Short-form video is one of the fastest-growing content types in social media marketing. Thanks in large part to the rise of TikTok, many social channels are launching their own short-form video tools, including Instagram Reels.
Instagram Reels Overview
What is an Instagram Reel?
An Instagram Reel is a short-form, vertical video available to all users. Not to be confused with IGTV (IG’s long-form video option) or Stories (ephemeral posts), published Reels are easy-to-discover videos that rest in the third section of your Instagram profile.
One of the greatest advantages of Instagram Reels is that you can greatly increase your engagement by putting your video content into smaller, bite-size pieces for your audience.
“Short-form now represents some of the best examples of content marketing – brief, specific, digestible, and compelling.” – Ohthatsgoodnews, 5 Short-Form Video Ideas for Social Media
How long can an Instagram Reel be?
Instagram sets a 30-second limit on your Reel videos. You have the option to create a 15-second video, if you prefer.
Key IG Reel Features
While you do have the option to upload a prerecorded/edited video, you can easily record and edit within the Instagram app. IG Reel features include:
- Video trim
- Add multiple videos to a single video
- AR filters
- Speed adjustor
- Picture alignment
Creating a Reel is not difficult. However, those experienced with IG Reels can create some incredible, professional-looking videos, with or without a design background.
What is a Reel Remix?
Image via Kapwing
Instagram allows you to “duet” with a Reel from another user. This Instagram duet feature is known as Remixing.
Reels Vs TikTok – Which is better?
A lot of brands and marketers want to know, Are Reels as good or better than TikTok videos? The answer is, of course, it depends on who/where your audience is online and what you hope to accomplish.
TikTok videos can go as long as 60 seconds, compared to IG Reels’ 15 or 30. You also have slightly different video editing features (technically, you can do more video and color editing tools within TikTok).
However, Instagram has more repurposing options and a wider user base. For example, you can create a collection of Reels, promote them in IG Stories, combine them into an IGTV, and build an IG Guide of your top-performing Reels.
If you’re already creating videos on TikTok, you can connect your IG account to your TikTok account and select the option to share your videos onto Instagram. Unfortunately, IG does not offer the same cross-platform functionality.
That said, Instagram does allow you to download your Reels onto your device which you can then upload to your TikTok account.
How to Use IG Reels to Grow Your Brand: Short-form Video Best Practices
If you’re used to producing longer videos like what is most common on Youtube, adding Reels to your content toolkit may feel like a challenge at first. However, Reels can help you keep your video concise and help you cover topics that wouldn’t make sense in a typical Youtube or IGTV post.
Image via Vidyard
Some of the most effective ways to use IG Reels are:
- Quick customer reviews or testimonials
- Quick tutorials
- Featured UGC
- Trailers for long-form content, webinars, podcasts, tutorials, virtual events, and more
Pretty much anything you can create in a 30-second-or-less video is perfect for a Reel. And the best way to create great Reel content is to practice creating and editing new Reels. As you do so, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.
Focus on vertical videos for better performance.
While you can upload horizontal videos, they will not perform as well. You will achieve more views, impressions, and engagements if you stick to the vertical format.
Add audio and visual features (such as stickers and AR filters) to increase fun and engagement.
There are quite a few features that you can use to spice up your video. That’s why so many creators and brand marketers are uploading quality Reels from their mobile devices.
Becoming proficient with all the different Reels features doesn’t just improve the look, it can also add ways for viewers to engage with your post. For example, the combination of video, audio, and text can grab the attention of those interested in your topic.
As you grow more proficient with these tools, make sure to focus on your message or key footage. There are so many things to add to your video that it can be tempting to clutter the screen with stickers and text.
Partner with influencers to connect with your audience and increase authenticity.
Influencers can achieve a level of authenticity that brands can’t. That’s why more and more brands are looking to influencers for quality content on social media. If you already work with a team of influencers, partnering with them to publish compelling IG Reels can generate more awareness and conversions for your brand.
Tag relevant IG accounts and include hashtags for higher discovery.
Image via Instagram
Including other people in your Reels can extend your reach and encourage those users and their followers to engage your post. When using tags and hashtags, be sure that you are relevant and not inadvertently spamming other profile accounts.
Promote your Reel in an IG Story, combined IGTV, or listicle Guide.
Repurposing your content and publishing it again is efficient. Many great IGTVs are a collection of a user’s favorite Reels, as are listicle Guides.
The reason that this technique is effective is because many of your followers prefer certain kinds of content over others. As such, your Reel will get more views if you put it in more places. Additionally, repurposing your Reels in this way can increase your social media posting efficiency.
Share your Reels across multiple platforms.
Instagram Reels are easy to share on other platforms, such as Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Most creators are diligently sharing their Reels on TikTok, and vice versa.
How to Create an Instagram Reel
Step 1: Start a new post and select Reels.
To start your first Reel, you’ll select the plus (+) sign at the top or bottom of your device. Select “Reel.”
Step 2: Start recording footage by pressing the play button at the bottom center of your screen.
When you’re ready to record, tap the play button once (you don’t have to hold it down like you do for a Story) and tap again once you are finished. Make sure that you’ve selected the right length (15 or 30 seconds) on the left-hand side of your screen before recording.
Step 3: Trim videos and add multiple shots as needed.
After each take, you can choose to delete or trim your video, as needed. Instagram will automatically put all your takes together after you’ve trimmed them to the right length.
Reels will prevent you from recording past the 15 or 30-second duration you’ve selected. The app will keep tabs on the total length of your video in red at the top of your screen.
Step 4: Add audio, stickers, effects, and text to enhance engagement.
At any time, you can add music, voiceovers, stickers, effects, or text to your video.
Step 5: Publish your Reel.
Once you’ve completed your shooting and editing, click “Share to” to publish to your profile.
Step 6: Track Reel performance.
You can see your views at the bottom left corner of each video in your Reels section. Views, likes, and comments are all public, so you don’t need IG Insights to track Reel performance.
In Conclusion: Leverage Instagram Reels to expand your social media and influencer marketing program.
Using Instagram Reels to promote your brand is a great way to attract audiences using concise, compelling video content. Additionally, incorporating influencers (who are Reel experts) into your Instagram strategy can expand your reach significantly and nurture deeper relationships with consumers.