It's safe to say the pandemic has changed life as we know it - and the world of business is no exception. Brands have been forced to get innovative to stay current, meet their customers' evolving needs, and, most importantly, stay afloat. So it's no wonder more, and more companies are dabbling in new marketing methods.
Introducing Instagram reels, Instagram’s response to the hugely popular TikTok. Reels allow you to record, edit and share 15-second videos that get added to the Instagram Explore feed. This makes them ideal for extending your reach and engaging new followers.
In essence, it's similar to Instagram stories. However, Instagram reels boast a few different features that set it apart. For example, reels have a broader range of video editing tools, speed controls, and AR effects. You can also combine several videos into one reel and create seamless transitions.
That enough preamble, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to use reels to up your Instagram game.
How to Create an Instagram Reel?
Creating an Instagram Reel is super easy; just follow the steps below:
- Launch the Instagram app on your smartphone
- Tap the camera icon “add/plus” icon on the top right-hand corner of your screen, or tap “your story.”
- Scroll along and select “Reel.”
...From there, follow the prompts to create your reel. Simple, right?
How to Use Reels to Attract New Followers
Now that you know how to create a reel let's take a more granular look at how to use them to attract more Instagram followers...
One of the brilliant things about Instagram reels is that you can create your own audio. This can be incredibly effective for branching out and reaching new audiences. Let's use this scenario as an example:
Say you record a piece of audio that becomes really popular. The chances are, other people will want to utilize it in their Instagram stories or reels and ask your permission for it. When they attribute your song in their post, you get in front of their audience. As such, you're more likely to boost traffic to your Instagram profile and accrue more followers.
If you don’t fancy creating your own audio, Reels has an “audio” feature. Here, you can select from their vast catalog of tracks and sound effects. Either scroll through for inspiration or type in a song or keyword to narrow down your search.
One really neat and simple trick used by Microsoft Xbox was using their existing audio. Their first Instagram reel used the same audio that Xbox fans hear when they turn on their Xbox console. The result? Instant brand identity!
2.Publish Winning Content
To attract new followers using Instagram reels, you need to know your target audience inside out and back to front. This is the only way you'll create content that speaks to their specific needs. Creating personable, energetic, and fun videos for your audience using the reel's sophisticated tools goes a long way to building meaningful relationships with your followers...and increases the chances of enticing more in.
Here are just some of the more advanced features you should familiarize yourself with:
- Music: Here, you can select music to play over your clip.
- Playback: Here, it's easy to add fast-forward and slow-motion effects to your reel
- Effects: Instagram has an impressive library of backgrounds, games, filters, etc. these are a simple way of making your reel more interactive. Using a green screen will help you to make these effects look even smoother.
- Timer: This functionality enables you to select your video's length, making hands-free recording much more manageable.
If you're looking for inspo, check out Top Shop. They're a great example of a brand using Instagram reels to the fullest. They clearly know what their audience wants, and they deliver on that! In fact, at the time of writing, they've racked up over 1.7 million views on just one of their reels!
Pro tip: if you want to hit your target audience with the right content, do demographic segmentation first. This way, you’ll be able to figure out exact content types that fit your audience’s needs and interests.
3.Engage with Your Audience
Engaging with your audience is incredibly important. By this we mean, commenting, liking, and encouraging your followers to reach out and contact you. You need to react to messages in a timely manner and showing your fans you care about their opinions, questions, and comments helps them see the people behind the business.
To get the ball rolling, publish a reel asking your audience questions for them to answer. This form of interaction is really popular with influencers at the moment - and no wonder! This two-way interaction is a simple and easy way of engaging with followers and getting a more in-depth insight into who your target audience is.
One example of this is Sephora. The brand already has a substantial TikTok following, with over 26m views of their #sephorachallenge. The cosmetics and beauty giant collaborated with YouTube star Ryan B Potter to create a fresh make-up challenge to attract and engage a new audience using Instagram reels.
Pro tip: if you decide to launch a campaign with a branded hashtag, make sure you track brand mentions to understand how much exposure your company is getting and adjust your campaign objectives to get more attention from your target audience if needed.
4.Intention and Planning
Spontaneity is a great thing, and a little of it can work wonders in your reel to make you seem more approachable, flexible, and friendly. Rigid planning will produce rigid content. However, it's crucial to set an intent for the post-, whether it’s just a casual reel or a promotional one. Once you've sent an objective for your reel, you're better positioned to produce content that will bring you closer to meeting that goal.
You'll also want to do some homework to see what hashtags are trending in your niche. Although hashtags aren't as useful for discovery as they once were, they're incredibly effective when it comes to reels. Namely, because not as many people have jumped on the Instagram reels bandwagon...yet. So, make the most of it, while there isn't as much competition!
Louis Vuitton is an excellent example of a business successfully using hashtags as a part of their marketer’s toolkit. In fact, each of the brand’s Instagram reels it has launched to promote their latest collection has gone viral. Interestingly, all their campaign reels are very similar, using the same caption and one simple hashtag, such as their #LV Cruise campaign.
5.Share Your Knowledge
Generally speaking, Instagram users love consuming educational content on reels, as it enables them to learn something new or inspiring in brief, 15-second spurts.
Not only that but publishing educational content in any guise is one of the best things you can do to position yourself as an expert in your niche. Over time, this is great for building credibility and trust with current and prospective followers.
Creating 'how-to,' top tips and tricks, and other tutorial-related reels are great for sharing your knowledge. Of course, just because your content is educational doesn't mean it has to be stuffy. As always, make sure your content is relatable and consistent with your brand and its personality.
The Parisian restaurant chain, Big Mamma Group, are pioneers of educational Instagram content. They post gorgeous reels of their food being created. Yum!
6.Show off Your Products
Showing off your products and services is clearly a must for business owners using Instagram reels. You can’t just expect people to know what you're selling and how good the product is without you showing them.
As Instagram is a visual platform, be sure to put lots of thought and creativity into the content you share. Match the images and videos you publish on your reel with a striking Instagram feed post.
Also, it never hurts to mix things up. Perhaps you could showcase your products and entice new followers by hosting a giveaway? If that's something you're considering, launching an Instagram reel is an excellent way of promoting your competition. And in order to get an accurate and in-depth performance overview after your reel went off, you can use custom Instagram tracking dashboards, and track results from each campaign.
Not to mention, not only are giveaways fantastic opportunities to showcase what your business offers, but it also opens up opportunities to collaborate with other brands. Why not message other influencers and brands in your niche to see whether they're open to running a competition that mutually benefits you both?
One brand using Instagram giveaways to the fullest is LoveStoriesTV who ran a competition to win Birchbox Maid Up and Ready Kits.
Pro Tip: Giveaways should always have stipulations. For instance, people must follow and share the hashtags and handles specified on the post for a chance to win. You can use a social media management tool to separate entries that follow all the guidelines from those that don’t fit the rules. It will help you make sure the results of the giveaway are fair to your followers.
Adding text, captions, and subtitles to your Instagram reels is a terrific way of communicating with your audience. It’s not like TikTok, which is heavily focused on the audio playing. In contrast, when watching an Instagram reel, you can often consume and interact with the entire reel without even knowing audio is being played.
As such, if you're playing audio (especially if it's essential to the substance of the reel), make sure to add text that prompts viewers to switch their sound on.
On top of that, adding text to share inspiring and uplifting quotes is a quick, easy and effective way of engaging viewers. Self-care and self-help are increasingly popular topics, so why not add captions to your reels that show you care about your audience’s health and wellbeing?
Take sports nutritionist Selma and fitness coach and influencer Siddhant Rai Sikkand as Instagram post idea inspiration. Both of these influencers use Instagram reels to promote their business while also providing tips on healthy eating, the best ways to exercise, and so on.
8.Remodel Your TikTok Content
Many brands already have TikTok content. If you’re one of those businesses, why not work with what you already have and tailor it to your Instagram audience? It’s quick and straightforward to do, just:
- Source the TikTok videos you want to remodel
- Click on the three dots.
- Scroll to live photo
- Save it to your phone.
- Find the live photo on your phone’s camera roll.
- Click on “share” until you find the “save this video” option.
That’s it! If you also want to remove the TikTik logo, you’ll need to have the InShot app on your phone.
- Open the Instagram app.
- Click on the “video” option.
- Choose “new.”
- Import your TikTok video saved on your phone
- Zoom out
Instagram reels boast the same video dimensions as TikTok. One brand that’s had some success with this is ASOS. They’re a significant presence on both platforms, having remodeled its most successful TikTok content for its Instagram reels. They’ve gained millions of views and managed to increase e-commerce sales since its reels launch!
9.Create Audience-Specific Content
If you have a precise picture of who your target audience is, you’ll know not only where that audience likes to hang out on social media but what it likes.
Your business may well have more than one target audience, especially if you’re selling different types of fashion. If that’s the case, why not segment your reels by target audience. That way, you’re creating Reels that resonate with your audience and can be shared widely to reach new audiences and extend your brand’s reach.
ASOS may have just bought Top Shop, but as we’ve already hinted at, its success on Instagram reels is not to be ignored. It’s tailored and targeted its lockdown content with videos of people sitting down in their comfortable lockdown outfits, trending the “feeling cozy, looking chic” line.
10.Make Your Reel “Real”
Create reels that introduce you and your brand to your audience. Tell them your story, how you started out and why. You can also get really creative and take your audience behind the scenes of your business to get a real sense of who you really are.
Show your followers what happens when they order something from your company, e.g., picking and packing your order, or if you make the items yourself, a reel of you creating your earrings/candle/soap and so on.
Try to create “before and after” reels. These can be easily adapted depending on what kind of business you are—for example, reels of rooms you’ve designed, with before and after shots. Or makeover videos using beauty products and fashion. The list is endless.
One example of this is Sephora again, with their behind the scenes video of their press day. Viewers get to share the excitement of new products, while Sephora extends its reach and influence.
Are You Ready to Start Using Instagram Reels to The Fullest?
Instagram reels may still be a relatively new tool for social media marketers to grapple with. But hopefully, you now know that using all or some of the ten points above will help you boost audience engagement and brand awareness.
All in all, publishing engaging, interactive, and educational Instagram reels are fantastic for growing your following. The combination of short, snappy content alongside the sophisticated features on offer is a winning combination. It’s also essential to ensure that all your reels are still on message, on-brand, and don’t diversify away from your existing marketing strategy.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your business's first Instagram reel today, and don't forget to let us know how you get on in the comments box below!