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The reel deal: A quick guide to Instagram Reels.

Social & Mobile • Written by Sophie Breheny - Client Director, AU & NZ

This week Facebook launched Instagram Reels, a new format they’re describing as “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram”.

Reels allows users to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos using visual effects and creative tools. Users can share Reels with their followers on their feed, and if they have a public account, offers anyone the chance to become “insta-famous” by reaching audiences on a global stage through a new space in Explore.

For a breakdown on how to use Reels, have a read of the step-by-step process from Instagram here.

It is no secret that Reels is Facebook’s response to the global phenomenon that is TikTok. Launching after TikTok’s ban in India, scrutiny in the US and elsewhere worldwide, Facebook has watched this play unfold from the sidelines and is now very much back in the game.

Most marketers are probably thinking, so what does this mean for me and my brand? Here are a few things to consider.

  1. Reels is a great tactic for Facebook to keep their audience on Instagram, rather than users jumping from one network to another. This provides Facebook with greater advertising power, creating a “one stop shop” for consumer engagement.
  2. Whilst at the moment Facebook hasn’t revealed the advertising opportunities for brands in Reels, there’s no doubt that in the same way that Stories evolved into a solid advertising channel, Reels will too.
  3. From a content perspective, Reels provides an opportunity for brands to once again try something new and get creative. The new video features are a welcome addition to Stories, Live and IGTV. Some brands have bolted straight out of the gate and are nailing Reels content, clocking up thousands or in some cases millions of organic views. Here’s a wrap up of some brands who’s marketing departments are no doubt high fiving each other over Zoom as I type.
  4. Having said that, as with TikTok, Reels may not be the right fit for every brand’s tone and style. Brands should be wary of jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of it, so before posting a Reel of your CEO bopping to the new Taylor Swift track, marketers should have a solid think about whether this channel is right for their brand positioning.
  5. It’s worth remembering also that the change in format will lead to a change in ratios and content creation as well. For a quick, easy to follow guide to Reels content creation check out Andrew Morreys’ article here.

Time will tell how the Reels story unfolds. I for one will be watching with interest, perhaps not participating, but definitely seeing how it plays out. Now I just need to figure out how I get my CEO to learn the words to Cardigan

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