By Hannah Keating
We all know how much I love TikTok – while COVID had originally made the addiction progressively worse, the one thing that is still hanging around from our long lockdown, is the 1+ hours a day spent on a never-ending scroll.
The “will it or won’t it” confusion about the app being banned in numerous countries had led to other social platforms trying to jump on the band wagon and be the ‘new’ TikTok – the most obvious one being Instagram’s new addition Reels but is it all it’s cracked up to be?
What is Instagram Reels?
It’s not reinventing the wheel at all – same premise as TikTok, 15 to 30 second video clips set to music that can be shared across an users Stories, featured in the Explore page as well as the new Reels tab. Basically, you have the IGTV tab for longer videos and Reels for quick snippets.
The introduction of a Reels tab works similarly to the explore page, instead of seeing Reels from accounts you follow only, you will see videos that are popular and from trending accounts. This allows users to be ‘discovered’ by new audiences, much like TikTok’s ‘For You Page’.
A benefit is that is provides another platform for avid TikTok users to upload their best TikTok’s, allowing a whole new audience to see them. Will Reels drive users to TikTok and vice versa? Unlikely as it simply gives another platform for users to repurpose their short form video content.
How can brands use Reels?
It has been noted over and over again that TikTok is targeted at your younger, school aged demographic and Instagram sits firmly in the 25-49-year-old age bracket. A benefit of Reels is that it allows these TikTok type videos to be seen by a completely different age demographic who have minimal interest in downloading yet another app.
Also, the more you use Reels the more the Instagram favours your content, meaning videos will end up benefit from the ever-frustrating algorithm. It is also a great way to showcase a brand’s personality and values, allowing them to craft an ‘authentic’ voice that isn’t always so easy to capture in a still image.
Brands should use Reels as an opportunity to mix it up, uploading educational videos about products as well as user generated content and easy to digest tutorials. Thanks to social media, we all have the attention spans of goldfish so short snippets are the way to go. Let’s leave the long videos to YouTube hey….
More importantly, should they?
I still believe that brands are struggling to nail TikTok so if they are looking to dip their toe into the water, Reels is a great way to do it. Reels videos can be uploaded to a user’s feed, making it look like a traditional social post. This means brands can upload a few Reels here and there, integrating them into an existing social strategy instead of the pressure of a TikTok account where videos need to be constantly uploaded leading to a mix of great videos and not so great videos because they got desperate for content.
It was also recently announced that Instagram is testing further updates to their in-app shopping features, allowing audiences to immediately shop the products used in the Reels videos.
Take that TikTok……