If You Want Real Engagement Don't Miss Out On These True IG Performers
Instagram is a staple for social media marketers.
The platform has over 1.3 billion active monthly users, 500 million active daily users.
Instagram has recently launched a new feature, Reels.
If Tik Tok is anything to go by Reels might be the next big thing in marketing and advertising.
So are Instagram Reels worth your time?
Here is our guide to the pro and cons of Instagram Reels, for eCommerce Marketers.
What Are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels were created to combat Tik Tok’s insane growth.
Users can create up to a 60-second video.
They can set to music that are shared to their Reels, stories, and explore feeds.
These videos have the Reels icon in the lower-left corner of the video when you view it.
If someone you follow uploads a reel, you’ll see that in your home feed.
If you have a public account you can share Reels to dedicated spaces in exploring, where anyone in the world can view it.
When you share Reels with specific hashtags, effects, or songs your reel could appear on dedicated pages.
Meaning anyone searching for content like yours will find it.
At first Reels may seem very similar to Instagram stories, but there are some important differences.
Stories let you share your entire day, not just those you want to keep on your profile.
Reels is more about creating engaging content and offers far more creative tools.
And when you share a reel anyone can see it on the explore page, whilst stories only go to your followers.
Benefits of Instagram Reels
When Meta (who owns Instagram) rolls out new features they give priority to the content using the new feature.
Influencers who have been using Reels, quite heavily, are reporting higher engagement and reach than on other content.
Even when using the same content in different functions, such as Instagram Stories.
Reels are easy to create.
Video content still ads some barrier to entry, requiring a lot of work, time, money, and production (albeit, the costs continues to diminish through better technology).
But the Reels feature is designed to take all the work out of it.
Reels are short videos, no more than 60 seconds, and the videos can be created entirely within the app.
All the editing and creation tools exist inside Reels and the best part is these tools generate trends.
Unlike stories, your Instagram Reels content is permanent.
This means you can get much more creative with Reels.
You can develop your brand identity, tone, and themes quickly.
Because Instagram Reels are so quick to create it is easy to batch make content that follows on from one another.
And you can repurpose your Reels as stories to continuously feed content.
Instagram Reels App
With its user-friendly interface and integration within the Instagram ecosystem, Instagram Reels have become a go-to tool for content creators, influencers, and brands to express themselves and connect with a broader community.
Although there are 3rd party apps that help you create Reels…
There is no need for a separate app, as the Instagram Reels feature is within the IG platform itself.
Here’s an overview of how to use Instagram Reels
- Open the Instagram App: Launch the Instagram app on your mobile device and log in to your account.
- Access the Reels Camera: Tap the “+” button at the bottom center of the screen to access the camera. You can also swipe right on the main feed or tap the camera icon in the top-left corner of the home screen.
- Choose Reels Mode: Along the bottom of the camera screen, you’ll see different options such as “Live,” “Story,” “Reels,” and others. Tap on the “Reels” option to enter the Reels mode.
- Record or Import a Video: You can record a new video by pressing and holding the capture button. Reels can be up to 30 seconds long. Alternatively, you can import a pre-recorded video from your phone’s gallery by tapping the gallery icon in the bottom left corner.
- Edit and Enhance Your Reel: After recording or selecting a video, you can use various editing tools to enhance your Reel. Instagram provides options to add audio, apply effects, adjust the video speed, set a timer, and align multiple clips. You can also use creative tools like text overlays, stickers, and drawings to add visual elements to your Reel.
- Add Captions and Hashtags: Write a compelling caption that describes your Reel and includes relevant hashtags. Captions and hashtags can help improve discoverability and reach.
- Share Your Reel: Once you’re satisfied with your Reel, you can tap the arrow icon in the bottom right corner to proceed to the sharing screen. Here, you can choose to share your Reel to your Instagram feed, to your Reels tab, and/or to other connected social media accounts.
- Monitor Engagement and Metrics: After sharing your Reel, you can track its performance by viewing the analytics provided by Instagram. These metrics include views, likes, comments, saves, and shares, allowing you to evaluate the success of your Reels content and make informed decisions for future posts.
To make the most of Instagram Reels, focus on creating content that resonates with your target audience.
Experiment with different creative ideas, leverage popular trends and challenges, and pay attention to the preferences and interests of your audience to optimize your Instagram Reels strategy.
Reels Are Perfect For Brands, Creators, and Regular “Joe’s/Jane’s”
Tik Tok has a reputation for being all about dancing videos.
And this has trickled over to Reels.
And this is not true.
Instagram Reels offer businesses are a really interesting way of engaging with its customers.
Tutorials, step-by-step videos, tips, and insights for your industry are doing well on both Tik Tok and Reels.
If you are a florist, short videos explaining when a man should buy his wife which flowers would be a big hit.
Brands can also get very creative with Instagram Reels trends.
When a trend becomes viral everyone starts following suit.
This is a creative opportunity for your business to find a way to do that trend unique for your business.
Dong this well will leverage the organic reach of the platform.
Reels Or Stories Or IGTV
Ideally, you have the time and resources to be smashing out content across all of Instagram’s platforms.
But this isn’t always the case.
If you need to choose where to focus your attention you will need to consider which video content platform you want to share on Reels or Stories or Instagram TV.
Reels are easier to share than stories.
Unless you are tagged in a story you cannot share that story on your own story.
And you can’t share stories to your profile.
Reels can be reposted on your own feed and story, and other users can share your Reel to their story or home feed.
This allows you to reach a much wider audience much faster.
Reels offer far more visibility because you can apply up to 30 hashtags (although, we’ve recently found limiting to 3-strong hashtags produce higher engagement).
Stories are limited to 10 hashtags.
When you create a Reel and nail the hashtags you can put your content out in front of so many more viewers, as they will find it in a range of hashtag feeds.
And because Reels are permanent the chances of people seeing the content increase significantly.
Because Reels have only just been launched Facebook is not yet monetizing the Reels feed.
This means no ads.
And while you cannot advertise in the Reels feed, you can use reels to create retargeting audiences.
Reels can be used to create video views custom audiences for retargeting.
This is big-time if you use Facebook and Instagram ads as part of your marketing approach.
If your audiences are engaging well with your Reels content you can redirect them to move closer to the next step to buying from you.
Cons of Instagram Reels
Whilst early adopters were prioritized, users have really found interest in more ‘Story’ –esk styles of content.
At present, Reels are amazing, but just one piece in the IG ecosystem.
Instagram has recently give Reels its own feed.
Here you users can scroll through an explore feed for Reels only.
To see Reels of pages they already follow they will have to scroll through their own home feed.
Some important downsides to Reels are…
Content Saturation and Short Lifespan
With the popularity of IG Reels, there is a significant amount of content being created and shared by users and brands alike.
This high volume of content can lead to increased competition and saturation within the Reels feed.
As a result, it can be challenging for individual Reels to stand out and capture the attention of users.
Furthermore, the lifespan of a Reel’s visibility is relatively short.
As new Reels are constantly being uploaded, older content may quickly get pushed down and become less discoverable, reducing the long-term exposure and reach of your marketing efforts.
Limited Discoverability and Organic Reach
While Reels have the potential to reach a large audience, their discoverability can be limited.
The algorithm primarily relies on users’ existing interests and engagement patterns to surface Reels in their feeds.
This means that if your content does not align closely with a user’s demonstrated interests, it may be less likely to appear in their feed organically.
This can make it challenging to reach new audiences beyond your existing followers.
To enhance discoverability, businesses often need to rely on influencer collaborations, paid promotions, or other marketing strategies to expand the reach of their Reels content.
Lack of Linking Capability
One notable limitation is the absence of direct linking capabilities (outside of your IG Shop products).
Unlike Instagram’s main feed, where businesses can include clickable links in their captions or use the “Swipe Up” feature in Stories, Reels do not provide a direct way to include clickable links.
This can hinder the ability to drive traffic directly to specific product pages or external websites.
While you can use captions to encourage users to visit a link in your bio, it requires users to take an extra step and navigate away from the Reel, potentially reducing the overall conversion rate and seamless user experience.
Potential for Copyright and Content Ownership Issues
They allow users to incorporate audio tracks, effects, and visuals from various sources.
However, this can present potential copyright and content ownership concerns (that said, this has always been a risk on the internet in general).
If you use copyrighted material without proper permissions, your Reels may be subject to takedowns or copyright infringement claims.
It’s important to ensure that the content you use in your Reels complies with copyright laws and platform guidelines to avoid potential legal issues and content removals.
How to Monetize Instagram Reels?
Meta added this feature, within the Instagram platform, to allows users to create and share short, engaging videos – quickly.
Reels are typically 15 to 30 seconds long, but can be up to 60 seconds.
And can be accompanied by audio, effects, stickers, and text overlays.
Thy are an insanely valuable opportunity for brands to showcase AND TAG your brands Instagram Shop products in a creative and visually appealing format (especially if you’ve created an Instagram Shop, checkout how easy it is to tag your products there).
Here’s how Instagram Reels can be leveraged for eCommerce Brands:
- Product Demonstrations: Brands can use Reels to demonstrate the features and benefits of their products.
By showcasing the product in action or highlighting its unique selling points, businesses can pique the interest of potential customers and drive them towards making a purchase.
- Behind-the-Scenes Content: Reels provide a great platform for offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your business.
You can showcase your manufacturing process, introduce your team members, or share snippets from your workspace.
This helps humanize your brand and build a connection with your audience, ultimately enhancing trust and loyalty.
- Influencer Collaborations: Partnering with influencers or micro-influencers who have a relevant audience can be a powerful strategy.
You can collaborate with influencers to create engaging Reels that feature your products.
This approach can help you tap into the influencer’s follower base, increase brand awareness, and potentially drive sales.
- Trend and Challenge Participation: Reels often revolve around popular trends and challenges.
By participating in these trends and challenges, you can increase your brand’s visibility and engagement.
Create Reels that incorporate your products in a creative way, aligning with the trending theme or challenge.
- User-Generated Content: Encourage your customers to create Reels featuring your products and share them with a branded hashtag.
User-generated content can be a powerful tool for social proof, as it showcases real people using and enjoying your products.
You can also consider running contests or giveaways to incentivize user-generated content creation.
- Educational Content: Use Reels to educate your audience about your products, industry, or relevant topics.
Create short, informative videos that provide value to your followers.
This positions your brand as an authority in your niche and helps build trust with your audience.
- Call-to-Action and Shopping Tags: Instagram provides a variety of interactive features within Reels, including the ability to add shopping tags.
You can tag your products within the Reels, allowing viewers to click on the tags and directly access the product page on your eCommerce website.
Use compelling call-to-action captions and encourage viewers to click the tags to make a purchase.
Remember, to effectively leverage Reels for your eComm brand strategy, it’s crucial to focus on creating engaging, visually appealing, and relevant content that resonates with your target audience.
Monitor your analytics and engagement metrics to understand what type of content performs best and optimize your strategy accordingly.
Instagram Reels Algorithm
The Instagram Reels algorithm is a complex system that determines the content users see on their Reels feed based on their interests, behavior, and engagement patterns.
Focus on maximizing engagement within the first few hours of posting.
The algorithm often assesses early engagement as a signal of a Reel’s potential value.
Encourage your existing followers to engage with your Reels by announcing new content in your Instagram Stories or through dedicated posts.
Responding to comments and initiating conversations helps really drive that engagement up.
Additionally, consider cross-promoting your Reels on other social media platforms, your website, or through email newsletters to drive more views and engagement.
By actively encouraging engagement and visibility, you increase the likelihood of your Reels being shown to a wider audience…
Leading to increased brand visibility and helping to shape your brand identity.
While the specific details of the algorithm are not publicly disclosed by Instagram, here are some key factors believed to influence how the Reels algorithm works:
- User Interests: The algorithm analyzes users’ past behavior, such as the accounts they follow, the posts they like, comment on, and share, to understand their interests. It then suggests Reels that align with those interests.
- Engagement: The algorithm takes into account the engagement metrics of a Reel, such as likes, comments, saves, and shares. Reels with higher engagement are more likely to be shown to a broader audience.
- Video Completion Rate: The algorithm considers how many users watch a Reel from start to finish. If a Reel has a high completion rate, it signals that the content is engaging and may be shown to more people.
- Relevancy: The algorithm looks at the content of the Reel, including captions, hashtags, and audio, to understand its relevance. It may prioritize Reels that are popular within a user’s community or are related to their interests.
- User Relationships: The algorithm takes into account the relationships between users, such as interactions with accounts they frequently engage with or accounts they follow. Reels from accounts with strong relationships to a user may be prioritized in their feed.
HOW TO LEVERAGE THE IG REELS ALGORITHM
To leverage the Instagram Reels algorithm effectively, consider the following strategies:
- Create Engaging Content: Focus on creating high-quality, visually appealing Reels that resonate with your target audience. Use captivating visuals, compelling captions, and relevant hashtags to increase engagement.
- Encourage Engagement: Prompt your audience to like, comment, save, and share your Reels. Encourage conversations by asking questions, seeking opinions, or inviting users to tag their friends.
- Be Consistent: Regularly post Reels to maintain visibility and engagement. Consistency shows the algorithm that you are an active user, increasing the chances of your content being surfaced.
- Utilize Trending Audio and Hashtags: Incorporate popular audio tracks and trending hashtags into your Reels. This can increase the chances of your content being discovered by users who are actively engaging with similar trends.
- Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments on your Reels and engage with other users’ content. Engaging with your audience signals to the algorithm that you have an active and valuable presence on the platform.
- Analyze Insights: Pay attention to the analytics provided by Instagram for your Reels. Monitor metrics such as reach, impressions, and engagement to understand what types of content perform well and optimize your strategy accordingly.
The IG algorithm is dynamic and changes every year (generally around late Feb, or Q1 – FYI).
It’s essential to stay updated with platform changes and trends.
Experiment with different content formats and strategies to find what works best for your audience and consistently provide value through your Reels.
Are Instagram Reels Worth Your Time?
As a business owner or marketing professional, Instagram Reels have a lot to offer.
Especially if you are an avid poster.
Reels offer creators a lot more flexibility and reach, than Stories and IGTV (not to say, use one over the other).
And the best part is they’re easy to make and share.
We recommend exploring how you can add Instagram Reels to your marketing strategy.
And if you need help we can assist you driving engagement at a much higher level than you’re probably used to.