Instagram Reels: how do they compare to TikTok and should you use them?

TikTok has increased in popularity in recent months. The surge in the app’s growth was fueled by quarantine boredom, as many found themselves with extra time on their hands and nowhere to go.  The spring and summer were filled with celebrity TikTok challenges and many companies created targeted videos that were shared across multiple platforms and beyond. Those seeking to reach Generation Z have experienced quick and consistent success by including this space in their marketing efforts.  And while gains may be more in the realm of brand awareness instead of actual conversion, TikTok presence has generally been considered a win for those who have explored the platform’s possibilities.

But recently, Instagram launched Reels, a robust competitor to TikTok which is quickly adapting already having rolled out new changes after early review. The in-app feature offers users a new way to record 30-second video clips set to music with the ability to trim and delete clips. There are early predictors that indicate Reels could outpace TikTok in the not-too-distant future.  Since Reels is an in-app feature of Instagram, those with an established Instagram audience can benefit from an established and stable following in a known app when exploring Reels, instead of diving into a new app with many unknowns. Although Reels uses quick 10-30 second videos instead of TikTok’s one-minute offerings, the benefits of nurturing a recognized community of followers instead of trying to build a following in a new space may help drive Reels’ success. For this reason alone, Instagram Reels might be the next tool you should consider adding to your company marketing strategy.

Intended users of both Reels and TikTok are most likely to be age 13 to 24, and studies show this group has been moving away from TikTok in recent weeks. Without requiring navigation to a separate app, Reels allows users to share them to their Instagram Stories, and the platform created a feature tab for Reels to be easily viewed. When new features are introduced to Instagram you can also count on changes being made to the home feed user navigation experience. With the 2.0 update to Reels, Instagram is now testing three versions of the home screen that add shortcuts for the Reels as well as Shop tabs. While the Reels algorithm isn’t fully understood yet, it seems similar to the TikTok “For You” page, which is impacted by those you already follow, what content you interact with, and where you’re located. For businesses seeking to market to Instagram followers, this is priceless.  An additional in-app tool allows marketing of messages to current followers and those interested in certain content in a bold, dynamic new way.

Even though it is still in its infancy, Instagram Reels is proving to be a space where brands can make waves. How can you develop content that resonates with your audiences? Remember:

Authenticity: This is the time to be real.  Showcase your employees, the behind-the-scenes at your company, some less-than-perfect moments, glimpses of your corporate culture, and the nitty gritty of what makes you who you are.  Tell people why you do what you do. Look for new, succinct and poignant ways to tell your story…in 30 seconds or less.

Education: Using Reels doesn’t mean you have to be all about making a sale. Share educational tips that will enhance, edify and inform your audiences.  How-to videos, how-we-did-it snips and other short features will have your audience coming back again and again for this useful information.

Products: Of course, Reels can be used to showcase your products in distinctive and dramatic ways.  A quick glance at Reels videos shows product highlights of everything from designer shoes to distinctive fountain pens.  Reels offers ample opportunity limited only by the scope of your imagination.

Now more than ever, it is important to create authentic content to engage your audience. By providing a carefully-curated blend of content that shows your business persona, strengthens your community of followers, educates on a variety of topics and showcases what you offer and why you do what you do, Reels can be a powerful creative experience used to inspire audience behavior.

The social media landscape is constantly changing. New tools and best practices can be hard to keep up with day to day. How can you be sure that you’re utilizing the best platforms to reach your target audiences? Working with a team of social media experts and marketing consultants to not only help you select the right social media tools for your business, but to also help you use your messaging to its fullest.  These experienced specialists know the best ways to harness the power of a variety of dynamic social media tools that will help you reach your customers, and these experts can help you craft key messages with an on-brand voice for the best platforms that prompt desired actions. Are you reading to take your social media presence to the next level? Contact Wild Coffee Marketing today to learn more.  Think outside the box with Wild Coffee.  We love helping companies grow better.

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