If you are a frequent patron of Instagram for either business or personal use, you may have noticed that reels are appearing more frequently. The growing popularity of short-form videos on social media is no doubt due to the impact of TikTok, which took off during the pandemic. While TikTok users average between ages 16 and 24, nearly half of all Instagram users sit between ages 25 to 35. When Instagram added the reel feature in late 2020, they made the short-form video trend more accessible to this demographic—young adults who grew up with social media and are now old enough to use it to benefit their brand.
But are reels beneficial to growing an Instagram audience?
The short answer is yes.
Overall, reels do tend to be higher-performing than single-photo posts and even carousel posts on Instagram.
Here are some likely reasons why:
1. The Instagram algorithm favors reels.
Since the birth of the Instagram reel in August of 2020, the platform has been pushing for more frequent use of them as a means of connecting with an audience. Because of this, the algorithm typically plays favorites with users who post reels more frequently, making their profiles more easily accessible than users who do not post reels often.
2. They provide entertainment or some type of value.
Let’s play the role of consumer for a moment: say you are in your twenties and you are having issues with your car. You determine that you need to take the car to a mechanic, but you are not familiar with mechanics in your area, and you certainly do not want to go to an auto shop that is going to take advantage of your lack of knowledge about cars. You happen to be on Instagram one day when you stumble upon a reel of a friendly-looking person telling you about the three most common noises a troubled car makes and their solutions. Naturally curious, you click on their profile and find that they own an auto shop nearby. It is likely that you would trust this person over someone else to fix your car and be transparent about pricing.
This is because the mechanic on Instagram provided value before ever taking a dollar from you. They built a sense of trust before meeting you in person and seeing how young or impressionable you may look.
Business owners who use Instagram to entertain or provide value to connect with their audience will have better engagement than business Instagram accounts that focus on directing their followers to their website or sales pages using external links. Instagram will favor accounts based on their entertainment value, and it greatly benefits entrepreneurs to use this to their advantage.
3. Instagram reels show a brand’s willingness to grow and stay up to date.
As time passes, the average age of users on social media platforms, including Instagram, will likely rise. However, the use of short-form videos for both personal and branding use is likely not going away anytime soon. Over the last two and a half years, TikTok and Instagram reels have become one of the most popular forms of content on social media. For these reasons, it greatly benefits businesses to become familiar with this form of content, as it shows a willingness to grow and learn new things about younger generations as times change. This willingness will not only allow you to stay relevant but actually help you to build a sense of trust with audiences of all ages.
We just highlighted a few different reasons why Instagram reels may help your social media growth. But maybe you have already been posting reels consistently over a period of months and not noticed significant boosts of engagement with your audience. Sometimes, posting reels may even hurt your growth on Instagram.
There are a few common reasons why your reels are not getting you the results you desire.
If you are posting them and not noticing positive results, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the quality of my video up to par with competitors’?
One important factor in assessing the effectiveness of Instagram reels is the quality of the video. If you are not getting engagement from your reels, make sure that the visual and audio aspects of your reel are similar to those of more successful reels. It would benefit you to research ways to improve the quality of your reels, and if you are uncertain, you can always choose to enlist the help of videographers to give you some tips.
2. What value am I providing by posting this content?
As mentioned above, reels can be incredibly effective if they provide entertainment or value. If the video is simply reiterating points from your posts or stories rather than providing new information, then it is not likely to attract a wider audience. Posting no reel is better than posting one just for the sake of posting, especially if it is lacking in quality.
3. Would the style of my video appeal to my target audience?
As we know, this style of Instagram content is appealing to a very wide range of ages and genders, and to people involved in many different types of communities and organizations. Make sure you are targeting the people you want to attract to your page, and then research the types of videos they watch. For example, if you are a coach whose target audience is moms in Southern California, you may want to begin your research by watching videos shared by parenting groups in that area, childcare tip videos, and children’s entertainment accounts. Once you have a sense of the style of those videos, you can see where else these moms are spending their time. Maybe there’s a popular yoga studio that is active on Instagram reels—see what their content is like. Remember to keep these things in mind, but do not allow it to limit your creativity, and always stick to the content pillars of your brand.
4. Are my hashtags optimized or overused?
Once you have researched the types of videos your target audience is watching, it’s time to research the hashtags those creators are using and which ones are the most popular. Remember that popular does not always mean better. It is always good to have a variety of hashtags to pull from and to make sure that there is a mix of the popular and the less commonly used. This will help widen your audience while making sure that your reels are reaching people in your niche.
5. Am I engaging with other accounts frequently enough?
It is easy to forget that Instagram is a social media platform, and its intention is primarily to help people connect with one another. It is very important to remember, however, that the more we post, the more important it becomes to engage with other accounts’ content. Make sure to dedicate some time each day to comment, like, and share other pages’ content! The Instagram algorithm will certainly favor a socially active user over one who does not engage often.