What will we see in this post
As of the writing of this post, Instagram Reels is still in beta version in a handful of countries.
The unofficial news is that it should be released in the USA and other countries in August.
Check out everything you need to know about this new Instagram tool, get the inside scope on the beta version in Brazil, and find out 5 reasons you need to be getting ready for it now!
What is Reels?
Reels is Instagram’s response to the social media phenomenon known as TikTok.
In the same spirit that Instagram implemented Stories to step into Snapchat’s world of video sharing, the beta version of Reels purposefully feels identical to the Chinese app.
Videos are 15 seconds long, usually set to music, and with the swipe of a finger, viewers can skip ahead to the next bit of entertainment.
As you can see in the images, the capturing mode of both Reels and TikTok is very similar. They both give you the options to play with the video speed, add audio or sounds, effects, and the option to upload an already prepared video from your library.
Key differences would be Reels current lack of options in the effects category in comparison to TikTok and the absence of easy to use templates.
Instagram does offer different layouts and options intended for Stories, but for now, Reels users will have to use workarounds like Canva to get templates intended for the format and that look as good as TikTok’s.
Why Reels is NOT TikTok
Before you write Reels off as a TikTok knockoff intended for kids, read this post till the end!
Stories on Instagram have grown into their own identity, and we can expect Reels to do the same.
Although the user interface might be identical and viewers will expect TikTok-like content at least in the beginning, the similarities end there.
The potential power of Reels runs much deeper. Reels is not a standalone app, and Instagram has no intention of it being used that way.
Reels is now part of the Instagram family along with your Feed, , and Stories. Time will tell how big a role it will play among the other functions of the app, but for the rest of this post we will be looking at 5 ways you, your audience, and Instagram could benefit greatly with the upcoming release, so stick with us!
1. It’s a perfect fit
Social media apps have fallen into their categories over the years. Twitter is more for political debate and sharing tidbits via text. LinkedIn is for business. Pinterest is for DIY inspiration.
And Instagram is the happier and more visually driven app that Facebook used to be and perfect for mobile. So, when TikTok came along with carefree, 15-second videos, Instagram had the most to lose.
Instagram users tend to want to have some lighthearted fun that they can take in and share on the go. For content creators using Instagram, Reels will fit in perfectly as another option to express themselves and talk to their audience.
Your followers can view your Reels right in your Feed (if you choose to upload to both) and will have a chance to see you or your brand in a new way that flows right along with the visual content of still photos or longer videos.
Some users who haven’t been using TikTok might struggle to see how these 15-second videos are different from Stories. But this possible misunderstanding or misuse could be a major strength.
Since Reels is so connected to the other members of the Instagram toolkit, we could see it evolve into something significantly different. Which brings us to our next point…
2. Get Creative! This is Your Chance to Mold Reels
Yes, in the beginning, the expectation for viewers and creators will be TikTok material. In fact, most of the videos were just those made for TikTok and reposted on Reels. But in Brazil, we are already starting to see content creators starting to get creative with it. Reels could be short teasers, a way to show a different side of your brand or creativity with videos that are more produced than Stories but only 15 seconds long, and a fantastic way to fill out the image you project on Instagram.
The important thing here is that you get creative early. There will be a whole audience of Instagram faithful using Reels that never really got into TikTok. With these folks, the sky’s the limit for something new, that and 15 seconds.
3. Instagram Ads + Reels = Amazing Reach
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the potential of 15 seconds of visual stimulation put to music for advertising.
Many find the ads in Stories to be a bit out of place in the sense that it breaks the stream of familiar faces, voices, and homemade content. But the expectation for Reels is to see creative content that fits your niche in an eye-catching way and from lots of people you don’t know or even follow.
Well made ads that fit the format and flow of entertainment will definitely be embraced.
Instagram Ads is continuously evolving to pinpoint the correct audience for the product and ad. Where they might have errored with Facebook early on, Instagram seems to be pretty accurate with their paid traffic. With some creative ad creation, this could grow into an amazing way to reach a wider audience.
Since Reels is the new kid on an older block, there are a ton of Instagram hashtags with huge followings that have no Reels associated with them. Take a look at these three hashtags that all have more than one million posts. None of them have Reels!
This is your opportunity to sneak in before the crowds and have your Reel get a lot of attention. Make sure to create content early on that will fit all the hashtags that go with your image or brand.
5. Make the Instagram Algorithm Happy
One thing is for sure in Brazil right now, the Instagram algorithm is showing a lot of love to those who use Reels, especially when the Reel is posted in your Feed.
Those who know a little about the algorithms know that not everyone who follows you sees your content.
In Brazil, if you post a photo to your feed right now, it will be seen by a percentage of your followers. If you post a Reel only to the Reels section, it might get found. But if you post a Reel to your Feed, the Instagram algorithm will guide your Reel to a lot of likes and push your content as recommended to potential followers.
Did you notice something in the photo above?
When a hashtag search on Instagram has a Reel, it is the first thing to appear. Instagram is doing everything it can to promote its new tool, whether it’s making sure your Reel post gets more eyeballs on it or giving Reels the pole position in searches.
BONUS: Your Checklist to Get Ready for Reels
With these 5 reasons in mind, I hope you’re starting to see the opportunity that Reels could offer you to grow your audience.
Just to make sure you’re thinking in the right direction, here is a checklist to help you get ready for the big day when Reels arrive.
- Start creating videos in Reels format:15-second vertical videos
- Make sure this content fits in with your current Feed content since you’ll want to post it there too.
- Have your major hashtags planned out and be ready to post Reels with hashtags that currently don’t have content in this format yet.
- Have ads that fit the Reels style ready to go if paid traffic is part of your strategy.
- BE CREATIVE! Reels don’t have to be TikTok videos. Take this opportunity to mold the perspective of new users for what a Reel video should be.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be more than ready to grow your audience when Reels touch down in your country.
Oh, and if Instagram is your social media of preference, you’ll definitely want to check out this post about Instagram automation.