Get Reels: How Brands Can Use Instagram's Latest Feature
from Adam | February 17, 2021
Today's consumer trends favor short-form content that is aimed at entertainment. Technology has shaped every part of our lives and resulted in an increased demand for instant gratification. After all, around 81% of Americans own smartphones. And digital natives – Millennials and Gen Zers – value relatable, authentic, bite-sized content from brands, especially on social media.
Social media platforms are constantly evolving, and brands that maintain an active online presence can see this development firsthand and even help shape it. If you've been looking for a way to move away from traditional sponsored content and join the TikTok era of viral video and your own media, Instagram has just given you the green light.
The Reels feature of Facebook's own app allows users to create 15-second video and audio clips. It's no secret that TikTok's success led Instagram to launch Reels. However, Instagram prevails through its distribution options: roles, stories, and curated images. Since Instagram has already built a strong foundation with the creative community, it beats TikTok, which is just getting started and acts more like a media sales channel than a social platform.
Big brands are already using Reels to participate in current social media challenges, collaborate with influencers and sell through Reels' purchasing function. If your digital footprint is still relatively small, this is a great opportunity to grow. Becoming an early adopter can significantly expand your reach as Instagram will prioritize videos created with its new feature over other content. With that in mind, here are four strategies for creating engaging short-form content for Instagram roles:
1. Deliver unique, exclusive content.
When you're releasing a new product or service, Reels is a great place to give fans a first look at it. The popular streaming service Netflix is a good example of this. The company's roles offer its 25.3 million followers yet another opportunity to experience teasers and trailers for TV shows. Rather than overwhelm viewers with a deluge of videos, Netflix strives for quality – and so should you. Give your followers an engaging and exclusive look at a product, service or event.
2. Train your audience.
There's a reason people flock to sites like YouTube to learn new things. Video is a great medium for sharing knowledge. The roles are long enough to convey something useful to you, but also short enough to get the audience's attention. If you are an expert in your field and you know something that might help others, you are not keeping this wisdom to yourself. Think about what you know and what you can do, demonstrate these skills in a short video clip, and then share. If your audience values your helpful content, it will increase your credibility.
3. The aim is to entertain.
If you can get followers to laugh at your jokes, excite fans with your stories, or excite viewers about your comedy routine, they will keep watching. And don't worry if you don't succeed right away. Short-form videos are great for trying new ideas and seeing what resonates without spending your entire marketing budget. Once you have a feel for the type of content your audience wants to see, develop a content strategy that is tailored to their preferences while remaining flexible enough to grow as a creator. National Geographic, for example, knows that its audience wants to see the wonders of the world we live in. Most of the brand's reels feature breathtaking landscapes or playful animals.
4. Introduce others.
Social media is all about connecting and sharing online. So involve others in activating your roles. Work with influencers, other brands or customers as part of your strategy and use their networks to increase your reach. Walmart, for example, created a role that highlighted its influencer partnerships throughout the year. And don't limit yourself to just one platform. If you want to be successful on roles, you probably need to be present on TikTok as well. Trends, challenges and viral videos switch from one platform to another. By monitoring TikTok, you can become a better brand leader on Reels.
Social media is not a golden ticket. Most brands that thrive online have well thought out social strategies and disciplined approaches to content creation and sharing. If you want to expand your brand exposure on Instagram, and perhaps even go viral, you need to create content that meets the wants and needs of modern viewers.
David Ciccarelli is the founder and CEO of Voices.com, the world's largest marketplace for audio and voice-over products and services with over one million registered corporate and voice actor users. David is responsible for setting the vision, executing the growth strategy, creating a vibrant culture, and running the company on a daily basis. It is widely published in outlets such as The Globe and Mail, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal.