2020… what a year! We’ve battled through a global pandemic (and still going), the ever growing and evolving TikTok (the app that kept us all sane through lockdown) saw a potential ban in the US and Instagram announced its big launch of Instagram Reels in an attempt to compete with it. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Instagram has introduced yet another feature inspired by another social media platform. We’ve seen it happen with Twitter, Snapchat and now TikTok...

 

So, what is Instagram Reels?

 

Instagram Reels is a new feature that gives anyone the power to create entertaining short-form videos within the platform. As with TikTok, users can record or upload already pre-existing videos  and edit these for up to 15 seconds with the already available AR filters and music. Currently, Reels only operates with video but I’m sure we’ll be able to upload images in due course. To top that off, rumours have it that a Reels ‘explore feed’ is in the works , similar to the #ForYouPage on TikTok, plus talks of integrating a Reels button onto the main Instagram navigation bar for easy access.

 

The launch of Reels has sparked plenty of conversations around how brands can and should use the new tool. So far, we’ve seen a lot of brands repurpose their TikTok content and upload it onto Reels or create similar content across both Instagram Stories and Reels; neither are best practice. What you should be doing is considering Reels as another stream of content that fits within your social strategy which requires original creative. You can’t just re-post your feed content and get away with it… 

 

Although Reels is still the new kid on the block, some brands are already getting their teeth stuck in. Nike launched a series of Reels through brand partnerships with relevant influencers. The content itself has been hosted across creator profiles which shows that you don’t always have to feature Reels on the brand’s profile to generate impact. Not only is this partnership cutting the cost of creating a Reel from scratch, but it also increases brand exposure as it’s being seen by a wider audience. Partnering up with influencers and content creators can be a great way for brands to get involved with Reels… aside from brand-owned content of course! 

 

Instagram Reels

 

Louis Vuitton has also smashed the Reels game. Rather than repurpose their TikTok content, the brand has developed a new approach to Reels and created a series of high fashion UGC (User Generated Content) style videos with simple animations to showcase their new collection. This is definitely a great way for the brand to distinguish their content formats whilst still keeping their high look and feel.

 

Instagram Reels

 

And it’s not just brands taking the plunge; regular platform users and influencers have also been taking advantage of the new feature, with some also transferring their TikTok content onto Reels. It seems that fashion and travel influencers in particular have found a way to create curated and styled content that they normally wouldn’t be able to share on TikTok based on the platform's approach of rough and ready content; Reels will definitely create a place for highly curated and stylised content in comparison to TikTok.

 

The question is… are Reels worth it? Or should you stick with TikTok? My advice; there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach and whilst some platforms might work well for one brand, they might not fit another. It all comes down to the brand’s objectives, target audience and, most importantly, content strategy. However, both platforms should be seen as an exciting opportunity to experiment, share and create different content to that of your feed and Stories. Have fun with it!