.

Couple these facts with the sheer popularity of TikTok, which is on track to pass one billion active users in 2021.

Also, think about how was once considered a clone of Snapchat and now Stories have become a staple feature of Instagram itself. Reels could very well have a similar impact on not only Instagram’s longevity, but also Instagram’s ability to compete with TikTok long-term.

The takeaway here? Short-form, vertical video isn’t niche anymore. 

If nothing else, Instagram Reels is somewhere that brands can double-dip their existing TikTok content. Anything you can do to get a better bang for your buck by stretching your social content is a plus, right?

Instagram Reels Can Increase Your Account’s Reach

Conventional wisdom says that social algorithms tend to favor new post types in an attempt to encourage users to try with them out.

This appears to be the case on Instagram, where engagement with Reels is on the rise and organic reach on traditional posts is trending down like on Facebook.

means experimenting with content that potentially expands your reach. Reels should be treated no differently for brands looking to get more eyes on their accounts.

Monetization of Reels is a Matter of “When,” “Not” If

Given the trajectory of Stories and , it’s just a matter of time before Reels-style ads become reality. By getting a handle on Instagram Reels now, you have a better sense of which types of posts will translate into successful sponsored posts later.

8 Creative Ways for Brands to Use Instagram Reels

Now, let’s talk about content ideas for brands and influencers looking to get started with Reels.

Like Stories, Reels represent simple, off-the-cuff content that doesn’t require high production value. This spells great news for smaller brands and solo businesses looking to dive into on a tight budget.

Below are eight examples of how Aussie brands are already using Instagram Reels and how you can do the same.

1. Show Off Your Products in Action

If you’re selling a physical product (think: retail, restaurants), Reels is perfect for creating mini-commercials to grab your audience’s attention. The fact that you can back up your ads with music and flashy edits (such as jump cuts) is a nice added bonus. 

This post from The Iconic is a great example of how to sell via Reels without being sales-y.

2. Go Behind the Scenes of Your Business

Similar to Stories, Instagram Reels are a great place to highlight your company’s human side. This might include documenting the day-to-day life of your coworkers or what your company’s content creation process looks like “behind the curtain.”

3. Repurpose Your Existing Video Content

As noted earlier, it’s a no-brainer to republish your TikToks and other vertical videos via Reels.

Currently, we see many brands straight up repost their TikToks on Instagram. Although Reels will likely cut down on this trend, doing so is still fair game for the time being.

Also, consider how you can repurpose videos from YouTube or live streams into Reels as well. This might require some minimal editing, but the fact that Reels are so short means that you don’t have to dedicate too much time to any given post.

4. Lean into Memes and Humor

Reels are supposed to be fun, plain and simple. Playful and lighthearted content are pretty much built into the features of the platform, so don’t be afraid to post content that isn’t totally “suit and tie.”

5. Promote a Contest or Giveaway

Instagram contests and giveaways are a proven way to drive engagement and give your follower count a much-needed boost. Running a contest exclusive to Reels not only encourages people to check out your posts in the future, but also makes your current followers feel like they’re insiders in-the-know.

6. Put Together a Playful How-to or Tutorial

Again, the restricted length of Reels is a huge point in your favor when it comes to audience engagement.

Bite-sized how-tos and tutorials via Reels not only boast serious entertainment value, but also naturally keep viewers glued until the end because the content is so short.

But what can you teach your audience in 30 seconds or less? Well, look at the influencer crowd for inspiration. For example, how-tos workouts are popular in the fitness space…

…while recipe Reels are blowing up in the health and lifestyle industries.

7. Run a Promo Exclusive to Instagram Reels

Brands don’t need to be shy about promoting offers and deals to Instagram anymore. The same rules apply to Reels, too. From deals to discounts and beyond,  exclusive deals and flash sales give followers all the more reason to keep an eye on your content.

8. Piggyback on TikTok Trends and Challenges

The popular trends and dance challenges of TikTok are already starting to take over Reels. As such, you can safely assume the same types of music-based posts will work on Instagram as well. In due time, expect Reels to boast its own trends and challenges that eventually rival TikTok’s.

How is Your Brand Using Instagram Reels?

Listen: if you’re looking to level up your Instagram presence, producing Reels should be a top priority.

Brands should be the first to know the ins and outs of Instagram and its features. Given the overwhelming popularity of short-form video, companies can’t treat TikTok-style content like a fad anymore.

If you’re curious about how you can use Reels or integrate video content in your social strategy, make sure to today.

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