Amidst the rise of TikTok, some of you may have added the platform to your social media strategy. What you may have also noticed recently is a decline in your Instagram page’s engagements and impressions, leaving you wondering what you can do to reach your audience. In an effort to keep up with the success of TikTok, Instagram has greatly shifted its focus–and its algorithm–to support more vertical video content, which it calls Instagram Reels, to help make it a top competitor of TikTok. If you aren’t already capitalizing on Instagram Reels and embracing all things vertical, let’s explore how you can get started.

What are Instagram Reels?

Like TikTok videos, Instagram Reels are vertical videos that can now be up to 90 seconds long. To create a Reel, users can edit together a collection of photos or videos and accompany it with an audio track, filters, stickers, and more to engage with other users. Reels are a great way to tell your business’ story and interact with your audience on a greater, more personal level.

Why should you include Instagram Reels in your content strategy?

Recent studies have shown the impact and importance of incorporating Instagram Reels into your social media strategies. Social Insiders’ study on Instagram Reels insights showed that Instagram Reels have an average engagement rate of 1.95%, which is more than double the total engagement rate of .67% for all Instagram post types. 

Later Media spoke with creator, Olivia Noceda, who experimented with her viewership, by posting only Instagram Reels. After 6 months of only posting Reels, Noceda grew her following from 80,000 to 140,000, a 75% increase. She now primarily posts Reels and has over 207,000 followers.

My business isn’t on TikTok, does that mean I shouldn’t post Instagram Reels?

Many think that TikTok and Instagram Reels go hand-in-hand and while that can be true, enabling creators to gain content efficiency by cross-posting a single piece to each platform, the two aren’t married and your strategy for both platforms shouldn’t be the same. Often, people turn to TikTok in search of a younger audience, however, Instagram still has a massive audience made up of both younger and older demographics. Reaching your audience shouldn’t be a problem, it’s just time to rethink your Instagram content strategy. Once you begin to explore vertical video and see your success grow on Instagram, you might reconsider joining TikTok to reach a whole new audience.

As a business, what can I post on Instagram Reels?

We get it, video content is a big project that takes a lot of time, ongoing upkeep, and authentic effort–a few of the primary reasons many brands have yet to join TikTok. Not everyone has a ton of time to start a new trend or record their entire day. So how can you incorporate Instagram Reels? The sky is the limit with Instagram Reels. With everything from comedy to dances to travel, Instagram Reels present endless opportunities for your brand. For some, coming up with content ideas can be a challenge, especially for video content. Like all businesses, here at Designsensory, we’ve had to navigate through the ever-changing social media trends. To keep our clients up to date on all things social media, we have tackled this transition to vertical video head-on. Here are some ideas that we’ve worked through that might work for you and your business. 

  1. Educate your audience

Many businesses including our client, Scribble, have taken the informative route and focused on producing content that informs their audience about a specific topic. Scribble partners with innovators around the state of South Carolina to create video content that not only serves as a profile of the innovator’s career journey, but also helps to share entrepreneurial insights, key business learnings, and growth tactics. Here they highlighted Andrew Lee, sharing his insights on the meaning of innovation. Another client, Rather & Kittrell, is extending a larger video campaign and incorporating Instagram Reels into it as they share insights on financial planning, retirement and so much more. Ask yourself how you can use video content to help educate your audience on topics such as cryptocurrency or social media best practices.

  1. Showcase your products

Instagram Reels are a great asset to storytellers and businesses that want to put their products or services on display. What better way to showcase your brand’s products than with a video? Old Dominick Distillery has us incorporating increasingly more Instagram Reels content. Here is an example of Old Dominick’s Honeybell Vodka on display in the background of the making of a sweet, summer cocktail. In another example, a retail item is highlighted as it floats around in the pool. These fun, creative videos are paired with trending sounds to add a bit of depth to what previously may have been stills posted in-feed, and instead, add an additional touch of personality while allowing you to more easily showcase ways your product can be utilized. Check out top brands Nike & Starbucks for more inspiration on unique ways to showcase your products.

  1. How To…

In a world of “Google this” and “Google that,” how-to videos are a huge hit on social media. Do you have a product or service that can help solve a problem? Then how-to Reels are the perfect asset to bring to your feed. Share with your audience how to use your product or service and how your product is better than others in your market. The goal is to give people a reason to buy your product, so start showing them why! As an example, we even made you a how-to Reel, teaching you everything you need to know about creating an Instagram Reel. Need some other ideas? Check out video creators, Armen Adamjan and Addison Jarman, whose accounts focus primarily on how-tos, hacks and did-you-know videos. 

  1. Entertain

For many users, entertainment is their sole purpose for using the platform, and for creators, it’s their main reason for posting. Who doesn’t love scrolling through TikTok or Instagram reels and watching funny, silly, entertaining videos? Social media should be fun, it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Find an approach that gets you excited to make content and gives you joy while doing it, and ideally, engages your audience and gives them a reason to keep coming back. Instagram and TikTok are full of fun and engaging ideas to try out such as travel experiences, recipes, pranks, memes, trending dances and more. We know you’ve all heard about viral videos centered around entertainment such as corn kid or different dances using trending audio like this.  So start exploring the world of Instagram Reels and you’re sure to find a video style that’s right for your brand. 

Did someone say Facebook Reels?

Yes, as expected, Meta integrated the functionality it rolled on Instagram and extended it to Facebook. Facebook has also jumped in on the vertical video bandwagon and they’ve now added a Reels section. Facebook continues to offer a little bit of everything in terms of content—text, images, links, events, audio, long-form video or series—however, we do expect video content to continue to be the primary way of connecting with your audience. Try experimenting with Instagram or Facebook Reels and see how your business can grow! 

P.S. YouTube “Reels” are here

We saw it coming, YouTube has joined Meta and TikTok and started its own vertical video section called “shorts.” As a video platform, it’s not surprising that they jumped on the bandwagon. Start exploring the different types of vertical videos each platform’s users post and consume to find the best fit for you and your business. 

Here at Designsensory, we are ready to help guide you through the ever-changing world of social media. Reach out to us for assistance as you navigate through these challenges of building your brand, keeping up with the trends, and most importantly, engaging with your audience.