“The reach on this Reel is insane!”
“Looks like that Reel is going viral”
If you’ve not seen these comments flying around Slack recently, then the latest edition of ‘Five things your client will ask you about __________ this month’, is going to be right up your stráße.
For now though, let’s get specific.
Particularly to client Q3 below, before the honeymoon ends.
Anyway, enough of the threats, the client be like…
Q1. Shouldn’t we just launch a TikTok channel instead of making Reels?
There are two routes to a solution here.
Route 1 – if you have an Instagram channel already then Reels is a perfect way to test how receptive your audience is to TikTok style content. But that doesn’t automatically give you the green light. Make sure that this medium aligns to your strategy and is a good fit for your brand. Or revisit your objectives. How will it help achieve your KPIs?
Route 2 – similarly, you should never just launch a TikTok channel (read Q1), ask yourself how trending short-form video content will help you hit your goals or if your audience is already on the platform. Don’t be that brand trying too hard, sailing a rudderless ship.
Overarching point – listen to your data.
Q2. What does the perfect Reel look like?
Give @creators a follow, the Instagram-owned channel posts some Reel-y good content featuring best practices.
DO post a Reel that…
- Is entertaining and fun (i.e it delights people, grabs their attention, makes them laugh or has a fun surprise or twist)
- Is inspiring (i.e. starts a trend that others can easily participate in)
- Uses creative tools like text, filters or camera effects.
- Uses vertical video; horizontal videos are typically not as easy to recreate
- Uses music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio you create or find on Reels
- Try something new, be yourself and see what works for you
DON’T post a Reel that…
- Is blurry due to low-resolution
- Is visibly recycled from other apps (i.e. contains logos or watermarks – see TikTok)
- Is uploaded with a border around it
- Has the majority of the image covered by text
This advice is largely directed at creators, but there are some really important brand learnings we can take from these recommendations.
You also need to look closer to home re: your brand guidelines on social, but generally speaking, less is more. Don’t make your Reel look like an ad with lots of graphics and copy, strip it back as much as possible and invite people to play or make their own version.
We’ll show you some more examples of client Reels that have adhered to these guidelines and brought us success in the next client question.
But before we move on, here’s an excellent post highlighting how the ranking algorithm works on Reels. This is SO useful. Definitely something else to consider when creating the perfect content.
Q3. What are Reels good for in terms of metrics?
ORGANIC REACH AND SO MUCH OF IT.
The last 6 months have taken us back 10-15 years in social to the days of insane free reach, before Facebook and Twitter hit ground zero organic.
Don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at some of our client work…
@ineos_grenadier – 630K views (8 Reels – Followers @ 73.3K)
@usamgacademy – 302K views (19 Reels – Followers @ 77.5K)
All without spending a penny of paid media.
In some of our reporting, Reels accounted for 70% of the organic views across the month, across all channels.
But before you get too excited, we know this won’t last forever.
The astute viewers amongst you will know that Instagram loves prioritising products like this, by giving them some prime real estate in the feed.
Experiment time, if you refresh your feed 2/3/4 times, you’ll notice how close a piece of Reel content sits near your thumb in the top right-hand corner of the Explore tab.
Alongside ranking algorithmic factors, this above, we believe, is the key driver for crazy free reach at the moment. But feel free to prove us wrong and ping me an email for a chat 📥
Instagram has already launched ads in Reels, which usually spells the start of the downward curve in the product lifecycle, before it becomes so saturated that you start seeing tiny organic reach.
Q4. Aren’t Instagram Reels hidden away from the feed on your channel?
This is a common question that we hear a lot, so never presume your clients understand Instagram products as well as you do.
Our advice here is to demonstrate how a Reel can either be shared to the feed and the Reels tab or just the Reels tab. We recommend sharing to the feed for maximum exposure, so it sits amongst your other image and video content.
We’d also suggest sharing a new Reel to your Stories and encouraging your followers to click on it, @mentioning anyone featuring in the video.
Our hot tip is not to miss the fact you can now select a frame to appear on your profile when you click ‘crop profile image’.
Q5. How quickly can you start making Reels?
Have your strategy ready, know what you’re trying to achieve and then prepare 6 ideas that you know you can execute over the coming weeks/months as a foundation for launching your Reels offering.
Only fools rush in with one or two decent ideas.
Try to make each of those 6 ideas different so you can see what resonates best with your audience. Leave 1 or 2 placeholders for trending concepts in there that, when they come around, are a good fit for your brand to jump on.
As a working example, we found out that showing premium shots of the Mercedes-AMG Black Series outperformed the rest of our content by about 5000%, so we produced another Reel featuring the model and saw a 20K increase in views.
Unfortunately that’s the end of the Reel, but I hope you’ve taken away some power play responses ready for your next client meeting.
The Content Managers and Strategists out there know that this info changes on a weekly basis, so act fast and get impressing.
If you’d like to get in touch about general enquiries then please email me via Joe.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I did a cheesy Lake District Reel recently. Alas I’ve not ‘gone viral’ yet.