The other day Instagram rolled out a brand new feature that a lot of us bloggers have been trying to get to grips with. Introducing Instagram Reels – a 15 second video that can be filmed to music, with filters or using videos from your camera roll. And yes, this is a bit of a gimmick to TikTok because I suppose Instagram, had to jump on the bandwagon.
But I thought I would do a blog post about it today because after I posted some the other night, I have actually had a load of different DMs about them. So this is I suppose answering all of them, and putting it into a bit of a guide specifically for bloggers.
For us bloggers, you can either look at Instagram Reels in two different ways. The first being what the hell am I going to create and how can I differentiate that content to IGTV content? And the second being this could be quite a handy marketing technique. I would like to think mine have been a bit of a combination of the two because if you look at it properly and break it down you can see the positives of using it.
Now available in 50 different countries, Instagram reels is essentially for creating short sharp and engaging content. Not everyone wants to watch a 15 minute long IGTV, and they might just want a quick little capture. Because today people only review content for something stupid like 8 seconds. They have been said to be similar to TikTok, with the ability to scroll through 15 second videos, and being able to put music to them from the app.
However for me, I have always seen Tik Tok as more of a comedy place, where I want to go for some light hearted or funny content. I am going to be viewing reels in more of a content creation platform. It is totally up to you how you want to view this though. But it is easy to see why Instagram have gone down the same route. Tik Tok is one of the fastest growing social media apps ever, and really targets the generation z who love Tik Tok so much. But as Instagram already have over 1 billion users, implementing it into an app means that they can increase their viewership in this target demographic. Like stories, but with a longer view time, that is over 24 hours.
You can find reels on a persons profile and the icon looks like a little directors cut board. Or on the explore page there is a whole navigation section for Reels.
Reels are pretty simple to make. Personally, I have never made that many TikToks as I found it quite complex. However I got the hang of Reels straight away. Swipe over to where you would film an Instagram story, and at the bottom below the record button you will see the option to swipe and make a reel. Then you will have a menu on the left hand side to add music, a filter, and more options.
To add videos from your camera roll you have to click the little square box on the bottom left hand corner and it will take you to your camera roll. You can then trim the length of the clip. If its shorter than 15 seconds you can then add another video in. That is how I made my reel of my weekend in bath. When you have filmed it you can add the usually Instagram stories stickers, and then chose a cover and write a title and description.
As Reels is a relatively new concept, there is not specific algorithm yet. When you publish the Reel if it is popular, you have the chance for it to be featured on the explore page, and if it is you will get a little notification letting you know.
But for the moment, like Tik Tok, it is working on a way that you see what you want to see. The content is tailored around who you follow, and the content that you typically view. So if you like seeing holiday Reels, then you will see more as you view more. People who have been testing Reels for the last couple of weeks have said they have seen engagement rise because they are reaching a new audience who are genuinely interested in the content they are posting.
As its new, it is a minefield at the moment as to what brand and bloggers might use reels for. Whilst it is still early it is better to be more experimental and creative as the competition is still low. If you already use Tik Tok for your business and promoting your Instagram then this essentially will be even better as you are reaching that demographic all on one app.
I have had quite a few people asking how I plan to use reels. I know those who use Tik Tok have said they will keep the comedy and informal content there, and then the fashion and professional content on reels. But as I don’t use Tik Tok in that way I am not limited to that. I think for me it will be an extension of my feed, incorporated with clips and videos of behind the scenes stuff.
Instagram feeds are always so polished and pristine that reels will give me a place to put out uncut, raw videos. You can hide them from your feed so it won’t disrupt that, however I want to post more everyday content. So this will give me that chance – a bit like a mini vlog. You can expect to see this and hopefully more of my personality.
This is only the beginning of reels, and lets be honest, they will change sooner than we know it. I am sure Instagram will add the feature of a swipe up link like you are able to do on Instagram stories. It will also open up a whole new game for advertising. It is an extra way for brands to push content, or promote products so you can guarantee there will be some form of marketing plans that include reels.
I have already published some reels and you can find them below:
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