TikTok has grown leaps and bounds in recent years based on the short video concept. This fun app is especially popular among Generation Y & Z. Instagram, on the other hand, was initially created similarly to Snapchat and has since dominated the market after the introduction of Instagram Stories.
Well aware of the success of TikTok, Instagram realized they needed to offer a similar feature to the users, and this was when Instagram Reels came to life. Debuted in Brazil in late 2019, Instagram Reels is now available on iOS and Android in over 50 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia.
The launch has received positive feedback from influencers and brands. In fact, companies such as Sephora, Walmart, and Beardbrand in Europe are already using Instagram Reels.
So what is Instagram Reels? How does it work? How can we implement it in a digital marketing strategy? Here are my research findings.
Introducing Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels allow you to create and discover small and entertaining videos on Instagram. You can record and edit 15- to 30-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools.
Reels allow people to express themselves while entertaining others, whether that’s trying out a new dance or delivering messages on something they care about.
You can share Reels in your feed, and Reels from public accounts can be discovered via a new section under the Reels tab. Sharing to the Reels tab allows a larger audience to see your Reels. Only your followers will be able to see your Reels if your account is set to private.
Other than allowing users to record videos with sound or audio overlays, the Reels camera and editor also includes the amazing features below:
- More Editing Tools: These tools include augmented reality effects, transitions, and the ability to speed up or slow down videos.
- Audio Attribution: When a user uploads native audio, other users can use it in their videos, and the app credits the original user’s account.
- Stitchable Takes: This feature allows users to share a video with a single long take or a series of shorter takes.
- Shareability on Instagram Feed, Explore, Stories, and your profile: Depending on your privacy settings, you can share Reels with just friends through your Stories or profile or publicly in the Reels area of the Explore page.
- Mobile Only: Unlike Instagram profiles and Stories, Reels cannot be viewed or uploaded on desktop.
Why You Should Include Instagram Reels in Your Digital Marketing Plan
Reach a Large Audience
Instagram Reels have a significant advantage over regular Instagram posts because you can post them in a variety of locations. They have the potential to reach a broader audience.
When you post a Reel to the Explore page, people who would not normally see your average post will see it, increasing your impressions and reach.
According to NapoleonCat, there were more than 13.6 million Instagram users in Malaysia in February 2021, accounting for 40.7% of the country’s total population. Of those users, 54% were women, and people ages 25–34 were the largest user group (410, 000).
Plan an interesting and fun short video to reach more than 40% of Malaysia with your brand, products, or services through Instagram Reels. They are highly beneficial for businesses that sell female products such as fashion, cosmetics, and healthcare products.
Access to Generations Y and Z
Napoleon’s data shows that 960,000 people ages 25–34 in Singapore are active on Instagram. These numbers show that business will need to focus on Gen Y and Gen Z soon.
Gen Y and Gen Z gained rapid interest in TikTok in recent years. Many TikTok users are expected to migrate to Instagram to take advantage of the Reels feature, resulting in an increase in Gen Z users on Instagram. Instagram Reels will be a convenient way for any business targeting these generations to reach them.
Increase Brand Awareness
Instagram Reels help things go viral again as they did on TikTok or DouYin. It makes the old generation’s songs go viral and creates trending dances to get users to engage in this new social media platform.
Brands can showcase their products and service in a creative, fun, and unique way. Instagram Reels has the potential to increase sales and exposure while attracting viewers. People will be able to comment and like your Reels, just like they would on any other post.
Make your Reels creative, short and simple to deliver your messages.
Your brand will get more exposure through Reels, and they could go viral if you jump on the trends and patterns.
Showcase your personality. Instagram Reels allows businesses to further exemplify their personalities. You’ll notice users personalities shine through as you scroll through the many Reels created by personal accounts on the Explore tab. Brands can do the same, creatively expressing not only what they have to offer but also who they are. Your brand can develop a larger following and gain trust at the same time. People these days prefer to follow brands that express their personalities on social media, and Reels can help brands do that.
Many businesses choose to create Reels to give behind-the-scenes looks at how they run their businesses and the people behind them. It increases the customers’ confidence and trust in your product.
How to Add Instagram Reels to Your Digital Marketing Plan
Product Release or Showcase
Put your product on display in a quick and snappy way that captures users’ attention. Show your product’s versatility, variety, and features in a short video.
Use the 80/20 rule—80% of your posts should be fun or interesting content that informs and educates your audience and engages with the community, and 20% should promote your products or services.
You also can collaborate with famous influencers in Singapore to create Reels to promote your products. If your company plans to commit to Reels in the long term, build an in-house influencer team or work with an agency.
Tell your audience a story and take them on a journey with your expertise. Create a 15–20-second tutorial using one of your products or something similar that solves the audience’s problem.
Educate your audience in a short and simple way so that they can easily remember and recognise your product when they see it again.
Watch out! Don’t use a formal education style in your video. Build your knowledge-based Reels in a creative way to engage with users.
Behind the Scenes
Give your viewers a unique look at your brand and how it operates. Behind-the-scenes content creates the opportunity to build your followers’ confidence in your brand and give prospects an inside look. It also builds a personal connection between you and your followers because they want to know more details about your product.
Announce your sales and exclusive offers via Reels. IT Cosmetics Us, Tarte Cosmetics, and Fenty Beauty offer great examples of how to use Reels in European countries. They successfully applied this idea, Instagram users gained interest in their products, gaining more inquiries and sales. But make sure you maintain your authenticity and avoid turning your videos into blatant advertisements!
Consider this: many brands found success on TikTok by revealing their human side and letting go of the need to be flawless all of the time. That is what the audience wants to see.
The Bottom Line
Are you ready to try Instagram Reels for your business today? It may be premature to predict that Instagram Reels will be as successful in Malaysia as its predecessor, Stories. But you won’t go wrong by trying this new way to create compelling content, better understand your followers through interactions, and increase your Instagram reach.