May 25 Tips for Developing Engaging and Discoverable Instagram Reels Content
Let’s talk Reels! If you need to get up to speed, check out the basics here. Studies have shown Reels can serve as a valuable tool for your brand whether they are used as a testing space for TikTok or to add a little spice into your brand’s newsfeed. It’s especially worth keeping a close eye on for brands considering Reels ad options are on the horizon. When it comes to implementing best practices for your Instagram Reels content, we must first take a look at the Reels algorithm. Play into the algorithm and you’re almost guaranteed to see a better organic reach.
About the Instagram Reels Algorithm
Before we begin, it’s still worth the reminder to point out that Instagram does not optimize Reels that include a watermark (*cough* TikTok watermarks *cough*). This is because they want to reward creative and exclusive content on their platform. Using a reposted TikTok is not a best practice overall but in addition, will penalize your post’s performance.
Another obvious but worth the mention callout is to follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines. I know, I know, “duh”, but you would be surprised how many Reels lose out on engagement simply because something in their post does not meet Instagram’s basic standards.
Okay, now that the obvious is out of the way, let’s quickly run through a summary of the content do’s and don’ts when creating and uploading Reels according to the algorithm:
- Share authentic content, particularly using the Reels camera.
- Stay up-to-date with audio in the Reels library and only use those clips.
- Experiment! Try things using Reel’s creative tools like filters.
- Stay relevant with trends, and post content that inspires or has a “wow” factor.
- Post low-quality or blurry video.
- Create video with heavy text overlay.
- Create video that won’t fit with a 4:5 aspect ratio (*if you’re planning on sharing to your Reel to your newsfeed, be mindful the aspect ratio for Reels is 9:16 while the feed post is 4:5)
Increasing Discoverability of Reels Content
Understanding the Instagram Reels algorithm is not only helpful from a content perspective, but it will also aid your brand’s discoverability in Instagram’s discover tab. Another way to standout within the discover feed is to have a call to action.
One thing we’ve noticed through creating and publishing Reels for our own clients is the power of a CTA. This is an especially powerful tool for brands looking to connect more with their audience in an authentic way because it gives the community a chance to chime in. Not only that, but you will get free insight into the content your viewers actually want to see and will find helpful simply by reading their comments. Content that is valuable to a user will go much further organically than content that was created “because”. With everyone being a content creator these days (or at least having the tools to do so), it is more important than ever to create meaningful, unique, and impactful content for your community.
Testing on Reels and Other Networks
Let’s just say it–the unsaid use of Instagram Reels is to use it as a testing ground for your brand’s TikTok. That’s okay. Reels is a great way to experiment for brands looking to test out a concept idea or a brand that is not ready to take the TikTok deep dive. If you decide to use Reels for this, remember what we said earlier: never use a watermarked video on your Reels feed. In addition, remember Reels only supports 30-second videos, in contrast to the full minute TikTok allows. Be sure your video is able to tell a complete story in 30 seconds! Lastly, it’s worth noting your Reels content should act as a complement to the already scheduled feed content; they should never replace your brand’s feed completely.
Instagram Reels for Influencer Marketing
In addition to developing and publishing brand-owned IG Reels content, it can also be ideal to include this content type in your influencer assignments… but only where it makes sense. For example, you can’t currently include links within Reels, so if the goal of your influencer campaign is to drive traffic, you’ll want to consider contracting influencers to create content that organically drives traffic. That said, an awareness campaign could be a great opportunity to test influencer Reels content.
When you’re developing your influencer assignments, be sure to give the influencer as much creative control as possible to ensure the content is authentic. But don’t forget including some guardrails to ensure the content is on-brand, such as “do’s and don’ts” of product positioning, FTC compliance guidelines, and of course, some of the best practices included throughout this blog.
Instagram Reels Metrics and Insights
Up until this month, Reels analytics were limited to Views, Likes, and Comments, but now Instagram has rolled out new, in-depth stats to help users better understand the success of their content. These new data points include Total Plays, Accounts Reached, Likes, Comments, Saves, and Shares.
Keeping up to date with the Reel’s algorithm is key and should dictate how you shoot your content and what your content is about. With the introduction of paid media to Reels becoming inevitable, we anticipate Reels to continue to grow and become a more prominent feature among social.
Want to stay up to date with the latest on Reels and other social updates? Subscribe to our newsletter below.
Subscribe to Social You Should Know