With the increasing popularity of Reels (particularly on Instagram), small businesses should take note as part of your social media marketing strategy.
Reels is a feature where users can create and share fun, short videos using a catalog of music and other media. More specifically, they are 15-second, multi-clip videos that can have sound, music and other effects added to them.
If you’re familiar with TikTok videos, then you’re familiar with the capabilities of Reels.
About 61 percent of Generation Z TikTok users are leaning toward using Instagram Reels.
Find out more about Reels and three reasons why you should consider using them.
Of course, any success with Reels doesn’t just happen. The following are seven best practices for small businesses using Reels on either Instagram or Facebook.
Best practice #1: Highlight brand individuality
Reels is all about unique content with a thoughtful storyline. In other words, it’s a blank slate for out-of-the-box creativity.
However, if you’re struggling to brainstorm ideas that you can take to the next level (creatively speaking), consider:
- Sharing company culture
- Announcing new product launches or offers
- Creating how-to tutorials
- Displaying your product or service in an attention-grabbing way
- Revealing insider tips and tricks
- Repurposing past content that has performed well
- Showing what happens behind the scenes
- Highlighting before-and-after moments
Experiment with hashtags, text and captions. Research what is trending and what your competition is doing. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, whether that with the use of camera angels, audio, etc.
Just be wary of hard-selling too much. Viewers won’t have an appetite for it, and over time, you’ll struggle to build your reach and engagement on Reels.
Best practice #2: Think vertical and consider file size
Like Stories, Reels content is vertical. This might not be a big stretch for content creation if you’re already creating content for Stories, TikTok and/or Snapchat.
But it can be an adjustment if you haven’t stepped into those other features and/or platforms yet.
As far as file size for Reels, it’s not a huge concern if you’re creating your content within the platform (either Instagram or Facebook). However, if you plan on importing any cllips for your Reels video, keep these characteristics in mind:
- The recommended Reels size is 1080 by 1920 pixels.
- The recomended aspect ratio for Reels is 9:16.
If the size is not accurate, you could end up with an awkwardly cropped Reels clip.
Best practice #3: Balance authenticity with quality
Reels allows for fun, authentic content, but on the flip side, you still want to balance that with well-produced clips.
Take the time to plan, execute and edit your Reels video clips so that you can walk that line and hit that balance every time to best engage with your target audience. Choosing the right audio is a big piece, so don’t rush the creation process.
We recommend using a visual storyboard process to plan your Reels clip frame by frame. But truly, practice makes perfect. Keep experimenting and creating.
Best practice #4: Avoid watermarks
It’s probably not a surprise that since Facebook is aiming to compete with TikTok by implementing Reels, your content will not be as successful if it has another platform’s watermark on it.
For example, if you create a TikTok video on that platform and then save it to upload it to Instagram Reels, there will be a TikTok watermark in the corner of that uploaded clip.
To avoid this, you’ll want to create original content within Instagram or Facebook Reels so that it can play nice with those platforms’ algorithms.
Best practice #5: Add a custom Reels thumbnail
By creating a custom Reels cover, you are taking the power of your content into your own hands. The cover is the first image users see when they come across your Reels video clip.
Make sure that you design an image that is not only eye-catching but also true to the content users will see by watching your clip.
You can add the cover by clicking on “Cover” after creating your Reels clip. You can then add the image from your gallery.
Best practice #6: Optimize the sharing of your Reels
Once created, Instagram specifically allows you to share the video clip to the Reels tab, where your followers can then access it easily on your profile.
Be sure to share your Reels clip to your feed as well so that it’ll show on your main profile view alongside your other feed posts. You can also save it and share it at a more optimized time for your audience. While various “best time to post” articles exist online, the key is to think about your target audience’s time zone and when they’ll likely be engaging with your content.
- When they wake up?
- During lunch?
- Toward the end of the traditional workday?
- After dinner?
- Before bed?
From there, experiment with timing to get the best sense for your brand account since every brand is unique with a different audience.
With a public Instagram business account (rather than a private personal account), your Reels clip could be picked up and suggested to users at large in Instagram’s main discovery Reels tab.
Learn more about the difference between personal, creator and business accounts on Instagram.
Best practice #7: Monitor your Reels performance
Just like with any other feature or even platform, tracking your metrics is critical to understanding what works best for your target audience and what isn’t working at all.
You’ll be able to view reach, likes, saves, shares, comments and plays. Keep in mind that the number of plays can be higher than your reach since users can watch a Reels clip more than once.
Your Reels analytics are located within Instagram Insights on the Instagram app, which is only available for business accounts.
Reels analytics for Facebook pages appear to be in the works as of 2021.
Still embracing TikTok? See our 15 tips to better market your brand on the video platform.
As you’re looking into expanding into Reels, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.