How to Use Instagram Reels in your Marketing Strategy

12 October 2020

The much anticipated Instagram reel feature has finally rolled out, giving online users another platform to experiment with short-form video content. The integration of reels was of course prompted by the success of TikTok, which has taken the world by storm. The decision makers at Instagram are highly tactical in their crusade against down-the-line obsolescence. It would seem their strategy is to become a one-stop-shop social media platform, constantly innovating and combining the best of its competitors. We saw this before when they usurped the stories feature, leaving Snapchat in the lurch.

What are Instagram Reels, and how do they work?

Instagram Reels was launched last August 5 in more than 50 countries worldwide, including Australia. Users took to it like ducks to water, and shortly after its kick-off, the platform was flooded with 15-second TikTok-esque videos.

Reels take a vertical video format and have access to music and effects. What’s interesting is that they have their own feed on Instagram that separate from your main feed. Like its rival app, Instagram Reels lets you search for videos based on your interests and interactions. They’re also shareable via your main feed as well as stories.

Where can I find Instagram Reels?

The Instagram Reels icon is easily located on your Explore Tab - it’s the first thing you’ll see at the top of your screen. Upon clicking, you’ll be taken to the Reels Feed, where you can start engaging with videos that interest you.

How can I use Instagram Reels for my marketing strategy?  

For businesses, Instagram Reels is an exciting development. It provides a new content-sharing medium which can help brands to boost their online presence by connecting with their audience in a memorable way. Sure, you can use reels as a form of advertising, showcasing your products and services directly to users. But we think reels best lend themselves to content marketing.

Instagram Reels is 100% organic, at least for now. You can measure the success of your reels using the following metrics:

  • Total number of video views
  • Likes and comments
  • Number of shares.

The good thing about reels is that they are part of the Instagram experience, so you can take advantage of its huge userbase. Here’s how you can use them to increase your brand’s reach, engagement, and conversions.

1. Educate your audience

People love content that’s useful, informative and relevant. A 15-second video is an engaging way to share bite-sized, educational information. The key here is telling your audience about your products, without making it directly about your products. For example, if you sell skincare products on Instagram, your reels could include healthy skincare tips and skincare trivia. There’s no need to make your content overly salesy. Instead, focus on providing value, and highlighting your expertise in the industry.

2. Highlight reviews and user-generated content

Positive reviews and testimonials can tip on-the-fence customers over the edge, boosting your conversions. Their value is enormous so make sure to take advantage of them at every opportunity.  Why not upload your online reviews as user-generated content and use them in your reels? Don’t be afraid to get creative. Feel free to explore the music, effects, and even the countdown timer feature to really hold people’s attention.

3. BTS content

By this we mean behind-the-scenes content, not the K-Pop band.

Give users an inside glimpse at the day-to-day operations of your business. Content doesn’t need to be flashy or over-the-top to be engaging. In fact, sharing footage of a normal day in the office can be much more effective. This is because this type of content humanises your brand, lifting the corporate veil and allowing audiences to see your more authentic side. This is key in building trusting consumer relationships nowadays. It creates a meaningful sense of connection that is hard to achieve with traditional marketing material.  

4. Join the latest trend

A large portion of TikTok content is dominated by trends. The same goes for Instagram Reels.

Demonstrate to your audience that your brand is fresh, relevant and vibrant by getting involved. This could mean participating in the latest dance trend or challenge. Of course, this won’t always be appropriate, so use your discretion. Tap into your audience and find out what content they enjoy, and whether it’s relevant to your products and services. Before you dive into anything, make sure the themes are in keeping with the tone of your industry and branding. While it might be appropriate for a young clothing company to recreate the Savage dance, this probably wouldn’t go down so well for an insurance broker.

5. Sneak peak of new products

Pique the interest of your audience by sharing sneak peek video clips of new products or services. Keep them vague, but use great visuals and audio to make the content exciting. The countdown feature would work well here, creating a sense of anticipation around the next drop that will keep people coming back for more.

Conclusion

Reels won’t be for every business, but depending on your audience and industry, they could be a valuable promotion tool that is free to use. As always, it’s important first to evaluate where your customers are and what kind of content they are interested in. For best results, test and improve. Check your metrics to see which of your reels generate the most engagement. Rinse and repeat.

For social media marketing with an impact, connect with the expert Team Elephant at www.elephantintheboardroom.com.au.