TikTok has seen explosive growth over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, by the end of 2022, TikTok is expected to reach 1.5 billion monthly active users.
But there’s another big player in the short video game — Instagram Reels, launched in 2020 to give Instagrammers a space to post short “snacks” that echo what you see on TikTok content.
We’ve already discussed the TikTok vs Instagram Reels debate, so I won’t discuss it here.
Instead, I spoke with Kar Brulhart, an Instagram influencer and consultant who has grown her Instagram account from 0 to over 45,000 viewers and gained over six in less than 10 months using Reels Number of incomes – all of which are organic.
Here, we’ll cover Brulhart’s tips on how brands can use Instagram Reels to reach new audiences and acquire new customers.
But first – why does Instagram beat TikTok?
Benefits of Instagram Reels
“A lot of brands think they need to have a voice and a presence on multiple platforms, but it’s more important to be great on one or two and have a voice, a message and a community there,” Kar Brulhart told me .
She added: “We forget that these platforms are about Community, we have to nurture our audience to get results. “
Brulhart told me she decided to put all her eggs in the Instagram basket because she ultimately found the platform to be more user-friendly and offered business owners more features and benefits than TikTok.
It makes sense: Instagram is owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), which provides users with a wide range of advertising tools and opportunities. While TikTok is trying to offer the same robust advertising capabilities, it’s ultimately still in the early stages and has a long way to go.
Brulhart does acknowledge that TikTok has its advantages: it can be a great way to increase brand awareness and drive audiences to your website or Instagram, build brand partnerships, and it can help entrepreneurs and brands keep up with trends. Her strategy is to use TikTok to post on TikTok to increase brand awareness, identify trends and voices, and then use that information to reach new audiences on Instagram.
Ultimately, Brulhart told me, if brands don’t use Reels, they might leave money on the table. As she says, “My followers through Reels went from less than 2,000 in February 2020 to over 15,000 the next month as Instagram is pushing Reels to new audiences. Among the people who found my account 75% are from Reels — compared to stories and posts.”
If you’re sure that Reels is a viable option for your business, you might be wondering how to get started with it. Next, let’s dive in.
(Note: These tips are from Brulhart – if you’re looking for a more advanced overview or curious about how brands are using Reels, check out Everything Marketers Need to Know About Instagram Reels first.)
5 Tips for Succeeding on Instagram Reels, According to Reels Influencers
1. Find your niche and keep posting.
Kar Brulhart’s niche is Instagram mentoring and growth, so she told me her entire content strategy revolves around these two key themes.
“I repeat myself a lot,” Bruhardt said. “People get nervous about sounding repetitive, but you need to repeat yourself often and keep reminding people of your offer.”
It’s tempting to create content on popular or trending topics, even if they don’t directly match your product or service, but it’s not a good idea.Social media marketing isn’t just about attracting an audience, it’s about engaging right audience.
Also, posting frequently on a predetermined schedule can help you see growth on the platform since social algorithms reward consistency. As Bruhardt continued to regularly post similar topics that mattered most to her target audience, she began to see success.
2. Add context to the subtitle.
“Short videos work really well on TikTok — like audio trends and lip-sync trends — and the benefit you should get from that is that you don’t have to fit the whole message into a 15- or 30-second reel,” suggests Brulhart.
She added, “Instead, it can be relevant and inspiring, and then in your headline, you can add that context.”
For example, consider the following Reel, in which Brulhart posts some short text phrases in the Reel itself (e.g. “I was bullied by a man at my first job in New York”), but then elaborates extensively in the title :
3. Obsessed with your data.
As marketers, we are already obsessed with data. Data can help you determine what works well, what needs improvement, and what should be dropped entirely. Your Reels strategy should be no exception.
As Brulhart puts it, “I recommend looking at your data every 7 to 30 days, analyzing it, and finding out which Reels are doing well — then, take the same topic and create a carousel post, with the headline add more context That postal. “
“Half your audience hasn’t seen your content at any point, so repeat because, most likely, people didn’t see it the first time,” she said.
Brulhart believes that a brand’s success at Reels lies in the marketing team’s ability to experiment and use data to figure out what strategy works best for that particular brand. For example, maybe your audience pays more attention to trending and relevant content than educational scrolls, which you can only discover through analytics.
Brulhart said: “The thing I’ve seen the most success with clients is that they’re not afraid to tweak and change their strategy, because the platform is constantly evolving and there are always new features, so it’s important to keep testing those new features — especially since Instagram will be Reward accounts for early access to new features.”
4. Create behind-the-scenes content.
When I talk to Bluhart in a short video about this “newfound rise,” she reminds me that it’s been a long time coming. For example, Snapchat first went public with short video content in 2012.
“These platforms democratized video,” Brulhart told me, “and made video cheap, easy and pleasure Create videos. That’s who we are as people – we like to overshare, we like to make videos to share our lives. “
Post-pandemic, social media users crave more authentic, relevant, behind-the-scenes content from influencers and brands alike.
For example, in 2020, roughly half (42%) of Gen Zers said they want content to be described as fun — more than Gen Z’s interest in romantic content (29%) and exciting content (27%).
And, post-pandemic, 34% of HubSpot blogging survey respondents said they were still looking for more positive and uplifting content than before the pandemic.
As Bruhardt puts it, “It’s no longer about perfection or aesthetics – the stories that work best are those that are vulnerable, personal, behind the scenes. So don’t be afraid to move from professional aesthetics to something more approachable and fun.” “
One brand that Brulhart admires for its short-video strategy is Duolingo. Language learning apps often go viral as they’ve started using their owl mascots (pictured below) in fun, relevant TikToks.
Humanizing your brand is an essential part of any good social media strategy.The more relevant your audience is to your brand, the more Believe your brand.
However, it’s important to note that you don’t want to copy something just because it’s a trend – it should also make sense for your brand and feel authentic and authentic.As Bruhardt said, “My greatest failure is when I only make a trend. It doesn’t work – people smell it. “
5. Hire someone to create Reels-specific content.
If you’re interested in taking your Reels strategy to the next level, you’ll want to consider hiring someone with the expertise to create engaging short videos for social.
Brulhart told me, “If you have the budget, hire someone with a resume to show you that they can create content specifically for Instagram or TikTok (aka Reels video editor).”
If possible, you’ll want to hire someone with a proven track record on Reels who can make sure your content is appropriate and performing well for the platform.
But that’s okay if you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time employee — in which case, Brulhart told me, “Make sure your brand ties its Reels to the content pillar of your business. Don’t make a mistake, Just jumping on the bandwagon because it’s funny or cute… what ends up happening is you’ll get tons of followers, but not right followers. Making sure everything is linked to your business goals is key. “
Also, if you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time employee, consider joining Brulhart’s Social Ministry membership, where she sends people weekly popular audio and area-specific ideas to save them time on Reels.
You also need to think about how you can leverage other content creators to help tell your story in ways you can’t think of — a brand or influencer partnership can help you with that.
At the end of the day, Reels can be a very powerful tool for reaching new audiences and increasing brand awareness and loyalty — but it’s not for everyone. If you’re not sure if Reels is right for you, test it out for a few weeks, then analyze the performance to see if it’s worth your marketing resources.
who knows? Maybe Reels are the missing piece in your social strategy.
Featured Image Credit: Kar Brulhart (used with permission)