Reels – What Are They and Do You Need Them?
Social media is a stress source for most small business owners. Trying to keep up with all the changes is impossible. But not to worry, social media is only one piece of the puzzle. One post or one video will not make or break your business. Social media is word-of-mouth marketing intended to build relationships with new customers and foster current relationships. How do you build relationships online? The same way you do offline…by connecting with people! When you post content, you are letting people get to know you/your business and then when you engage (comments & likes) with their content in a meaningful way then you are showing interest and investing in that relationship which hopefully turns into a loyal customer. So simply put, Reels are just one more avenue for your audience to get to know you and your business. If you like new methods for your social media content then we say go for it! Read below to find out what a Reel is, how to determine if Reels are right for your marketing mix, and a few reasons why you may want to consider adding Reels to your social media presence.
What is a Reel?
Reels are short-form vertical videos (also called portrait or full-screen videos) for Instagram that can be up to 60 seconds long. Reels usually include audio clips and visual effects that can be recorded and stitched together in-app or recorded on your phone and edited then uploaded. At the moment, Reels can only be uploaded via mobile phone. Reels can be found in the explore tab, the Reel tab, or in your Newsfeed and can be shared to your Instagram grid as well. Like Instagram’s other content types, Reels include captions, the heart button, and a place to comment. One feature unique to the Reel format is the follow button next to the user’s name.
Should I create Reels for my business’ social media page?
As with all marketing options, there are many ways to reach your potential customers whether using or not using Reels. When any new platform or format comes along, first ask yourself if the format seems relevant for the business (do you have video worthy messages) and if your business is already on that platform. If you answered yes, then ask the following:
- Do you have the time and bandwidth to try another format?
- Do you have the know-how to create this type of content?
- Do you have the budget for the added time investment?
- Can you hire a company to help? (like LA Social Karma! 😉)
Based on those answers, you can determine if Reels are right for your business. Small businesses have limited time and money which means we can’t do everything so it’s important to weigh the benefits with the time and cost. Place your focus on what delivers you the most leads and awareness for your brand.
Why might you consider Reels as part of your monthly content mix?
Working Reels into your monthly content mix is an excellent idea if you have the bandwidth. Here are a few reasons why:
- Reels have their own tab on Instagram which delivers a very high reach and makes your Reels discoverable by new users (which means new potential customers). The content is delivered to followers and non-followers based on the past content they have engaged with which means it can help you reach new users without spending a dime on, for example, FB Ads.
- Reels can also be found in the Explore tab (magnifying glass). Same idea as above, the Reels are displayed in the Explore tab to followers and non-followers so your content can be delivered to users based on their past content interests.
- The use of Reels can help build affinity with your brand and videos are more engaging than an image.
- Using Reels can show what problems your product or service might solve. Plus, you can include more than just one simple message in a Reel as compared to a still image.
It’s very tempting to jump on the trends which definitely get you more views, but ensure you use it intelligently to access YOUR customers not just random users. The trending audio works like hashtags – when a user searches the trending audio then your video may show in the search results. The trending audio can get your brand in front of many new people, but what good are 5000 views if they’re not your customers or you’re not showing your business in a good light? So be sure when using the trending audio that you make it applicable to your business. To get the followers, you still need to have content that makes users (that is, your correct audience) come back.
Commercially Recorded Music
Also, if you are a business account, you will not have access to commercially recorded music, aka popular music. One workaround is to switch your Instagram business account to a creator’s account, BUT this is not recommended. Instagram recommends creator accounts for public figures, content creators, photographers, artists, and influencers. By switching your business account to a creator account, you may violate Instagram’s policies and find yourself without an Instagram account so probably not worth it. Instead, use artlist.io or subscribe to an upgraded Canva Pro account and use the free music available in the Pro version.
Use Closed Caption Feature or Text Overlay
It’s worth mentioning that it’s essential to get your message out in the video; the reason is that very few people are reading the caption below. The content needs to tell the story effectively with your audio or text overlay or have a good enough hook to get the viewer to read more in the caption below. Also, I would highly recommend using Instagram’s Closed Caption feature as many people still watch the video with the volume off.
Reels are a fun format and a great way to build relationships with your customers. These video posts can enable customers to know your brand and stay top of mind on their social media feeds. Before you decide to implement, take some time and check out the Reels tab on Instagram to get some inspiring ideas for your business. Below we have included: 1. a few accounts to check out that do a great job promoting their business with Reels, 2. A few tutorial videos, and 3. a few articles on Reels that may interest you.
- Reels 100: How to create a Reel in-app
- Reels 101: Basic in-app editing features
- Reels: How to make a Reel with video and images you already have on your phone
- Reels: What does it mean when someone says just stitch together your videos