Most online businesses already have a social media presence to promote their products. Many of them are present on more than one platform. The most popular include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, reaching billions of people between them.
Instagram, in particular, is the preferred visual marketing channel for online brands. It currently has more than one billion active users per month, with Instagram content producing higher rates of engagement than Facebook posts. According to a 2021 study, the median rate of engagement across all industries for Facebook is 0.08%, compared to 0.98% for Instagram.
Instagram users are constantly demanding fresh new content delivery methods. With the emergence of competitors such as TikTok, the platform has adapted with Instagram Reels.
This feature has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for social media marketers. But before we learn how to use Reels to promote your product, we need to know what sets it apart from other forms of Instagram content and why you need to incorporate it into your social marketing strategy.
In 2020, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the world. The app was praised for its For You feature, which suggests videos for users based on what they’ve previously watched, and for its easy-to-use video editing tool, which allows users to take audio from other users’ videos. TikTok spawned a community of avid fans who collaborate with other users on content, and making the TikTok algorithm work for their campaign has been a focus for marketers.
While TikTok’s user base isn’t quite as large as Instagram’s, the latter recognized the very real competition and in August 2020 rolled out Instagram Reels to the US and about 50 other countries. Reels offers many of TikTok’s features, including the ability to take audio from Instagram’s music library, filters and effects, and speed manipulation. Users can also use their own audio, including speech or original music. If a creator’s account is set to public, their reel will be shared to users’ Explore tabs.
This new feature gives brands and influencers a variety of marketing options that help them tap into younger demographics. According to the Pew Research Center, 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Instagram, along with 47% of 30- to 49-year-olds.
Instagram video content also encourages 49% more engagement than static images. Users often binge-watch reels, which means that the new feature can help a lot in promoting your product to a younger audience with higher disposable income. In other words, if you have products to sell online, you need to pay attention to Reels.
Before you start making videos, you need to understand why video should play a major role in your content marketing strategy and how you can get the most out of it. Here are some ways you can market your product using Reels:
When used correctly, video marketing improves website traffic, increases the time users spend on your channels, and boosts lead and sales generation. It achieves these goals by giving your customers more information about your product and demonstrating its value.
What type of video content do users prefer? A report from Wibbitz finds:
Video is also the top way to boost Instagram post engagements. One study found the average number of comments on Instagram videos was more than double the average for images:
When you publish your reel, you need to consider multiple factors and use different methods to get it noticed by users. For example, you need to know the best times to post on Instagram for maximum exposure. You can also add stickers and hashtags, tag your top fans, or add a call to action. Most reels are under 30 seconds long, so there’s no need to worry about advanced video production techniques and large budgets.
You can use Reels for specific primary marketing purposes, such as resolving possible problems in advance and exchanging useful data to help consumers make a purchase decision.
You can also share creative ways of using your product or new ways of getting the best results from the service you provide. For example, Instagram influencer @thevisionpreneur uses Reels to educate their followers about boosting Instagram engagement and increasing views.
The use of Reels isn’t just confined to influencers. Many companies and startups are utilizing this new feature to generate brand recognition. Netflix and Red Bull are just two of the largest brands that are using Reels to promote their products.
One of the most successful ways to increase brand awareness, especially for small and mid-size businesses, is to partner with Instagram influencers.
These influencers have thousands or even millions of followers, and if you can get them to collaborate with your brand or endorse your products, their followers are likely to give your brand a try.
For example, fashion retailer ASOS collaborated with influencers Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos, who have more than one million combined followers. To promote the company’s #StyleNotSize campaign, the two influencers appeared in a reel where they wore ASOS products, showing that the brand’s clothing is for people of any size.
This collaboration was an example of a brand using the same content on both TikTok and Reels, something that many brands have been doing as they figure out which platform will work best long term.
When you work with influencers, always discuss your social media style guide with them ahead of time. This will ensure that the content they produce is consistent with your branding and messaging while giving them the freedom to follow their own style as well. Remember: they know their audience best.
If you want to find fresh new ideas for content while building brand loyalty, user-generated content (UGC) will help you get there.
When you feature content from your followers, you are putting them in the spotlight and letting them tell your story for you. In fact, with UGC, you’re not just selling to your followers. You are letting them sell your brand for you!
Why is UGC so effective? Just like influencer marketing, UGC appeals to your customers’ desire to hear from people who have actually used your products. While the stats vary according to the study, it’s clear that UGC is effective. Users tend to perceive content from their fellow users as more honest and less prone to bias.
A nice example is from #getreadywithtea. Dominique and Dominic have a partnership with Adobe Video Premiere Rush. The couple has created a series of engaging video tutorials where they showcase what you can do with Premiere Rush, before taking the viewers behind the scenes on how to create those effects. They also set challenges for their viewers to make the content engaging.
Consumers care about a business’s practices and enjoy getting a glimpse of how their products get to them. Posting behind-the-scenes reels will give your followers a glimpse into your design and manufacturing process and the inspiration behind your products.
Aside from showing how you make your products, you can also feature your team and let them tell their stories, such as what they do, how they found their way to your business, and what they do for fun outside of work.
CRM software Dubsado is known for the welcome packets that it sends to each new customer who signs up. In one reel, the brand featured the team that designs, prints, and delivers the welcome packets. This gives followers the impression that Dubsado doesn’t just sell software – it sells an entire experience.
Your followers often love to see how you go about your day. Using Reels to show how you provide your services or create your products will add a human dimension to your business and make you more credible in the eyes of your customers.
Reels are being used by both big and small brands who are interested in its potential to change the video marketing game. Reels allow brands to collaborate with influencers and users to produce content that’s fun and easy to consume while also speaking to their audiences’ interests and concerns. If you haven’t created a marketing strategy for Instagram Reels, now is the best time to do it. If you need help creating your plan, contact Socialbakers to help ensure your Reels campaign is a success!
Jimmy Rodriguez is the COO of Shift4Shop, a completely free, enterprise-grade ecommerce solution. He’s dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.