Hold on… another new thing you need to know about on social media?
Introducing Instagram Reels; a new way to record 15 – 30 seconds of video set to music. Getting that Deja Vu feeling? You’re right; everyone is comparing Insta Reels to TikTok.
Reels could be considered a direct response to the growing popularity of TikTok — which has surged in popularity over the last 12 months.
TikTok generated “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 2020, according to Adweek so of course, Instagram needed to bring out something new too to compete with it. Let’s be honest, TikTok doesn’t have the best reputation, so I’m all for a good Insta Reel. (you might remember TikTok as Musical.ly, the kids lip-syncing platform).
What is an Instagram Reel?
It’s all about creating fun and engaging content in short video form. You can create 15-30 second videos and upload them to your Stories, the Explore Feed or the new Reels tab in your profile.
It’s great as a competitive element for TikTok but there’s a BIG issue when it comes to business accounts – you can’t get music! So they just look really strange. We’ve got a hack for that so keep reading…
With Instagram Reels only being 8 weeks old at time of writing, there’s still a lot of development happening within the platform. You might have seen on certain profiles that there is a Reels button on the main navigation bar, but this is still in Beta so not sure when it will be rolled out to all accounts. It’s huge though, because it means that Instagram really wants its users creating Reels. So jump on it early so you are ahead of the new game.
What’s the difference between Instagram Reels and TikTok?
|A new feature inside the overarching Instagram ecosystem||A platform|
|Users can create a 15-second video only||Video time limit up to 1 minute|
|Reels shared to Stories will disappear after 24 hours||All videos stay on TikTok|
|Duet and local file upload aren’t currently supported||Users can “duet” with each other and upload songs directly into the app’s system|
So you don’t have access to Instagram music.
If you notice your account doesn’t have the music feature, don’t panic! There are ways you can work around it. Either record your own music and audio or you can edit your video outside of Instagram Reels.
On top of selecting and adding music, there are a number of handy video editing tools to explore. The option to trim and delete video clips, a video countdown timer, the option to adjust your video’s speed, and a library of video effects to choose from.
You’ll also find a tonne of blogs out there that suggest other ways around this. I’ve tried a few out and can say that there is no clear solution.
I’ve turned a profile into a Creator account (instead of a biz account); that worked for one profile but not another.
I’ve changed the category of our business page to not be so business’y and that worked for one profile but not another.
It can take up to ten days to get it working but the BEST and most simple hack is when you’re watching Reels, if you find one that has great music:
- click on the name of the music, which then opens it to a new screen
- you can then click USE AUDIO!
It will automatically open up into the Reel creation and you can record your video and use that music. #yourewelcome
How to make Reels work for your business
Instagram Reels is a new way to build your community and grow your reach on Instagram.
It’s a fun and engaging way to share viral (and creative!) snippets with your audience.
Even in its early stages, Instagram Reels is proving to be a space where both brands and creators can make waves.
But I don’t want you to think that you’ve got to start booty-shaking and singing to create content, because no, just no.
- Reuse TikTok content
If you’ve already been creating video content on TikTok, reuse it and share it directly to Instagram Reels.
Think of ways to introduce fun and creative content through video, maybe it’s a behind the scenes video of you making a product, getting ready for your day, packing and sending your orders etc.
- Educational content
Creating educational content where you share some great tips and advice on something your audience is going to enjoy seeing, top 5 skincare recipes, the secret to making delicious pancakes in 10 minutes, or 5 tips for styling a skirt—there are so many things to share with your followers that can help them learn a new skill. Just remember, it still needs to be about creating authentic content!
- Showcase your products
Maybe it’s a pair of shoes that comes in 4 different colours, or your Summer range of dresses, there are so many possibilities to showcase your products within Instagram Reels.
Reels are located on the Explore page, well that means Instagram users who don’t follow you will see your content—this is gold! But because it isn’t clear how the Instagram Reels algorithm works just yet, you should use hashtags, text overlay, or descriptive captions to let Instagram know what you’re talking about.
- Behind the scenes content
Behind-the-scenes content helps your Instagram followers understand who you are and why you’re selling those products. It’s personable, it gains trust, and it builds relationships.
Instagram Reels are designed to be fast and fun and are packed full of special effects that make creating captivating and authentic content seriously easy.
This offers a great opportunity for businesses to show a more human, less picture-perfect side — which can be great for building genuine relationships and strengthening community.
So there’s my introduction to Instagram Reels, stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll jump in and show you how to actually create a Reel.
Whatever your brand or business, there’s a creative opportunity waiting for you, hit record and give it a go.