Instagram is constantly trying to keep up with trends and other apps or platforms. Years ago it became a competitor for Vine, and eventually became the popular platform for video posts. Recently Instagram has clearly been keen on getting more people to use its TikTok-like Reels options.

Unfortunately some have speculated that with Instagram emphasizing Reels, this has caused a reduction in reach of other content formats in the app. And the way to negate this is to create Reels instead. Instagram hasn’t confirmed that this is the case, but a range of anecdotal reports suggest that many are seeing a drop in their regular Instagram post reach.

So maybe this feature is worth experimenting with in order to see what results you get. Again, you may not like the format, and it really is just a carbon copy of TikTok, but it could be a way to maximize your Instagram engagement, especially as Instagram looks to boost Reels usage in its early stages.

Are you at a loss on how to get the most out of your Reels clips? Well Instagram has kindly provided some general, but potentially helpful tips.

  • Inspire creating, giving a sense that anyone can join in and create
  • Share original and authentic content, created with the Reels camera
  • Use the music library and audio tools in the Reels settings
  • Stay relevant with cultural moments and topics
  • Have a WOW or LOL factor
  • Pull the viewer in quickly- the more intriguing the better
  • Have a fun surprise or twist

So the key points in Instagram’s list are encouraging engagement with your clips, filming content via the dedicated Reels camera in the app, linking into trends where possible, and looking to add a strong reactionary element – whether that’s through a trick, a joke, effects, etc.

Instagram’s also clearly reminding users to only use approved music, which it reiterates in its ‘don’t’ listing:

  • DON’T add music that is not in the Instagram library unless you have obtained the appropriate license
  • DON’T use “dated” references
  • DON’T lack a storyline
  • DON’T create content that contains hate speech or graphic violence

I mean if you really think about it, these aren’t great guide notes. Don’t use ‘dated’ references, don’t ‘lack a storyline’. I mean yeah I guess they make some sense, but it’s an odd way to reiterate the importance of linking into trends and ensuring there’s a cohesion to your Reels clips, as opposed to just filming at random.

But there are two main points of emphasis that we’d like to take from these lists and they are: ‘stop re-posting clips from TikTok’ and ‘stop using unapproved music’. While the other notes are a little less direct, but they may provide some additional guidance in your creation process, which could help you create better Reels, if you’re looking to take them on.

Of course, the best way to learn about Reels is to actually watch Reels content. In order to find out what is working best, tap on the ‘Reels’ tab in your Instagram app and start scrolling through to see what’s getting the most engagement. You can also search by hashtag in the app, then tap on the Reels tile in the results to get an idea of what type of Reels content is being created for that topic. Look into what similar companies and businesses are posting. Has your competition started creating reels? What currents trends can you do that align with your brand and online presence?

It could be a good option. Again, Instagram clearly wants Reels to succeed, and it may be looking to provide more reach for original Reels content. If you want to maximize your IG engagement in 2021, Reels should at least be within your consideration.

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