Article / 13/10/2020 / Milana Dürnholz

Instagram Reels: Just a short-term trend, or should you actively use it?

After having launched a test in more than 90 countries, Instagram launches in June 2020 a new content format: Reels. What are Reels? Should a brand integrate the new format into its marketing strategies? Is it just a short-term trend? Do Reels have potential and how should you use them as a brand?

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After a test in more than 90 countries, Instagram launched a new content format in June 2020: Instagram Reels. This function allows users to make videos and add music to them. The clips can be up to 30 seconds long. The concept might seem familiar to some, as Instagram Reels is often compared to the TikTok application.

If you want to learn more about this exciting new gadget, you can listen to the Facebook podcast. It provides information about the new format and the potential ways for brands and companies to use it.

Creating a Reel

After the feed, the Stories and Instagram TV (IGTV), the Reels are a new format that can be used by brands in their marketing or communication strategy, to gain visibility on Instagram. The short clips will appear in a separate feed on the Instagram app. All users will be able to watch the Reels, even those made by an organisation or a person they do not follow. It is thus the ideal means to attract new followers.

The new function focuses on interaction. Users can like the Reel, forward it to friends, post it in their own Stories or give their opinion in the comments section. The Reels algorithm has not been carved in stone yet, but it will likely be influenced by people we already follow, content users interact with, what interests them, and where they are located.

Creating a Reel is as easy as spreading it: It is simple to add music, stickers and text to a new clip. The video’s speed can also be adjusted, and users can choose from a broad array of effects to add to their clip. A Reel usually consists of several takes. When put together, they show a situation, location or movement from different points of view. All you need then is a short description, some emojis and a few hashtags, and your Reel is ready to conquer the world!

For the creators, this requires less effort, it is creative content, and it is something different from the Stories and photos in people’s feed. The Reels are watched more often than IGTV clips, and another benefit of the short movies is that you have a large organic reach, without needing content that is made in a complex manner.

True marketing potential

It is important to recognise the viral potential of Reels, and use them for infotainment, for instance. They are excellent for that purpose. It is important to be imaginative and entertain the public in a short time. That way, you can easily put your brand on the front burner or product in a Reel without it attracting as much attention as it would in a commercial. Many companies use TikTok Trends, in which their brand, product or service is put in the spotlights with the help of some songs, dances or challenges.

It is also important to make sure that the content is tailor-made for the Reel, it cannot just be a part of another video. If it is, that could be detrimental for the quality and the potential to go viral.

A Reel can also be useful for influencer marketing: An influencer representing your brand or product can do so via Reels. Even people who do not follow that person can watch that Reel, meaning that your brand can gain even more reach and visibility.

Our advice to companies is clear: Try using Instagram Reels! If you are a company that makes content for the feeds and the Stories, you should not hesitate to take the first steps with Instagram Reels. Even if the number of views or reactions is not phenomenal, you will certainly acquire experience with the format, which will be beneficial for your company.

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