Short, 15 to 30-second videos have taken over social media this past year. You’ve probably seen them — dance videos, cooking clips, pranks — all kinds of content with millions of views. These viral videos cover a wide range of topics and genres that have very little common aside from their length.
Instagram has responded to this trend by creating Instagram Reels – a new feature where brands and regular content creators can reach a whole new audience. If you’re not on Reels just yet, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to get discovered. To help you get started, we’ve listed the ways you can use Instagram Reels to Increase your followers.
If you were to summarize your brand in 30 seconds, how would you do it? Posting on Instagram Reels means you are introducing yourself to people who may not have heard about you. It’s important to make a good first impression.
Food and parenting duo Dayna and Brian Lee, better known as @artsandfood, published a “THIS IS US” video on Instagram Reels that perfectly summarizes what they’re all about. The video is a montage featuring their top food and travel moments. Anyone who stumbles upon the video can easily know what to expect if they decide to follow @artsandfood.
Creating an introduction video that encapsulates who you are as a brand will ensure that most of the users who follow you after viewing your Reel are potential customers.
You can also wear your merchandise in your content. This guide from Sellfy shares how creating Instagram Reels wearing your products is a great way to give people a sneak peek of your cool designs.
While the Instagram Reels Explore tab algorithm is still widely unknown, what we do know is that Instagram will deprioritize content that’s reposted from other platforms, are low in quality, and have watermarks. To make sure your video is featured front and center, always produce original high-quality videos that are either entertaining and fun.
Start a Challenge
Today’s generation may associate the popularity of challenges with TikTok, but challenges have existed even before the platform was created. Think as far back as 2008 when everyone started taking photos of themselves “planking” in the most obscure places or the Running Man Challenge that went viral in 2016. People love challenges, so why not start one on Instagram Reels?
Following the concept of TikTok Challenges, your Instagram Reel Challenge should use a hashtag. Think of a hashtag that can be associated with your brand but can also be used naturally. One of the most successful branded challenges was the #ShowMeYourWalk Challenge by Chase Bank.
Start a challenge to commemorate an event, launch a campaign or support a cause that your brand is passionate about. As long as it’s fun and easy to replicate, people will start joining in. This will not only get you more followers but also generate valuable, user-generated content.
📌 Pro tip: Partner with an influencer to launch your challenge. Chase Bank partnered up with one of their ambassadors, Kevin Hart whose video has over 3.8 million views.
Leverage Viral Content
As a brand or content creator, you should be on top of trends. Look at what’s trending on Instagram Reels and even on TikTok and add your own spin to it. When you produce content that is already going viral on other platforms, it increases the chances of performing well on Instagram.
Vanessa Lau (@vanessalau.co), an Instagram Growth Expert takes inspiration from viral content on TikTok and applies it to her Instagram Reels. Doing this has helped her drastically increased her reach, engagement, and follower count in a span of just a month.
When leveraging viral content, don’t forget to create content that’s still meant for your niche. While simply riding on viral audio and content might get you the views, these views won’t necessarily translate to follows if there’s a mismatch.
Keep it Real
Influencers and celebrities often get a bad rap for posting about their highly edited posts on Instagram. Nobody really gets to see the 100+ shots that were taken before it was good enough to make the grid. While beautifully staged shots still garner hundreds of thousands of likes, social media users have become more discerning. Consumers are now looking for brands that are more “authentic” — use Instagram Reels to start.
If you’ve just posted a photo on your grid, for example, you can support it with a clip-on Instagram Reels about how you got to the final shot. This can be a behind-the-scenes bloopers type of video or it can even serve as a photo-editing tutorial.
As a brand, another way to show a more authentic and human side is through takeovers. According to research, 70% of consumers feel more connected to a brand when the CEO has an active social presence. Use reels to show “a day in the life” videos of your employees and other people behind the brand.
Posting content that’s original and unscripted will encourage more brand loyalty and as a result, increase your followers.
…But stay on-brand
By on-brand, we don’t necessarily mean being too careful about branding standards such as colors and filters. When posting content on Instagram Reels, you still have to think about how it reflects back on your brand.
If you post something that’s completely off topic and unrelated to your brand, you may get views and follows, but they won’t be valuable leads. You want to attract people who are not just interested in the content you post on Reels but are also potential customers.
When posting anything on social media, it’s important to be intentional. Ask yourself: What value will this serve? Make sure that you’re always creating relevant content that connects you to the right people.
While many may still look at Instagram Reels as just another copy of TikTok, it would be a mistake to dismiss it. After all, the company has a history of taking a concept and making it better. Remember how Instagram Stories started? Now it has over 500 million daily active users.
With 34% of GenZ’s using social media to get their news, 92% of marketers believe that video is effective for brand awareness. These numbers just prove how brands should leverage video marketing. Take advantage of Instagram Reels’ early stages. Not everyone is on it just yet — now’s the perfect time to extend your reach, gain more followers, and dominate a medium that’s poised to be the next big thing.
About the Author
Denise Langenegger is part of the team at Instasize – a content-creating tool kit for anyone editing photos and online content on mobile.