Do you struggle to create Instagram content that gets you great levels of reach and engagement?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Instagram is a hugely competitive platform. With over 1 billion monthly active users and 500 million people using the app each day. So the opportunity is huge; but it can be tricky to stand out among the competition.
Perhaps you’ve already got a good base of followers. Maybe you’ve been posting stories and static posts for a while. And hopefully you’ve gotten pretty good at it! But if you want to take your content to the next level and reach more potential clients, it’s probably time to get to grips with Instagram Reels.
What are Reels?
Reels are Instagram’s (and Facebook’s) answer to the rise of short, engaging, vertical video content as originally popularised by TikTok – see Should your business be on TikTok? Introduced in 2020, Instagram Reels are short-and-sharp videos that inform, educate and entertain. They are very much on the rise in terms of popularity, and probably will be for some time. At the moment, there are strong arguments and tons of data that shows that this type of content is by far and away the best way to reach and communicate with audiences on social.
What’s more, your content is more likely to be discovered if you start posting Instagram Reels but remember that consistent posting is key. That’s because Reels are far more likely than static photo posts to end up on Instagram’s ‘Explore’ page plus Meta are recommending Reels on Instagram and Facebook in people’s News Feeds. And after all, the more people that see your content, the more likely they are to engage with it.
The importance of Reels on Instagram was confirmed by the recent decision to make all videos, except Stories videos, Reels so essentially Reels and video are now the same thing. In time, the name Reels will probably be dropped by Meta altogether…it will just be ‘video’.
How do I create content for Reels?
The good news? It doesn’t have to be difficult. Instagram Reels don’t need high production value or a perfectly polished script. In fact, the opposite is usually better. People respond to authenticity and are usually willing to accept the odd imperfection – so don’t focus on getting your Reels perfect, just focus on getting them done.
You can film your Reels using a standard smartphone and upload clips from your gallery or photo library. Once you’ve done that, there are a slew of features you can use to jazz up your video and add extra bits of context or information. These features range from stickers, text, and drawings, to audio features like voiceovers and background music, or even augmented reality (AR) filters (if you’re feeling bold).
You’re able to add a caption – just like you do with a static post – so be sure to have a pithy write-up and a good mix of hashtags to include before you hit ‘Share.’ A recent change means your Reel is now included on your profile grid alongside your photo posts. You can also add your Reels to your Stories to make it more likely your existing followers don’t miss out on your latest content.
What type of content should I create?
Creativity and originality result in attention and views (and potentially going viral). Grabbing attention and keeping it is key, so much like TikTok, the first few seconds of your video are crucial – read How to get started on TikTok for more tips. No-one knows your audience better than you do, so think about what matters to them, how you can add value in a unique way, and how you can hook them in within 3-5 seconds.
Some useful content ideas for businesses are:
- Show what makes your brand different. Maybe your business is vegan, or carbon neutral; share what you stand for and what makes you unique
- Share 3 quick tips that would be useful for your ideal client
- Talk about 3 useful resources that are helpful for your customers to know about
- Share customer feedback and reviews to help potential customers imagine themselves enjoying the benefits of your product or service
Why start now?
As with all social trends, the best time to start is yesterday. The second best time is now.
Instagram functionality is continually changing and adapting to trends and of course the competition. The latest new features for Reels were released just a few weeks ago. So now is a great time to make the most of them. The three I think you’ll benefit from the most are:
- ‘Add Yours’ Stickers which already exist in Instagram Stories. This feature allows users to respond to an original reel with their own. You can harness interaction and engagement by prompting your own conversations or hopping onto relevant, trending topics.
- Facebook Reels Insights so you can monitor metrics like reach and average watch-time. Facebook users with access to Creator Studio tool will also be able to create, schedule, and publish Facebook Reels from their desktop.
- An auto-creation feature that helps turn your previous Stories and Memories into Reels; saving precious time on content creation
To sum up…
Is it really worth putting a little more work into your content in a bid to get more awareness and engagement? In my opinion, the stats speak for themselves. 200 million users view the Explore page every day and half of all Instagram users visit it each month. If you’re keen to get your business in front of as many potential customers as possible, using Reels is a no-brainer.
Need help or advice to get started? Get in touch with me, Jonathan Pollinger – Social Media Trainer, for a no-strings chat about how I can help you up your social media game.