As Instagram launches Reels, the long-touted TikTok killer, I’ve put together a handful of tips and strategies to help you make the most of the extra audience reach Instagram will be giving the Reels feature.
#1 – Use it!
As I’ve alluded to above, Instagram will be making sure everyone sees its latest feature, it’ll be all over the news, newspapers, magazines, blogs, youtube and Instagram itself. A tonne of eyeballs will be there as people experiment and learn about the feature and rush to be the next big thing!
Make good use of this time and just jump right in.
Create at least something daily, ideally 3+. The more you make the more you’ll learn and the more you’ll get seen.
Put out the right content for your brand or business, nail that first impression.
#2 – Strategic Experimentation!
At the same time though, experiment!
See what works and what doesn’t. You only have 15 seconds so you need to learn how to catch attention in 8 seconds or less, otherwise, people are just swiping by.
Observe what other people doing, TikTok was big on riffing other peoples content; A trend might emerge and you want to ride that wave. Relate it to your brand or business, or simply interact with it in some way. The added traffic around trends is only a good thing in the early days.
#3 – Get Reels!
Very similar to Instagram Stories, Reels is going to create an environment of just being real. No need to get all made up and smart – It’s 15 seconds, just jump on camera and share a thought. Show us something behind the scenes, what are you doing today? What’s caught your attention? Share it with Reels!
#4 – Create for Reach!
Again, there’s going to be a huge amount of traffic in the Reels page over the next month or so! THERE IS NO ALGORITHM RIGHT NOW!! You’re going to get all sorts of people popping by your posts, profile and Stories. You can approach this in two ways, either weed them away immediately by just sharing what’s relevant to your ideal client. More traffic means more likelihood the right people come in.
The other approach is to create for these masses. Don’t be too specific, and be broader, create clips that are top-level to your niche. i.e – If you’re a Portrait Photographer for Seniors – Share information about Photography generally, show off your expertise.
You can always create for the Ideal Client in other ways, but you balance a bit of broadness in there in hopes of catching a bit of Viral-ity and bringing in some healthy growth to the vanity metrics!
#5 – Be Predictable!
Splashing in a bit of Brand here: Be predictable – Start/End your videos in a familiar way. Get a catchphrase. Always wear the same shirt. Keep some consistency in your videos so that your audience becomes accustomed to you quickly and the familiarity element is in full bloom. Check out Primal Branding and read about ‘Rituals’
Here are some great examples from around the social media world:
“No Fizzy Drinks” @rohitroyfre
@rohitroygreDay 59: No Fizzy Drinks ✅♬ original sound – rohitroygre
Husband in the background, PastaQueen flicks her hair and says: “Ingredients” – @the_pastaqueen
@the_pastaqueenFresh pasta without eggs, the southern Italian way ##pasta ##freshpasta ##veganpasta♬ original sound – the_pastaqueen
We’re simple creatures. If we see the same thing over and over all of a sudden we’re joining in and humming the theme tune. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Shark Tank, but 40% of it is a theme tune and I hum along EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!!
#6 – Be Exclusive!
Create something unique for Instagram Reels. TikTok gives you a minute to play with, we’re stuck with 15seconds right now. Which has it’s pros and cons.
Pro: People tend to just watch for 8 seconds, if you hook them, they watch the rest. We’re going to very quickly learn how to clickbait people into hanging around with some sort of ambitious proclamation at the beginning.
Con: 15 seconds is not long enough for what you want to do, it’s too short to explain what you needed, and… I feel like it’s going to be pretty surface value for a while here…
Pro: You’re going to have to cram SO MUCH into 15 seconds, people are going to watch it twice, thrice, maybe even 4 times to catch WTF you just said… That’s great news for your algorithm reach!!
Con: You might have to work a little harder than usual for a pithy 15 seconds.
“I had more time I would have made a shorter Instagram Reel” – Chris Hart 2020
It takes some work to trim down all your waffle into something succinct. If you wanna say what you wanna say, you’re gonna have to plan out every word ahead of time.
#7 – Create for the share
As always, the biggest growth comes from being ‘social’ and collaborating. Getting in front of other peoples’ audiences exposes you obviously to another batch of people.
Cater your pitches to the right influencers and accounts, if there is a logical and mutually beneficial/reciprocal relationship you can build then you’ll see your account blow up almost overnight with the right person.
With this in mind, you can start off by creating content that others might want to share. No doubt ‘borrowed’ from TikTok, Instagram added the Green Screen feature where you can add a photo or video in the background and green screen yourself into it. You can comment on other videos, riff off of it and vice versa.
Create something others will want to comment on.
@soupytimeyeah ik it’s obviously not him…unless…♬ original sound – soupytime
@luxxuryxxMJ bass line controversy part 2 ##LearnOnTikTok ##TikTokTaughtMe ##TodayYearsOld ##BehindTheSong ##MusicEducation ##MusicHistory ##michaeljackson♬ original sound – luxxuryxx
The last tip I have is – Try just posting to Reels and NOT sharing to feed as well – If you share to feed potentially it’s limiting you to just your followers and not the broader Reels audience. More experimentation to be had, but that info is from a few sources now so…
How are you finding Reels? Is it everything you were hoping?
There is still definitely a spot TikTok, this doesn’t really compete too much, but it’ll certainly hold its own eventually!