If you’re looking to take your Instagram marketing game to the next level, it may be time to start experimenting with Instagram Reels.
Instagram Reels are short 15- or 30-second videos that play on a loop and can be dubbed with music or videos. The videos play on a loop when someone scrolls, repeating until they scroll away. These short, catchy videos tend to be shared, become earworms, and hopefully go viral.
This new feature from Instagram offers a launching point for all kinds of on-brand, on-topic video creations you can use to connect with followers and build brand recognition.
So how do they work, and how can you use them for your brand?
How Do Instagram Reels Work?
Instagram Reels let you dive into the short video world, similar to TikTok or any other popular short music video apps. Here’s how to explore, create, and add music to your Reels.
Exploring Instagram Reels
Before you dive in, spend some time exploring others’ Reels and how they use them for their personal platforms or brand accounts.
To find Reels, click on the Reels icon tab in the app, which looks like a director clapboard with a play button. Here you can explore Reels from accounts you follow and others Instagram thinks you’ll be interested in based on your activity on the platform.
Another way to explore Reels is to go to the Explore page and look for Reels.
You can also go directly to a profile page and look for the Reels icon.
How to Create Instagram Reels
Ready to start creating? It’s time to turn the camera on and get going.
In the Instagram app, choose the little plus sign icon in the upper right corner to add a video. A screen will open with a variety of creator options, including Reels.
Choose the Reels option, and a variety of customization features will appear.
Many features will be recognizable to Instagram users, including the music icon, the fast speed, and the timer.
You’ll also be able to choose whether your video will be 15 seconds or 30 seconds. If you aren’t sure, you can start small. Remember, Reel videos play a shorter video on repeat might have more impact.
How to Add Music to Reels
When you start creating your reel video, you’ll see the music icon. Click on the music note, and you’ll see a library of songs, much like the music you can add to Instagram stories.
Use the search bar at the top to look for music that works for your video creation. Then, choose the portion of the song that best fits your video—and your goal.
If you don’t want to choose a song, you can also use background noise or your voice for your Reels.
10 Ways to Use Instagram Reels to Market Your Brand
Like so many other social media features, Reels provides a platform for brands to connect and engage with followers. However, it can be hard to push past the noise and think of video ideas that are true to your brand and interesting for followers.
If you’re looking to get started with Instagram Reels, or want to put together a content calendar with ideas for Reels, keep reading. Below you’ll find ten ways to use these short videos to market your brand and some real examples that other brands have used. Use these as inspiration, but remember to stay true to your brand.
1. Tell Your Brand Story on Instagram Reels
What’s your “why”? Every brand has one, and telling that story is a great way to connect with your customer base meaningfully. Instagram Reels helps share your story in both fun and authentic ways.
When you’re sharing the background story about your brand, you want it to be genuine, and not salesy. The integrations and video options make that easier.
With on-brand background music, Tailored Tulle used Instagram Reels to tell the story of their first year in business and highlight deep gratitude for their customers.
The video comes off as authentic and warm, rather than boastful. Video is a fun way to tell the story of their first year in business, rather than writing it all out.
2. Offer Exclusive Discount Codes to Reel Watchers
Here’s where things can get fun! Why not “reward” loyal followers and viewers with discounts and exclusive opportunities, and do it in a way that’s fun and engaging? This could be a great way to announce a new product or share a seasonal sale to drive more customers who are eager to shop at your store.
If you have your brand Instagram account set up for Instagram shopping, you can also tag your products in your Instagram Reel. Get viewers excited about your product with an engaging video reel and then offer a discount they won’t want to miss out on and make the shopping seamless with the tag right there in the post.
Sephora used Instagram Reels to show people how to type in a promo code when shopping online to get a bag of freebies.
3. Share Your Creative Process
People love getting a sneak peek of their favorite products and designers; it makes them feel like part of an elite group. People who are new to your brand can get a deeper understanding of the effort and time that goes into developing your product.
Whether you add a sneak peek to your editorial calendar, or you turn the camera on when inspiration strikes, Reels can be a fun way to loop people in and help them feel better connected to your brand.
Soleil Furnishings creates custom furniture restorations, and they’ve used Instagram Reels to show different parts of the creative process, from sanding to painting.
In blog posts or other longer-form content, these may seem dry or dull, but with a little background music and on loop, a restoration update becomes a satisfying watch.
4. Offer Behind the Scenes Footage
Business life is more than the pretty, well-planned square photos that fill up our social media feeds. To develop a genuine relationship with your followers, especially those truly invested in what you create, try Reels for behind-the-scenes footage.
Get real with your followers. Pull back the curtain and welcome them into all the ups and downs of life in your business.
The Wishing Elephant posts many behind the scenes Reels where they share the reality of processing and shipping orders and the chaos and joy that comes with owning a small business.
5. Introduce Your Team via Reels
The online world can be notoriously impersonal, so why not breathe some personality into your social media marketing? Use Reels to interview your teammates or let them pick a favorite song and showcase a hobby or interest they have outside the office.
Of course, you’ll want to run all these things through your HR first, but again it’s a great way to breathe some life into your social media posts, especially if your industry tends to be more buttoned-up.
You can also use Reels to highlight your brand, products, or services, while introducing your team. The streaming app KidoodleTV shared staff picks Instagram Reels, asking staff members what they and their kids like to watch on the app.
It let the brand highlight shows they offer while sharing a little more about the people behind the app.
6. Show Off Your Products
Does your product have many features or options? Or do you make custom products for every customer? Reels can help you highlight what makes your products unique and highlight product details and uses.
William Sonoma uses Instagram Reels to showcase the products they offer in action so followers can see how their products might look on their Christmas table or serving up their favorite dish.
7. Announce Giveaways On Instagram Reels
If you’re using giveaways to drum up more followers or reward loyal customers, Instagram Reels can help you get the word out and build excitement. Or you can do surprise giveaways.
Pretty by JL surprised some of their shoppers with a free giveaway in recent orders, and they announced the winners in an Instagram Reel.
8. Educate Your Audience Through Reels
Instagram Reels give you the chance to educate followers, either about your brand or the values your brand stands for. In quick snippets, you can share the knowledge you may take for granted as an expert, but they may still be exploring. It’s a great way to be an industry advocate and teach people.
For instance, here’s how Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds uses Instagram Reels to educate their audience about using plants for herbal medicine.
9. Provide a Product Demonstration on Instagram Reels
Whether your product is complicated and needs a thorough explanation, or you want to show off cool features, these short videos are a fun way to show off what makes your product great. You can get creative, silly, or truly off-the-wall. For example, you could share special features or less obvious uses for your product.
Artists can leverage this by highlighting the detail that goes into what you make. In her Instagram Reels, Rachel Froud gives followers a view into how she paints her pieces.
10. Use Reels to Spread Some Happiness
When it comes to social media marketing, we spend a lot of time thinking about the ROI, the bottom line, and profit margins. But sometimes, social media offers a bigger opportunity. With social media, we are welcomed into people’s lives and have the chance to bring joy and light.
Reels are no exception. In fact, they can be the perfect way to bring some joy and laughter. Keep it simple. Show off something adorable or beautiful. Let your little corner of the internet bring some brightness.
Here’s what America’s VetDogs shared in their Reels feed. It’s simple, just a little sneak peek into their daily work. Nothing over the top. They even used just their background noise for audio, instead of looping in a fun song, although those choices would have been endless.
Instagram Reels can breathe new life into your Instagram account and help you build your following.
Have fun creating short videos that incorporate catchy tunes, while sharing your brand story. It’s a great tool for experimenting and getting creative, so dive in and enjoy.
What’s your favorite Instagram Reels background tune?