What is Instagram Reels? How does it work? And, most importantly, how can you, as a business, use it to boost your marketing? Read on to find out.
What is Instagram Reels?
This month Instagram launched its Reels feature which is, in essence, Instagram’s answer to fulfilling all of our TikTok needs right there in Instagram’s own platform. Before you roll your eyes and dismiss it as another platform for the gyrating Gen Z crowd though - think again! There are actually a lot of cool ways you can use it to drive sales this season.
How Does It Work?
Record, or upload, and edit multi-clip, 15 second videos and then overlay them with text, audio, special effects and stickers to engage your audience in new ways.
‘Isn’t that just what Instagram Stories already does?’ you ask. Well, yes… and no. Whilst there are similarities between the two, in its bid to, ahem, replicate TikTok, Reels offers additional editing tools like speed controls and a range of additional audio clips, as well as music, such as comedic voice overs. Reels can also be shared to your main Instagram feed and/or are saved in their own dedicated feed on your Instagram page so, unlike Instagram Stories, they don’t disappear after 24 hours (unless you actively delete them).
Whereas Instagram Stories is, as the name suggests, a place to exercise storytelling for your brand, Reels is all about quick bursts of entertainment centred around a cool use of visual/audio effects making it a fun spot to get creative. Thus, it’s actually a great tool for an industry as a visually pleasing as the balloon and party business - woohoo!
Why Should You Use Instagram Reels
Remember, as always with social media marketing ‘audience’ = potential customers. Every time a viewer sets eyes on your Reels video it’s an opportunity to immerse them in your brand and remind them of the great products and services that you offer.
Like feed posts, Reels allow you to add up to 30 hashtags - more than the 10 Instagram Stories allows - so be sure to follow best practises and use all of these for maximum exposure to new viewers. Use a mix of hashtags that are relevant to what you’re posting ‘e.g. #halloween, #genderreveal and #zoomparty as well as hashtags for your local area such as #henley, #henleysmallbusiness. Jane, in the same town as you, may have clicked simply wanting to watch 'a funny balloon video' her friend shared but if you play your cards right, she’ll also come away remembering that there’s a balloon and party business near her that does really cool work.
As is usually the case with new features, Instagram are keen to get people using Reels which means they’re currently making it extra easy for new people to find users. Reels are currently being prominently featured at the top of the Instagram Explore page which shows users content from everyone - not just those who they already follow. It probably won’t stay that way for long though, as discoverability on a new feature is known to get a little trickier over time, so there’s no time like the present to get stuck in!!
How to Use Instagram Reels to Boost Your Business
The key to making the most of Instagram Reels really comes from understanding the nature of how TikTok is consumed. Like on TikTok, whilst there’s a lot of original content ideas on Reels, there are also a lot of trending video topics and ‘challenges’ doing the rounds, where anyone is encouraged to record their own version, which can make coming up with content much easier.
If you’re stuck for ideas, head to the Instagram Explore page, click on a ‘Reels’ video and start swiping upwards to see what other people are doing. Clicking on the word ‘more’ on the caption beneath each Reels video will reveal which hashtags the users has selected; often this highlights which popular challenge/trend they are doing in the video. By clicking on those hashtags you can see other users’ related content and get inspiration for your own take on it. Of course, if you get your own original idea for a video then by all means create that too, you may even start your own trend!
Here are some content ideas for Reels to get you going:
-’Magic’ Before/After Installations - Not only does this easily show off the work that you do but they’re so visually pleasing that they often encourage sharing which means more exposure for your business.
-Reels Challenges - Remember, social media marketing is a fine balance between entertaining and upselling. People won’t watch your Reels content if all you do is promote your products / services so make sure to add in the entertainment factor too. If you and/or your team are comfortable on camera, why not take part in a fun dance challenge and make the most of being discovered via the hashtag. Just keep your content on brand, by including some brilliant balloons in the background so the viewer is always reminded of what you can offer them.
-Funny Anecdotes in Video Clips - Accidentally received Mickey Mouse foils for your engagement celebration design? Had a balloon deflate in a funny position? Instead of tearing your hair out, share the moment with your followers in a humorous manner and maybe your misfortune will lead to more followers (i.e. potential customers).
Are you active on Instagram Reels yet? When you give it a go, be sure to tag us with the usual hashtag, #bapiaparty, so that we can see, like, comment on and perhaps even share your work!