What are Instagram Reels?

May 30, 2022  |  Written by Agus Hermawan   |   Digital Marketing, Social Media

What are Instagram Reels?

Since June 2021, and after almost one year of being introduced to the public in August 2020 (in 50 different countries), Instagram users in Indonesia can now finally enjoy the latest Instagram content format/feature - Instagram Reels.

Immediately after its release, Reels was criticized as a “TikTok copycat”. Despite being criticized from all directions, Reels has successfully gained positive reactions from many content creators, influencers, brands, and users. They used Reels while also building their presence on TikTok at the same time.

So, what exactly are Instagram Reels? How does it work? How can you use it for business? We will cover all of these questions in this article.

Reels logo - What are Instagram Reels?

What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels are the newest feature inside the Instagram ecosystem. It’s a video format content that can be up to 60 seconds long.

Reels enabled Instagram to create fun and engaging video footage by using its sets of new editing/creative tools. Reels can consist of a combination of these elements - multiple short video clips, interactive backgrounds, audio, stickers, filters, and more.

Different from Feed and Stories, Reels tab (accessed through the Reels icon at the bottom of the Instagram app’s home page), is filled with Reels from popular and trending accounts on Instagram. You could say it’s the Instagram version of FYP (For You page) from TikTok. Additionally, you can find the individual user’s Reels from the dedicated tab above the account Feed.

Instagram also features Reels on the Explorer page.

Reels Interface - Instagram Reels Algorithm

How the Instagram Reels Algorithm Works?

From what we understand, Instagram never really disclosed how its algorithm works.

Especially the new Reals feature.  Its algorithm has been a bit of a mystery, especially when it comes to what’s shown as a suggested post, or in the Reels Explore tab. However, in February last year, Instagram released some helpful insights. 

Based on this post by Instagram, brands and creators should post Reels that :

  • Are entertaining and fun (i.e. delights people, grabs their attention, makes them laugh, or has a fun surprise or twist).
  • Are inspiring (i.e. starts a trend that others can easily participate in).
  • Use creative tools like text, filter, or camera effects.
  • Use vertical video.
  • Use music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio you created or found on Reels.
  • Are experimental! Try something new, be yourself, and see what works for you.

And on the flip side, Instagram advises that brands and creators should not post Reels that:

  • Are blurry due to low-resolution.
  • Are visibly recycled from other apps (i.e, contains logos or watermarks).
  • Are uploaded with a border around them.
  • Have the majority of the image covered by text.
  • Do not meet Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

By following these Reels tips directly from Instagram, we hope you’ll stand a better chance of hacking the algorithm, reaching new audiences, and increasing your view and follower count.

Instagram insight - How to Use Instagram Reels For Business

How to Use Instagram Reels For Business

Based on a multitude of research, the human attention span keeps decreasing, day by day.

This can be proven by the success of Instagram Stories not long after its release in 2016. Stories quickly surpassed Snapchat in daily users. 

With this data in mind, businesses should grab this opportunity to build their community, engage with new audiences and grow their content reach by using Instagram Reels. People prefer quick-and-easily-digestible content to complex content.

Here are 5 tips on how to use Instagram Reels for your business marketing strategy:

  • 1. Make It authentic, fun, and personal

    Whether your business is a small or large company, it is important to have a connection with your audience, and while you can have some serious as well as professional moments, it’s okay if that connection is fun or even funny.

  • 2. Share behind-the-scene content.

    Customers/followers (whether they’re current or soon-to-be) will love seeing what’s happening behind your business curtain. Behind-the-scene content can help your audiences understand what your business is and why you’re selling whatever it is that you’re selling. It’s personable, it gains trust, and it builds relationships.

  • 3. Showcase your products

    Reels offer a great chance to do a little show and tell. Reels is a huge opportunity for brands and businesses looking to drive awareness and sales from the platform. Since users can find Reels in the dedicated Reels tab and on the Explorer tab, users that haven’t followed your account have a possibility to see your Reels. Also, Reels are shoppable, which means businesses can showcase products and tag them directly.

  • 4. Add context and CTAs to your captions

    Use your caption and CTAs to add more information and context to your Reels. This can help the Instagram algorithm to understand what you’re sharing and serve it to the right people.

  • 5. Use Instagram Reels ads

    Instagram advertisers can choose Reels as a placement for their Instagram ads starting in June 2021. Reels ads offer brands a new way to reach targeted audiences who are scrolling through Reels with the mindset to engage with content.

Get in touch with us

After more than one year, Instagram Reels has proven it can offer new and unique opportunities for businesses to reach who they want in order to grow their audience.

Get in touch with our team if you want to grow your business audience using Instagram Reels.

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