81% of people use Instagram for research on companies, products, and services.
With this in mind, it only makes sense to incorporate Instagram Reels into your social media strategy.
This Instagram feature allows users to create TikTok-style content on a platform where they've already established a fanbase.
If you’re new to Reels and would like to know what they are, how to create them, and why you should leverage them for your business, you may find this complete guide to Instagram Reels useful.
Read on to see how influencers and marketers can leverage Instagram's popularity to make Reels work for their businesses.
Instagram Reels ideas for social media managers
Instagram Reels ideas for all industries
5.1. Rely on straightforward communication and humor
5.2. Repurpose existing commercial videos
5.3. Give a behind-the-scenes footage
5.4. Give a sneak peek into the new purchases
5.5. Promote discounts on products
5.6. Broadcast bits of experts interviews
5.7. Share tutorials
5.8. Show a before & after video
5.9. Introduce yourself and the company
5.10. Use popular music tracks and trends
5.11. Answer frequently asked questions
5.12. Use challenges or contests
5.13. Post user’s reviews
5.14. Make checklists
5.15. Develop ”outfit of the day” Reels
5.16. Motivational videos
5.17. Make commentary videos with the Green-Screen effect
5.18. Try out seasonal videos
5.19. Get influencers’ help
5.20. Create "this or that" Reels
5.21. Show users what you love with Favorites Reels
5.22. Own the stage with Fashion Haul Reels
5.23. Make quick tip Reels
5.24. Record time-lapse Reels
5.25. Make business evolution Reels
1. Instagram Reels vs. TikTok videos
87% of Gen Z users who have used both platforms say that Instagram Reels is essentially the same as TikTok.
However, 61% of Gen Z TikTok users plan to spend more time on Reels.
So can Reels outperform TikTok? And which one is better for your brand?
While some technical similarities exist between Instagram Reels and TikTok clips, they are essentially different.
TikTok is a more experimental video-sharing service. Instagram Reels is more focused on curated aesthetics that can educate and bring value to followers.
Businesses may use TikTok to get creative and humanize their brand to increase engagement and generate excitement.
On the other hand, Instagram is more sales-oriented and offers more advertising, shopping, linking, and marketing features than TikTok does.
Moreover, Reels are also available on Instagram's Explore page, making them more discoverable.
2. Understanding Instagram’s algorithm for Reels
We have some fantastic news for small content creators, social media managers and aspiring influencers.
2022's Instagram Reels algorithm focuses on bringing forward smaller producers, giving everyone a fair shot at popularity.
Similar to Explore's algorithm, the most important criteria in the Reels algorithm is whether or not the viewer finds the content entertaining.
Reels' algorithm selects videos you'd like and ranks them based on your level of interest.
The algorithm focuses on the user's interactions with the posting account. This contains information about which reels they've recently interacted with — liked, commented on, and shared.
In addition to user involvement, the search engine considers technical aspects such as trending music, pixels, frames, and the video's popularity.
3. How to use Reels without making them sales-y
Instagram Reels are not all about memes and all that mumbo-jumbo. Marketers and social media managers can exploit this type of content to show everyone “hey, look what I’m working at”.
We all know that social media relies on hard work and networking.
Since Instagram’s latest update on 21st of July 2022, now all videos that are shorter than 15 minutes will be shared as Reels.
This way, marketers will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to create longer videos in which they can promote their products and services.
Having a wider timespan helps content creators experiment with more ideas that could take up more time and space to develop.
However, with this update, everyone hopes it’s for the better, turning Instagram into even a greater competitor for TikTok.
A thing that marketers should keep in mind while making Instagram Reels is that, besides all the creativity incorporated, Reels are supposed to be more fun, than sales-oriented.
When you showcase your products and services in an innovative way, customers and prospective clients are more likely to be impressed by their utility and will hit the “buy” button.
If you make your Reels sales-y, then they will perceive you as that sales person in a shop who is irritatingly friendly, asking how they could help you.
And you wouldn’t want that reputation, trust me. Instead, be as playful as you can with your Reels, add filters, but keep it human.
In the end, customers will want to see how your products or services contribute to changing their life.
Also Kayla Koons, a social media manager, came up with a useful tip. In an interview for Planable, she said that when users see a face in the first 3 seconds of the video, chances are your watch rate will increase.
Mike Blake-Crawford, Social Marketing Consultant, told us in our latest webinar that Reels are better if you use an intriguing title and you offer bite-size information in your video. You can end your Instagram Reels on a friendly, humorous note.
4. What you need to know about Instagram Reels' length
Industry reports from Q2 2022 show that, on Instagram, for most industries, the most engaging type of content consists of Reels.
Now that we got a taste of what kind of content you should use for your IG Reels to make them more engaging, let’s see how a viral Insta Reel looks like.
There is a certain pattern you need to follow to make sure your Instagram video content fits the algorithm and the social media platform pushes it into more users’ timelines.
When it comes to Instagram Reels’ length, the appropriate video needs to be 90 seconds.
The Instagram Reels time limit is actually 15 minutes, due to the new update. However, to make it efficient for your followers’ attention span, you should post shorter videos.
Your Insta Reels format should be either .mov or MP4 to make sure it suits any screen.
The Instagram Reels ratio should be similar to your stories’ size.
You have three options:
- 1080 pixels x 1920 pixels
- vertically full screen
However, when it comes to in-feed ratio, you need to keep score of new measurements:
- 1080 X 1350 pixels
- portrait style
Another important aspect to keep in mind when creating catchy Instagram Reels is to always pay attention to in-feed crop. When you post it, your Insta video content will be cropped.
That is why, you should crop your Reel beforehand, by cutting 15% of its top and then 15% of the video’s bottom.
All these numbers will help you get the right Instagram Reels length, following a template that is bound to make your content trending.
5. Instagram Reels ideas for all industries
Reels have become an essential part of any social media strategy.
But what exactly should you be putting up on Reels?
Fortunately, there are loads of fantastic videos from which to learn and be inspired.
To get you started, check out these 10 brands below and see how they leverage Instagram Reels to generate great content.
5.1 Rely on straightforward communication and humor
Thanks to its witty talking airplane, RyanAir's Instagram account has swiftly gained popularity.
With almost a million followers and tens of thousands of views, RyanAir's Reels strategy relies on straightforward communication and humor.
Europe’s largest airline uses popular music tracks and trends to spread the word about its inexpensive fares and make fun of relatable passenger situations.
In the captions, RyanAir also uses a few catchy words, emojis, and the branded #ryanair hashtag.
We're not suggesting replicating RyanAir's Reels and applying @masha__mood’s Talking Pictures effect to your products, but it is an excellent example of how to humanize your brand.
5.2 Repurpose existing commercial videos
The primary goal of Instagram is to share and discover the greatest photographs and videos.
This is why you don’t necessarily have to make a new video every time you post a Reel on Instagram.
Car brands such as BMW and Mini repurpose their existing commercial videos and convert them into Reels.
You may take test drives or show off the car's design, features, and updates with Reels. To attract the user's interest, remember to use effects and trending soundtracks.
5.3 Give a behind-the-scenes footage
Budweiser uses Reels to promote their Tomorrow is #YoursToTake campaign.
The American pale lager producer reveals fragments from their commercials and behind-the-scenes footage.
Giving your fans first-hand access to your creative process is a simple and effective method to keep them engaged and committed.
5.4 Give a sneak peek into the new purchases
During lockdown, fashion continued to thrive, with trends ranging from tie-dye to Zara hauls.
Haul videos are videos in which people show off their new purchases to the rest of the world.
Interestingly, haul videos still draw millions of views on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
In fact, some influencers even made a career out of it, collecting expensive brand sponsorships.
Fashion digital creator @yasmindevonport_ uses Reels to show her latest purchases and style different outfits. She also discloses the shopping code for the items she buys so viewers can find them easier.
5.5 Promote discounts on products
Chipotle is a well-established FMCG food brand on social media, having incorporated memes into its social strategy since mid-2018 and including influencer partnerships with YouTuber David Dobrik in 2019.
Chipotle uses Reels to promote discounts on products, menu updates, and quirky recipes. The Mexican food chain also shares snippets from Roblox to show what a day in the life of a Chipotle employee looks like.
Chipotle’s content shows that using Reels can help you develop an online personality and create funny content.
Thus, FMCG food brands can use Instargam’s feature to overcome the standard corporate B2C marketing strategy.
And, if you’d like to back up your marketing strategy, check out our free social media benchmark reports and see how your industry is performing online.
5.6 Broadcast bits of experts interviews
People Magazine uses Instagram Reels to broadcast bits of celebrity interviews, spark debate, and keep followers up to date on the hottest headlines.
If you can't rely on interviews for your Reels strategy, there are other options available to you as a publishing company.
You could, for example, develop a news timeline with short Reels displaying a weekly top three recent trends in your sector.
Another option is to make a resume from one of the most recent blog pieces on your website. In this scenario, ensure the material you're advertising is evergreen and will continue to be relevant over time (example: top 3 tips for sleeping better).
5.7 Share tutorials
Beauty brands can use Reels in many creative ways.
Fenty Beauty uses Reels to share tutorials, before & after videos, make-up hacks, and product launches.
Fenty Beauty's focus on diversity helped it gain over a million Instagram followers in just a few days since launching 40 distinct colors of foundation.
Beauty brands can share social proof such as reviews and testimonials to highlight products and results. They can also work with influencers who already have an engaged community to increase followings and enhance interaction.
5.8 Show a before & after video
As more people buy from home, sales of home products, especially furniture, have increased by 30%.
This is why it is particularly important for home & living brands to leverage all available features to make a successful social media marketing strategy.
Home Depot leverages the Instagram feature to inspire its followers and offers tips and suggestions on how to decorate their home.
Following Home Depot's lead, you can adapt similar content to fit your brand and offer quick and easy advice on how to turn one's house into a home.
You can also show a before & after video of your home project — how it started and how it looks now. You can use a time lapse setting to record yourself working on something from the planning stages to the final end product.
5.9 Introduce yourself and the company
Smoothie brand Innocent has established themselves as social media superstars over the last few years.
Innocent uses Reels to show potential and actual customers a closer look at the company.
Innocent's employees take viewers on a journey with them, allowing them to get to know the team.
In terms of branding, Innocent maintains its bright colors, friendly tone, and playful aesthetic in Reels.
Remember that your team's daily routine is a wealth of fantastic marketing ideas and anecdotes in your firm. People want to interact with the companies they care about.
Give your followers an exclusive look at how your business works and make them feel like they're a member of your team.
5.10 Use popular music tracks and trends
Travel brands rely heavily on Reels.
Regional brand @secret.london combines trending audio with short, shareable, engaging video clips to provide value to London residents and visitors.
Instead of still photos, showing accommodations or restaurants you discover via Reels can pique viewers' curiosity and increase engagement.
Travel Reels are really simple to make. Simply watching influencers navigate around attractions is self-explanatory and entertaining!
5.11 Answer frequently asked questions
If you get DMs with a lot of questions from your followers, maybe it’s time you group those questions into categories and make some Instagram Reels to answer.
People may wanna know more about your products, brand or evolution, having different types of questions. Put together those questions, make screenshots, use them into your Reels and answer their curiosities.
5.12 Use challenges or contests
Plan a contest or a challenge using a hashtag of your own. It may include your brand’s name or the name of the challenge.
Stella Artois has developed a challenge where they ask people to cook and pair their foods with the famous beer.
Choose three winning Reels that follow the rules and then post them in your Instagram feed. This is a useful type of Instagram user-generated content.
5.13 Post user’s reviews
Another type of Instagram user-generated content is users’ reviews. When a client sends you videos in which they are using your products, it’s high time you brag about this.
Fenty Beauty posts a lot of user's reviews in their Reels section, showing their audience that the products they make are suitable for everybody.
As long as your customers are happy, you are happy. So making up an Instagram Reel using their videos could help you not only promote your business, but also show the world that people are satisfied with your services
5.14 Make checklists
Walk your Instagram audience through a process. Your checklist can be about anything as long as your video includes a step-by-step guide with a checklist to accomplish.
Something like your daily to-do list as a social media manager, developing a new section on your blog or “what to pack for your summer vacation” will surely be in handy. It doesn’t matter what your industry is as long as you use catchy Instagram Reels.
5.15 Develop ”outfit of the day” Reels
Instagram Reels where you show your daily outfit can clearly attract fashion, style and design lovers.
Even if you are a social media manager or Louis Vuitton’s CEO, you can always post about your passion for dressing-up and tag your favorite brands.
For example, you can show your Instagram audience your #ootd when you leave for the office and you will see the video views increasing.
5.16 Motivational videos
Use some of the most inspirational quotes from popular people who have already become viral and make up an Instagram Reel that could rock even Ghandi’s world.
This adidas campaign is meant to encourage every woman feel confident and beautiful, no matter the shape of their body. When people identify with the story you share, they are more likely to become your customers.
It will be more useful if you add a snippet to your video that illustrates your hard work and your team’s determination to turn your brand into a successful one. This type of content will definitely not fain you.
5.17 Make commentary videos with the Green-Screen effect
Experimenting with the Green-Screen effect is just one way of becoming creative out of many more trending Reels ideas.
You can use a screenshot from a conversation with a follower or one illustrating your blogpost. Set this image as a Green-Screen and record yourself as you comment upon it, like me colleague at Socialinsider did with our latest studies.
Those who are already familiar with TikTok know about this Green-Screen effect since it has all started from there.
5.18 Try out seasonal videos
It really doesn’t matter what you’re selling as long as you are anchored in the present.
Regardless of the services or products your company develops and sells, you need to show your customers and prospective customers that your social media posts are in line with the times you’re living.
Post a christmassy Instagram Reel when the time comes, but not before you make a Halloween Reel with all your employees’ costumes and their Pumpkin’ Spiced Lattes.
This Starbucks fall campaign with limited-edition drinks (which I love, btw) is really inspiring for other brands as well.
5.19 Get influencers’ help
Influencers in your industry who have bigger Instagram communities can always become helpful if they talk about your brand in their Reels.
Getting influencers to mention your brand’s services and products in their Instagram Reels can definitely lead to an increase of your Instagram community and brand awareness.
5.20 Create "this or that" Reels
Another Instagram Reels idea is "this or that" Reels. They are a playful way to showcase your products or services.
Through these videos you can tell viewers what would you choose between two types of service or products your brand produces.
5.21 Show users what you love with Favorites Reels
If you want to display your favorite products from your brand, favorite fashion items or makeup products, use Reels to display how you use those products and what’s the final look. The way you record the Reels will say a lot about your brand.
Try to be friendly and real, without editing your material too much. Followers will feel it’s about themselves if they see your human part.
This instagramer made an inspiring Reel about her Amazon favorites that perfectly fit in het travel bag.
This is one of those Instagram Reels ideas that will make your followers connect with you, being able to resonate with what you do.
5.22 Own the stage with Fashion Haul Reels
Fashion hauls are among influencers’ favorite type of Reels to develop since they can put at work their creativity even more when styling your brand’s products.
Fashion hauls in which your brand gets tagged can boost your Instagram performance.
This influencer seems like she owns her style in a few Zara outfits. She's really gave us Fashion Week vibes.
5.23 Make quick tip Reels
Show your audience an innovative way in which they can use your products. A quick “how to” Reel can help clients become more efficient when using your brand’s products.
Maybe you can use a new folding method to show users how to pack their clothes efficiently for their holiday.
If you are obsessed with ordering stuff and cleaning, then this kind of Instagram Reels is surely your type.
However, if you have a new cooking tip for the most delicious pizza, maybe you can share it with everyone in a new Reel.
5.24 Record time-lapse Reels
This trending Instagram Reels can help you showcase different types of content.
You can place your phone or camera on a tripod and record a “slice of life” type of video for a few hours.
Another way to use time-lapse videos is by recording how you put on make-up, advertising a certain brand of cosmetics.
If you have a travel account, you can record a time-lapse with an amazing scenery from your latest vacation.
5.25 Make business evolution Reels
Show your followers how your business evolved (for instance, as number of employees and working space) from the first day you’ve started to present day.
This way, users will get the familiarity trigger activated again and they will feel more connected to your brand.
However, a funny Reel about "expectations vs. reality" is more than useful when talking about your workplace.
Reels give brands a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own their niches and become thought leaders among their target audience. Social media managers can use Instagram Reels to their best potential to step up their marketing game.