Should I be making Instagram Reels?
With Instagram announcing its shift away from photo-sharing towards short format video, users have started asking, should I be making Reels?
For the early adopters who were already utilising video content in their social media strategy, this transition will be straightforward. For those currently relying on photo content, the path ahead can appear a little murkier.
In this article we’ll explain why you should be making Reels, what makes a successful Reel, and how they can be incorporated into your social media marketing strategy.
What is an Instagram Reel?
Instagram Reels are short format videos, up to 90 seconds, introduced to the app in 2020 as a response to the rising popularity of Tik Tok. This new form of content has quickly overtaken photos, stories and standard video posts in terms of reach and engagement. With Instagram even encouraging users to edit their old Stories and videos into Reels.
Why should I be making Reels?
Because Instagram wants you to.
They’ve made it very clear that this is the direction the app is going in, trialling new layouts which favour the upright 4:5 or 9:10 format and providing far better reach and engagement rates on Reels over other content.
Despite backlash to these changes the app still has a very large and dedicated user base. By adapting your social media strategy slightly and leaning into the changes you could see renewed activity or growth on your accounts and potentially have great fun doing it.
Gone are the days of perfectly organised grids and highly curated content. It’s time to get a little more real.
Making a successful Reel
There are four things to keep in mind in order to create a successful Reel, your cornerstones if you will;
– Be Authentic
– Provide Value
– Stay on brand
– Be Consistent
According to the Nielson Study produced by Tik Tok, one of the most appealing aspects of short format content is the feeling of authenticity. When everyone and their dog is trying to make it big online, savvy internet users are becoming wary of the highly polished and poised influencer in favour of creators who appear to present themselves honestly.
This is potentially difficult for brands. Millennials and Zoomers who grew up with the internet are rapidly becoming desensitised to the onslaught of digital marketing. Therefore, simply bringing a product or service to their attention won’t cut it, you have to be a little more subversive.
‘Show, don’t tell’ is a classic feature of good writing that can easily be applied to modern marketing. Consumers want to buy an image, a lifestyle, or a feeling, not just a product. Video is an excellent medium for showing them what your product can offer. Even better if you can do it in a way that’s paired back, straightforward, and relatable.
Your Reels should provide value in the form of entertainment, knowledge, or insights. You don’t have to write up a complete skit and be laugh out loud funny. Instead, aim to share genuine moments or knowledge that comes naturally to your team.
For example, let’s say you’re an accounting firm looking to make a Reel.
– Use a trending sound to create an amusing video about the stresses of tax time.
– Share tips for sole traders on the benefits of working with a small business specialist.
– Animate an infographic on countering hidden account fees.
On paper, none of these topics sound particularly interesting (sorry accountants) but for the right user at the right time, they could be incredibly relatable, helpful, or educational. It’s in Instagram’s interests to help you find that user so why not put it out there?
STAY ON BRAND
If you have an established business, you ideally already know who you are, what you’re about and who you want to target. If you don’t, that’s okay but you need to stop and have a look at that first. We can assist you with brand development and business strategy if you need. This will be important for your long term success.
One of the most common frustrations for people posting Reels is getting great reach and engagement that isn’t translating into followers. The likely reason for this is that their content isn’t on theme for their brand.
Let’s go back to our accounting friends as an example.
They went paintballing on a team building day and made a very funny video to a trending song. The video went viral and although the analytics shows many people viewed their profile afterwards, very few hit ‘follow’. What went wrong?
Their popular video had nothing to do with accounting.
It was likely being fed to people who enjoy paintballing, outdoor sports, or lifestyle content and while there’s potential for some crossover between those topics and accounting. Most viewers are going to be disappointed when they click on the profile and don’t find more paintball videos.
Staying on brand is even better if you can niche down. For example, if you specialise in providing accounting services to tech companies it would be a waste of time to talk about GST in Agriculture.
Instagram and your followers love predictability, the more consistent you can be with your content the better your results will be. Setting a posting schedule that aligns with your current goals will help you plan your content in advance and avoid burnout.
Start by considering what you are currently looking to achieve with your social media.
If you’d like growth, aim to post Reels as often as you can. This might be 3 times a week or 3 times a day! Reels are primed for account discovery and therefore excellent for growth. The more you can post, the more likely you are to be discovered. Be practical and figure out what’s achievable while maintaining the other foundations.
If your current goal is simply maintaining your existing audience and building community, you could post Reels half as often. Focusing on quality over quantity.
So, should your business be making Reels?
After years of Instagram tips on maintaining a grid or colour story and how to get that perfect minimalist aesthetic, shifting to this looser format can feel uncomfortable. But, as a man in a wig once said;
Don’t stress about making perfect Reels, it’s okay for them to be a little rough around the edges. Just focus on maintaining your foundation and you’ll do great.
We hope you found this guide helpful. If you’d like to learn more about Instagram Reels or social media strategy in general let us know by commenting below.
And as always, if you need help with your digital marketing, get in touch. We’d be happy to help.