Social media giant Instagram has recently launched their ‘Reels’ section – an in-app competitive feature to TikTok which allows you to upload short-form video content.
When used strategically, Reels can be another great way businesses can boost brand reach and exposure.
So how should you go about using it and what exactly should you post? We’ve got you covered below with our Reely easy guide… 😏
What exactly are they?
In short, Reels:
- Are in a 9:16 portrait format
- 3-15 seconds in length
- Filmed either in-app or uploaded from camera roll
- Can be filmed in one-shot, or multiple videos
- Can be done on mobile only at this stage – not desktop
How do I create a Reels video?
Creating a Reel is like creating an Instagram story.
- Swipe right and select the Reel tab down the bottom (if you do not see it you may need to update your app).
- You can choose to either upload a video from your camera roll or take a new video.
- Use the ‘align’ feature if you are uploading multiple videos and want to line them up (using a tripod is recommended for best results).
- To delete one clip only, use the ‘back’ arrow.
- Use the down/download arrow at the top of the screen to save to your camera roll – we recommend you do this at several stages of the clip in case of any mishaps!
- If you want the video to go to your Instagram story as well, you will need to do this BEFORE you upload it to Reels.
- You can always save your video as a draft and come back to it at a later point if you wish. The drafts will be saved under the ‘Reels’ tab on your profile.
- If you wish to publish, simply press the ‘share now’ option. There is no way to edit a video (including your caption, so check for typos!) once you have posted it.
Things to note:
- Instagram will automatically import the same settings as your story settings e.g. people you have hidden from seeing your story, people you have blocked, etc.
- Effects must be added before you shoot the video – there is an option to add basic filters afterwards, but all effects must be done at the start.
- Copyright settings prevent business accounts from using music. On personal accounts, there is a fourth tab in the left sidebar but unfortunately, this is not accessible for businesses.
- Caption limits are the same as normal posts. You cannot exceed 2,200 characters or 30 hashtags. If you do your caption will not upload. There will also be no error message if it exceeds the limit, so make sure your characters are counted.
- Most readers won’t ‘expand’ long captions, so make sure any important calls to action are in the video.
- Currently, the only insights businesses can access are total likes, comments, and views. These can be accessed by clicking on the video.
- You can pause a video, but you can’t fast forward or rewind when watching – you have to wait for the video to loop around again.
What kind of things should I post?
To get the most out of Reels, make sure you have a strategic approach that considers your audience’s needs.
Your business needs to create on-trend videos that uphold brand strategy and overarching brand goals and should not be used as a ‘dumping ground’ for content you have in other places.
Think of things like:
- Tutorials – makeup, hair, dance routines, exercises
- DIYs – build your own, how to’s, restorations, crafts
- Tips & advice – travel tips, wellness and health advice, food hacks
- Behind the scenes – photoshoots, events, everyday business
- Meet the staff – showcase the personalities of your staff
- Product demos – how to style a product in different ways, how to use a new product, how to get the most out of your product
- Outfit changes – video sequence with quick outfit changes showcasing different products
- Product assembly – stop motion videos of how to assemble, assembly do’s and don’ts, safety tips
Why should I use Reels over Instagram stories or IGTV?
We’re glad you asked! While these all may seem like basically the same thing, each feature varies in different ways.
IGTV has found its niche within businesses through the popular use of creating ‘episodes’ or ‘series’ that showcase certain aspects of their company.
Instagram stories highlight images or videos that disappear after 24 hours – unless saved to your profile ‘highlights’.
Reels is almost a combination of the two in different ways, however, has the potential for greater reach as your Reel sits under the explore tab – like TikTok’s ‘For Your Page’ feed. This can show content to users who aren’t following your page already, which can lead to an increase in followers.
To find out which feature you should be using, read our blog on Instagram Reels, Stories and IGTV.
Who does it well?
If you’re not sure where to start, or even what type of content you should post, here are some brands you can take a look at:
We reached out to Rebecca to get an insight into her success, and what strategy she has adopted for her content creation. “My strategy for my Reels is to have them serve my community. I want them to help my followers and teach them something in a fun, memorable way that they want to share with their friends,” says Rebecca. And her advice on how to go about starting your own Reels? “Just start! It will take a bit of practice but it’s a lot of fun.” We couldn’t agree more!
For more of her awesome Reels, you can follow her on Instagram, @nourish_naturally.
Bondi Boost – Australian made ethical hair products. Their Reels have showcased some of their own product, and simple hair how-to’s that are fun and easy to watch.
Bared Footwear – Another Aussie brand that’s knocking it out of the park! These guys have really embraced the new feature, and their videos not only are full of character but they are on-trend too.
Life, Loves and Liz – A small Mornington Peninsula-based influencer whose Reels are bright and fun. She is a self-proclaimed cheerleader for local businesses, and we absolutely love what she does!
We asked Liz about her experience with Reels.
She shared it was ‘short and sweet’ so far – just like Reels! We also asked her what advice she would give to small businesses who wish to incorporate Reels into their feed, “Create Reels with your own style. Don’t copy what others are doing…and PLEASE don’t share your Tik Toks across to Reels! If your audience wants to see Tik Tok style videos, they’ll be on Tik Tok and have seen your content already. Create what works for your INSTAGRAM audience.” Safe to say she has really hit the nail on the head here!
By looking at these Aussie businesses that have really taken Reels into their stride, it’s easy to see how this feature can be used well, and what type of things it can be used for.
If you’re still stuck for ideas, you can always reach out to our friendly team here 😊
Editorial credit: sdx15 / Shutterstock.com