2020 has brought us a lot of curve balls, and if you were like us back in the spring when we all went on lockdown— perhaps you discovered TikTok. Millions of people around the world were ‘Bored in the house, and in the house bored’ scrolling endlessly through a sea of short form videos set to music or other “sounds” for a daily dose of serotonin. It made us laugh, smile, and most importantly feel connected in a weird way.
Tiktok (formly Musical.ly) had been around for a hot minute, but this pandemic definitely put it on blast by becoming a place for millennials to join Gen-Z in the fun almost overnight.
Quarterly U.S. downloads for the short-form video app continue to grow at over 75% compared to 2019, and TikTok now leads an impressive viewership of 80 million daily active Americans.
Of course Facebook was watching this go down and if we know anything, the media monsters don’t like to be second place to anything! Enter, Instagram Reels. This August, Instagram added a TikTok-esque feature called ‘Reels’. Now, rather than sharing your TikTok videos to your instagram stories, you can make them native in Instagram. Here’s the scoop.
WHAT IS INSTAGRAM REELS?
Instagram reels are 15-30 second videos. Wondering what to make them about? Well, you can keep and eye out for trends and copy/make your version of something that is going viral, or you can make instructional videos, tell a story, lip-sync or dance to a popular song, or even make a slideshow of photos. It’s rapidly changing, but for business, just think of Instagram reels as the same type of content you would normally post on instagram… just in a tiny video format!
It’s easy to consume and digest, but really hard to scroll past! People are willing to sacrifice 15 seconds to see what you’ve got!
Check out the screenshot below to see what a reel looks like and where to find them on an Instagram feed.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE USING REELS FOR YOUR BUSINESS:
Reels are the new way to get found. Have you noticed your discover page lately? What do you tend to click on when you get there? Betcha it’s a reel.
We have noticed that on our account, reels perform better than any other type of post, and we gain a lot more new followers on the days when we share a reel.
The algorithm seems to work something like the TikTok “For You Page.” You’ll be shown content similar to the other stuff that you engage with, show interest in, and you’ll even be shown videos base on location. So, this is great for local small business. You’re likely to grow your account with more people interested in your product or service, and probably even local potential customers.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
CAN’T I JUST MAKE A TIKTOK AND UPLOAD IT TO INSTAGRAM?
We’re not gonna lie. When Instagram did this we were like, “Ok here we go! Come on Instagram, just stay in your lane!” Because something just didn’t feel the same. The trends weren’t as funny for some reason. The delivery just didn’t feel as scrappy. Instagram simply has a different vibe. We love it for what it is, but just was not TikTok… ya know?
HOWEVER… we knew that it wasn’t smart to revel in this mindset for too long. Because Instagram [Facebook] is king, and they have like really really really smart people (and AI) behind all of this. Here’s why you need to be creating reels NATIVE inside of Instagram. There are a few hacks and we’ll get to that in a minute.
Whenever Instagram comes out with a new feature, they will reward and prioritize the accounts that use it more. So when they add a new sticker feature to stories, USE IT. The algorithm will favor you and push your content out to more of your own followers AND to more new accounts that aren’t following you.
The ninja robots can tell if you uploaded a TikTok or if you made the video using Instagram, and they don’t like it when you bring your leftovers to the party for everyone to snack on. Plus, the music rights work differently, so if you try to upload a TikTok with a Beatles song embedded in it, you’ll probably get flagged and it’ll get taken down. So you need to at the very least re-add your music in Instagram.
HERE’S A SECRET HACK FOR YOU MORE ADVANCED KIDS.
IF YOU’RE ALREADY MAKING TIKTOKS AND YOU WANT TO REPURPOSE THEM TO IG REELS, TRY THIS INSTEAD OF JUST DOWNLOADING THE FINAL PROJECT AND RE-UPLOADING IT TO THE GRAM.
Make sure that you don’t make it longer than 30 seconds. (Tiktok videos can currently go up to 60 seconds but on Insta, it is only 30)
If you’re using a song, make sure that it’s available on instagram as well. NOTE: Some accounts may not have the music feature enabled. If that is the case, you’ll only want to use videos that have your own unique sounds… like your voice talking!
Turn on your screen recording in your phone settings. On iPhone, Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls, then tap next to Screen Recording. Now, a new icon will display when you swipe down from the top right corner. (It looks like a target/record button)
Extra tip: Firm press on this icon and you can turn on the microphone so that you can do a voiceover. This comes in handy sometimes!
4. Make your video in the TikTok app. Then after you save it, before you click ‘post’ you can click to view it full screen.
5. Take a screen recording of the whole video and then clip the beginning and end.
6. Post it as an instagram reel! If you want to get real crazy, do this part before you add text so that you can add Instagram stylized text for your IG reels, and then add TikTok text for your TikToks.
Still lost? We’ve got just the thing for you! We created a Reels 101 Workshop to help our friends, clients and fellow small business owners with their Reel paralysis.
Take your best content and repurpose it into some reels and watch your account grow like it’s 2015 again! We’d love to see what you do. If this article inspires you to try it out, we’d love to see! Share it with us @ampersand_studios on insta!