Head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, tweeted on June 30th, 2021 that Instagram the social media platform is no longer a photo-sharing app. Instead, he pointed out that the social media giant is focusing on video, creators, shopping, and messaging. For businesses investing in an Instagram social media strategy, that signals that the time has finally come to focus on video vs. other new features. Specifically, Reels, a new video option is a great way to create and share zippy little clips. These stylized abbreviated videos with filters, effects, music, and more have captured the imagination of large swaths of people on social media in recent years — enough that Mosseri even admitted the changes are being made in response to the rise of the once new platform for short video sharing TikTok.
That’s because many of his users have been flocking to TikTok, which introduced the format in 2016. By 2020, it was the most downloaded social media app, beating both Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, began offering Reels, their platform for these mini-movies, in August 2020. Almost as soon as it launched, Instagram prioritized Reels content. The Reels tab became the primary button on the Instagram publishing page and it hasn’t been dislodged.
In every market where Reels has been introduced, statistics show a significant bump in Instagram downloads. A huge opportunity not to be missed! This indicates the addition of Instagram Reels is bringing new users to the platform (likely younger, Tik Tok users). And they are engaging. From big brand names, sports teams to fashion labels, the numbers of eyeballs are notable.
- Fashion influencer Junesixtyfive has gotten more than 2.7M views on her quick change transition Reel with different outfits.
- Louis Vuitton averages 7M views on each Reel.
- NBA franchises are getting 22% higher engagement with Instagram Reels as compared to Instagram posts or Instagram Stories.
Before it even turned one year old, Instagram announced the launch of Reels Ads replete with analytics, which gives B2B businesses new channels for their social media strategy to promote short video content to targeted audiences and increase brand awareness. If the success of Instagram Stories (which is modeled on Snapchat) is a harbinger, then their short form video format is going to be a part of your digital marketing strategy one way or another.
Instagram marketing is changing. Creating content for your fans is no longer just about highly curated images or even raw, behind-the-scenes footage. It is about creating the right content, relevant content, informational content, it’s all about creating video content in a creative way.
But don’t look nervously at that Reels icon. As a Social media marketing expert, I have provided exactly what you need in this complete guide to using Instagram reels for your B2B business.
What Is Instagram Reels, Exactly?
Instagram Reels is a new platform to create short-form images and share them within platforms. Reels provides the ability to capture and edit 15-second video clips with custom audio effects and special effects. The platform has been well embraced by influencer marketing and big names such as Louis Vuitton as well as millions of users. Sephora even created its first campaigns via the app.
Reels are made up of short clips largely introduced to counteract the meteoric growth in the popularity of TikTok. It offers the most storytelling options and variety on Instagram — anything from narrative ads and dance videos to informational how-tos and more can be made. You can use Instagram reels to make funny and educational content.
Where Do You Find Reels?
Instagram has made it easy to find Reels content. There are four avenues.
- A Short Form Video can appear in the Main Feed or Stories
- Exploring hashtags used in a Reel
- Browsing audio, which behaves like tags to the videos they are used in
- The Instagram Explore page, a popular place for users to discover new content
When you scroll through the Reels feed (which we highly recommend) you should start to see a few trends (and may notice you’re going down a glorious rabbit hole of influencer marketing content). They come from the most common features of the platform.
Main Features of Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels has quite a few qualities, but a few are the most definitive
- 15 or 30-second videos
- Ads enabled for businesses
- Special moviemaking options like video speed, transition effects, and green screens
- Ability to add musical recordings
- Enabled for e-commerce
- Highly visible “explore page” to find new content
- Generate engagement
Even though music is the main Instagram Reels feature, official business accounts have to be creative due to copyright laws. However, clever marketers have come up with a few workarounds that haven’t stopped companies from joining in on the fun.
Top Reasons B2B Brands Should Leverage Instagram Reels Vs. Other Social Media Platforms
Lets Weight The Difference
Can you use Instagram Reels as social media marketing for B2B businesses? Can you use reels to generate leads? Absolutely! Social media is a change of fate for B2B marketers and market research proves it. Other brands can serve as great examples of what to do on other platforms or social networks but how you leverage your Instagram account or Instagram page is a matter of marketing to your audience.
Instagram Reels is a new approach, and a great way to engage with the Instagram community and achieve a much bigger audience much like Facebook ads. Any reel featured in Explore will get notifications
All B2B businesses correlate business objectives with the most important aspect of business goals.
Lead generation, sales, drive engagement, and ultimately ROI.
Social media managers on the other hand when retained are often challenged on how to accomplish these goals by the most important aspect to drive more traffic through multiple channels of marketing, such as influencer marketing and social media posts. Instagram reels are a great way to bridge that gap by instant engagement, social proof, retaining customers, and the potential for leads without having to dig into engagement metrics…the algorithm does all the work for you and can feature your reel to the masses quickly.
Nearly half of millennials use Instagram. The best way to engage with this target market is to connect with them on a personal level and with reels, you can do that efficiently and quickly much like influencer marketing. Real brands need to connect with real people with innovative and entertaining content. 71% of SMBs now use social media to promote themselves according to asset digital. When you are involved in the B2B industry you have a great opportunity to share your customer stories.
Instagram Reels is a great place for you to try new formats of more attention grabbing videos by using shorter form video without having to set up another audience on a new app. But as you continue to develop your following on Instagram you also can maintain relevance with millennials and other younger target markets. Most of us have brief attention spans and tools like the Reels platform are designed for this purpose. You have never possessed a more accessible platform than you now can.
B2B Digital Marketing with Reels
Using Instagram reels isn’t as hard as it may seem at first. Once you get used to it, Reels is a messaging powerhouse and one of the best ways to deliver more information in a short amount of time . It lets you build up your brand’s name and puts you in league with the leading edge of content creation while targeting specific audiences.
It has the tools to let your authority and expertise truly shine and it helps you connect with prospects. By creating engaging content for them on a platform they enjoy, you can reach a new audience, potential customers and generate more leads. It can seem daunting, but after you make your first reel, you’ll see that of all the various platforms, it offers a more creative way to reach more customers and leave them wanting more.
The Two Platforms: Instagram Reels vs TikTok
Ultimately, Instagram Reels is a direct competitor with TikTok, and both work in much the same way a do a great job. They both let you create short videos and have their proprietary editing features and filters. It’s also common for TikTok trends to find their way into the Instagram Reels feed.
And there are some differences. TikTok videos are more spontaneous and TikTok content tends to go viral quicker which sometimes puts them a step ahead. Meanwhile, Instagram users are more open to polished, high-quality content.
They can seem neck and neck in the numbers game, too. Instagram is still growing and has about half a billion more users than TikTok, even though TikTok is gaining more followers more quickly.
But it’s not a zero-sum game. Ultimately your consumer enjoys quick, good quality video content and they can be found on both platforms.
While it’s easy to pass off TikTok creators (and short-form videos) as being for GenZ only, the fact is that millennials make up a wide audience and are the fastest-growing demographic on the platform. They are accustomed to seeing this type of content on TikTok, and now increasingly are being engaged on Instagram reels much the same.
Resist the urge to pit these two social media behemoths against each other. Your social media marketing strategy gets the most out of short videos when you use Instagram reels and TikTok together.
Top Ways Brands Can Leverage Instagram Reels In Their Social Media Marketing Strategy
Expanding into a new medium and opening up a new station takes time and effort. You want to be sure it will help you meet your digital marketing goals and there are a few areas where you can leverage the power of Instagram Reels.
Build Brand Name Awareness
Instagram Reels is a great tool for marketing efforts that prioritize brand exposure and stay ahead of the game. More and more people are browsing Reels and brands that put out good content are breaking through.
Ways to Build Brand Awareness with Reels:
- Start a challenge. Challenges are a type of viral video sensation where users make their own version of a theme that can take almost any form.
- Follow Instagram’s Best Practices. Using Reels to gain followers means adhering as close as possible to the community guidelines.
- Answer specific questions. The 15 or 30-second video format is perfect for taking on questions and answers. Use other channels like Reddit, Quora, or even your own Instagram Polls can mine for information that can be used to answer specific questions.
- Make relevant content with influencers. It will promote your brand and products to their fans. Walmart is a great example.
- Show your funny side. Sometimes a Reel is just about making your customers smile. For example, Netflix made a video that just shows a plant crying as it watches its owner cry to a sad movie.
Promoting Products & Education
The important aspect to highlight is people love learning things through entertaining short-video content, so take the opportunity to educate your customers and prospects with information about your products.
Product Education Formats on Reels:
- Product demonstrations: Many brands have success using Reels videos to show how their products are used. Customers and prospects can browse your reels gallery with fun videos about exactly what your product can do for them.
- FAQs: If you have an FAQ page on your website, they’re usually the perfect bite-sized pieces of information that translate well to quick, bite-sized videos.
Your brand and products shouldn’t be the only things on your feed. You can provide true value by hopping into the current conversation stream with the engaging and educational post content.
Thought Leadership on Reels:
- How-to videos: Share your industry expertise by making a series of How-To videos that your prospects may be looking for or need. For example, a tire company could produce a 15-30-second video about how to change a flat tire.
- Informational content: Studies and other data your brand wants to share can be neatly summarized in a quick video that is a joy to watch and educational.
Connect & Make Meaningful Connections
Marketing and corporate culture can feel very inhuman when it’s done wrong. Mechanical and soulless. It is especially challenging at the same time when your business might fall into what some people categorize as boring industries.
Reels is inherently more human than the feed or stories. Many of the most successful posts feature people so pay attention to the content creators. One way that can be accomplished for brands is by sharing some authentic, behind-the-scenes, reels videos.
Short Format Video Ideas for Behind the Scenes:
- Day in the life: Make a short movie about what it’s like to work at your company
- Updates on projects: Follow a project from start to finish on Reels
- Virtual tour: Show Off your facilities
- Insight into your process: Peel back the curtain on how you create your products or services
- Bloopers: Customers like it when you show off the goofy side of your brand
- Business Profiles: Share who the people are behind the brand.
- Share videos: Share videos made by your employees
Testimonials are the holy grail of social media marketing and Instagram Reels makes it easy to harness. You can squeeze more equity out of your reviews by sharing them in a fun and engaging way on new Reels. Create employee testimonials to talk about brand culture and talk to your best customers and influencers about contributing a video testimonial about your brand and product.
Reels Testimonial Ideas:
- Quote testimonials: Take a quote and lay it over video of the product
- Success Stories/Case Studies: Tell the story of how your product solved their problem
- Interview Testimonials: Question and answer style can produce authentic, endearing responses
New product launches are a great way to leverage Instagram reels and bring your product or service to your target audience. Reels are connected to Instagram shopping and make the marketing of a new feature product look and feel more dynamic.
Product Launch Ideas on Reels:
- Sneak peeks: Give your most loyal customers early intel and sneak peeks into new products. Luxury purse brand Anima Iris gave fans a glimpse of a bag from their new collection before it was released.
- Build Excitement: Set the stage for the product to be released by building up anticipation for the new product. For instance, Louis Vuitton created a cool video to promote the launch of their new collection.
What Makes A Reel Go Viral?
Going viral can feel like playing the lottery, even if you understand the algorithm. To get your videos seen, Instagram recommends posting Reels that:
- Delights people, grab their attention, makes them laugh, or has a fun surprise or twist. Be entertaining.
- Inspires. Start a trend that others can easily participate in.
- Applies imaginative tools like text, filter, or camera effects.
- Uses vertical video.
- Adds music from the Instagram library and/or original audio you create or find on Reels.
- Are experimental! Instagram wants you to try something new, be yourself, and see what works for you.
Hit the Record Button and Avoid These:
- Blurry, low-resolution videos.
- Contain logos or watermarks from other apps (such as Tik Tok).
- Borders around the image.
- Having the majority of the image covered by text.
- Not meeting Instagram’s Community Guidelines.
Tips for Using Instagram Reels
If you’re thinking about incorporating Reels into your content strategy, here is some more information on what you can do to make yours stand out from the rest.
- Use Music and Captions-Audio, and captions for those not necessarily listening, are standard best practices on Reels much like a regular social media post.
- Tag People-Tagging relevant people increases visibility.
- Publish to the Feed and Stories-Publishing to the Feed and Stories gives you the most exposure to many users. If you only publish to the Reels feed, it may not be seen by your followers, who are the most likely to engage.
- Use Titles-This makes it easier to browse from your Reels Tab.
- Repurpose Content-Create videos based on older content. Things that were a hit on Stories or the Feed may find new life as a video. And content that didn’t do as well as you wanted in the form of a photo may do better as a moving image.
- Use Your Videos in a Blog Post-Videos can be downloaded and added to your blog, which can positively impact your SEO program.
- Hop on Trends Fast-Social media trends have a shelf life and by joining in too late your target audience may have already moved on.
- Storyboard-Since Reels are essentially mini-movies, storyboard each post to make sure it’s telling a clear and relatable story.