Reeling them in: using Insta Reels for brands

In summer 2020 a new feature was launched on Instagram; called Instagram Reels and it holds a lot of promise for both aspiring start-ups and prominent brands who need new ways to attract new audiences and expand their customer base.

Instagram Reels allows you to create short 15-second videos through the hands-free feature, including filters, music, and timers which can then be copied and shared by other users whilst crediting you accordingly. Reels are available to view via the explore page. Over the past year, we have witnessed the numerous ways that embracing this new feature on Instagram has paid off for brands who have managed to sell their products without making it all about selling their products. So let’s take a look at how to make the most of Instagram Reels for your brand.

Firstly, make sure your audience knows your brand is a cut above the rest by demonstrating your expertise in your field. If you are the first to know about updates in your industry you will become the go-to for those seeking this information. The best way to demonstrate your expert knowledge is through tutorials and other ‘explainer’ videos.

Recycling content isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as it is adapted accordingly to the platform. An example of this could be using content from past blog posts and copying over blog titles, which grab the audience’s attention, to the video followed by short explanations. If you compare the time it would take someone to head to your website and find a specific blog post rather than watch a 15-second long video containing the same information, you can see how the latter is the better option.

Collaborating with influencers has never been easier or more advantageous for your brand with the new Reels feature. With Reels videos created by influencers available on a constant loop on the explore page, this offers you the opportunity to gain constant exposure whilst increasing the possibility of your videos being shared by your brand influencers’ followers. What’s more, if you choose influencers who understand how to take advantage of all the Reels features to create very visually-pleasing videos, you’ll see the number of views skyrocket! @paigexoxochannel’s review of her LOL Surprise doll is a great example of this. She uses a catchy song as the sound and each frame of the video is different, which keeps things interesting. Plus, the sparkly filters she uses highlights the fun nature of the doll.

An intriguing story has the power to attract and maintain customers as they are always interested to know the backstory or personal connection someone has to the brand. What’s more, the more unique your story, the more likely you’ll stand out from your competitors, so invite your customers to join you on your journey through behind-the-scenes videos and product launches or demonstrations. A great example of this is brand influencer @jessicas_._world’s product demonstration of character Roadie from LOL Surprise. Unwrapping the product to see what’s inside and putting it all together shows customers exactly what they are paying for.

User-generated content (UGC) formats, such as customer testimonials, are a brand’s best friend because they let potential customers know that your brand is trustworthy and makes good on its promises. When new features get added to social media platforms, it can sometimes make some brands feel a bit apprehensive about having to learn the tricks and feel concerned about the time needed to manage the new feature. However, Reels has been created to make your life easier rather than harder. This is another reason why UGC is a great resource for your brand as it’s both ready-made and ready-to-go.

Social listening is incredibly important to building your Reels profile. If there is a popular trend going around be the first one to tap into it but, at the same time, make sure it is relevant to your brand. Sometimes, one size doesn’t fit all so it is important that you use tools such as Instagram analytics to gain more understanding into what your customers expect from you and what kind of content they enjoy the most. Starting your own trend through a competition or your own Reels ‘sound’ could be another option as it is something that you control and you could use your brand influencers to increase the chance of it going viral. A perfect example of this is with Na! Na! Na! Surprise brand influencer @naomicastelo’s unveiling of fashion doll Samantha Smartie. She uses a very appropriate song as the sound (Oh Nanana remix ft. xang & mayklove) and uses a sparkle filter to go well with the shiny material of the package it comes in. It’s eye-catching, memorable and most definitely shareable.

As we have already highlighted, Reels is a user-friendly feature with pre-formatted elements that make it easier than ever for brands to attract new audiences through creative content. Therefore, as long as you have a creative idea or a unique story to tell, Reels will take care of the rest...

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