For many brands, Instagram has become a key part of their marketing strategy. But you might have noticed that your own Instagram feed has undergone a bit of a makeover and you’re starting to see more content from people you don’t follow – and it’s usually video content in the form of Instagram reels.
This is because Instagram decided it didn’t want to be known as a photography platform. In fact, the Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri said: “We are no longer a photo-sharing app.” So there.
According to Mosseri, the goal of Instagram is to entertain. Video is the future. But what kind of videos?
Welcome to the brand new world of Instagram reels.
Since launching in 2020, Instagram reels have continued to grow in popularity mostly due to their exceptional engagement rate. In fact, one study reckons Instagram reels are 22% more effective than regular video content.
And if this wasn’t enough to convince you of their importance, Instagram themselves have acknowledged that they prioritise showing Instagram reels in your feed. But not just any Instagram reels. Instagram has helped us all read The Matrix code by telling us which reels get prioritised. In short, any reel that’s fun, relevant and interesting will likely get shown first.
So, how can your brand better use Instagram reels in your marketing strategy and deliver great video content?
What are Instagram reels?
Let’s start at the beginning. Instagram reels have a few key ingredients: they’re less than 60 seconds and they’re filmed vertically. You can set them to music, you can apply filters on them, you can slow them down or speed them up, change the layout and more.
How are Instagram reels different to regular video content?
If you post an Instagram Story or post a regular video on Instagram, that video will be shared with the people who follow you. However, Instagram reels turbocharge this reach because if your profile is a public profile, your Instagram reels can be found by anyone.
This means that your video content could be found by someone who’s never engaged with your business before – the holy grail of a marketing strategy.
How do I make an Instagram reel?
The good news is that making Instagram reels can be easy. But just like there are martinis and there are martinis, not all video content is created equal. There’s a reason Instagram has made their reels so customisable and it’s because the Instagram algorithm wants to promote relevant, interesting and fun content that’s not blurry. Do you remember what we wrote in paragraph 5? (I’ll wait while you check) – Instagram themselves have told us what they’ll promote. So all you have to do is follow the recipe.
One more thing…
Instagram reckons that it won’t actively promote video content that’s “recycled from other apps”. So if you’re thinking about making video content in TikTok and then re-posting it as an Instagram reel, the answer is: no. So, what’s the best plan of attack to making interesting, relevant and fun video content that not only makes for a great Instagram reel, but also helps your marketing strategy?
The key to a great Instagram reel
We’re so glad you asked!
The first step is to understand what works. Re-familiarise yourself with Instagram’s own advice, but other things to keep in mind is that Instagram promotes reels with audio that’s either original, or music Instagram deems to be ‘trending’, and video content that meets Instagram’s preferred resolution and size. Remember, Instagram wants to keep people watching its content for as long as possible, so it’ll prioritise stuff that’s already working.
How does it fit in with your marketing strategy?
While you could just grab a camera, film someone running into a wall, set it to the latest music and upload it as an Instagram reel, this isn’t exactly a smart marketing strategy. In fact, it’s a terrible one. The best way to start thinking about your possible video content is to think about your brand itself. What action do you want potential customers to take? What impression of your brand do you want to grow? In other words: what business objective is an Instagram reel going to solve. Until you can answer that question, you probably shouldn’t be making any just yet.
It’s a marketing strategy, not a single video
Lots of companies can upload an Instagram reel and then walk away smugly thinking that their video content box is ticked off. Sorry to break it to you but, so what? What happens next? How can you tell if your reels are effective? How can you tell the effect it’s having on your brand? These are questions you should be trying to answer before uploading again. This is called: test and learn. And what’s the point of learning if you don’t do anything with your newfound intelligence?
What makes for a bad Instagram reel?
Just as there are a couple of DOs, there are also a few DON’Ts. These include:
- Don’t overthink the caption. The reality is that people see the video first and the caption a distant second. Make sure any key information or calls to action are overlayed on the video itself.
- Watch out for copyright. Unless you have created the music yourself or it’s part of the Instagram reel music library you could get pinged with a copyright infringement notice. And that would be lame.
- Don’t be too edgy! If Instagram deems your reel to go against their community guidelines they’ll remove it and you’ll have a reel hard time getting it back. Get it? Reel hard time? Never mind.
It’s video content time!
It’s time to bite the Instagram Reels bullet. Think about your business and your brand. How can Instagram reels start building awareness and appreciation of your brand? If you’re not sure how to get started, reach out to us and we can help you get on board the Instagram reel train.