Instagram is definitely showing some younger sibling vibes while trying to keep up with big brother TikTok.
But clearly, IG is taking some good notes because Reels is helping businesses and content creators make big moves toward getting discovered and reaching a fresh audience.
If your business is on IG and you’re NOT using Reels, you’re seriously missing a huge growth opportunity.
While IG is still playing catch up to TikTok's reputation for video and discoverability, learn how business owners can make a big push forward by leveraging Instagram Reels.
In this episode of the podcast, I talk about:
- Why Instagram Reels work for businesses
- The history of Instagram Reels
- The immature Mr. Al on IG
- Your #1 focus when creating Reels for your biz
- Starting conversations, not teaching lessons
- My hot & cold relationship with lip-sync videos
This Episode Was Made Possible By:
Instagram Bootcamp Challenge
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The Instagram Bootcamp is here to help you abandon what’s not working, rise above the low engagement across the board on IG, and start implementing the strategies that are proven to work for businesses like yours!
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- “Instagram has 1.3 billion, billion with a B, users. And a lot of those users demographically are between the ages of 18 and 34. So about 60% of the user base is between 18 and 34. And those users are pretty active on reels.” – Andréa Jones
- “I will say, if I'm gonna compare Big Brother TikTok to Little Brother Instagram reels, TikTok is still way better at this. And Instagram reels does have a little bit of little brother syndrome where they're like, ‘but we're good too’.” – Andréa Jones
- “Instagram reels is trying to do that where they have sounds and trends and things where you're like, oh, we all are in on the joke. And so that kind of being in on the joke makes people feel like they're part of a community. It also can be alienating to new community members. And it also can feel a little cheesy if someone doesn't quite get the joke and they try to hop in on it. So just be careful with that.” – Andréa Jones
- “I want you to keep things short and sweet. You have only 90 seconds, but statistically, people wanna watch 60 seconds of the video. So I try to keep my videos less than 60 seconds.” – Andréa Jones
- “Find what works for you. And the only way to find what works for you, in my humble opinion, is to do it. Okay? So as much as we like to think about it and ruminate and plan and ideate, sometimes you just have to do it to figure out if, if it's for you.” – Andréa Jones
- “I think that the burnout comes from trying so hard to do something that doesn't really work for you. Okay? So figure out what works for you. Keep doing that. Ignore the rest.” – Andréa Jones
- “TikTok is gonna go, hmm. Well, Andréa really likes these cooking videos. She doesn't really like, you know, dudes on four-wheelers, so let's show her more cooking. Oh, she likes romance books. Let's show her more of that. Oh, she likes Drag Race. Let's show her more of that. And so then your feed starts to be customized to you based on your likes and interests.” – Andréa Jones
Watch the Episode Below:
Andréa Jones (00:00):
In a world where attention spans are shrinking faster than your favorite sweater in the dryer, Instagram reels comes to the rescue, or does it really? In today's episode, I wanna dive into Instagram reels and what it means for business owners specifically. And as Shakespeare would say, if you were alive today, to reel or not to reel, that's the question. Let's dive in.
Welcome to The Savvy Social Podcast, the show that blends stories and strategies to help businesses create engaged and profitable online communities using the unique power of social media. And now, your host, Andréa Jones.
Andréa Jones (00:55):
Now Instagram reels is only three years old. Y'all came out August 5th, 2020, and it really was a direct response to TikTok and Instagram is known for copying other platforms. Think about Instagram stories that came from Snapchat, threads that came from Twitter. Instagram is notorious for looking around in their marketplace, seeing what's working and going, okay, bet I can do that too. So August 5th, 2020, Instagram reels launch and it's very rudimentary. You can do 15 second reels. The editor is very simple. There are no features like the TikTok stitch and things like that. There's no covers or anything like that. So it's just vibes and an idea. And it is very glitchy when it launches. And even today, I still find editing in the app to be very glitchy. If you've ever like added text to the video and then you go to post it and the text suddenly isn't there, you're not alone.
Okay, <laugh>. But that's the history of Instagram reels. It really started as a response to TikTok. Tiktok has changed the fabric of social media. I mean, we had things like Vine, you know, video platforms in the past, but it was kind of its own thing when TikTok kind of burst into the scene. Now we have the TikTok mini mes running around everywhere we see YouTube shorts, we see Pinterest idea pins, we have Instagram reels. So when you're looking at Instagram reel strategies, typically I do kind of mimic strategies that are on TikTok. So now Instagram reels can be up to 90 seconds. And on Instagram, all videos are reels. So that means when you're uploading a video, Instagram's really gonna try to post it as a reel. And a vertical video looks kinda like Instagram story that has the reels features.
You'll see things like remixing now, which is, you know, commenting or adding commentary to someone else's reel. We can add covers. There's stickers and interactive elements and filters and even their new editors much better than when it first started. I think it's still glitchy as hell, but it's much better. So when I talk about Instagram with business owners, a lot of times I'm saying, Hey, if you're not on reels, we gotta find a way to get you on reels. And so I'm gonna talk about why reels work, but I wanna share a few stats first. So y'all know I talked about this last episode. Instagram has 1.3 billion, billion with a B users. And a lot of those users demographically are between the ages of 18 and 34. So about 60% of the user base is between 18 and 34. And those users are pretty active on reels.
So when we look at other platforms, I'm gonna get a little nerdy in the data for a sec, hang with me. So Instagram stories reach dropped from 2021 to 2022. Okay? So that means fewer people are even getting the chance to see your, your stories. So in 2021 it was 5.4% of your audience is seeing your stories. In 2022, it's 4.8% of your audience is seeing your stories. Okay? So stories the potential for people to see them has dropped. I like to think of stories as like a super intimate place for my OGs, like my, my diehards, my, the people who hang with me a lot. Now a lot of these stats are coming from two places, Social Insider and Hype Auditor. So Social Insider said for reels, the reach is about 20%, 20.5%. This is far above other types of posts like carousels or images or videos.
So about 20.5% of your audience is going to see your reel on average. Okay? they also said in the same study, this is Social Insider, that 57.4% was the increase in usage of Instagram reels. So from 2022 to 2023, more people are posting reels. And that really is because Instagram has a huge focus on reels right now. They're really trying to promote that as one of the main ways to create content on their platform. Now, they've gone back and forth on this. I talk about a lot about this in The Feed podcast. So y'all who are signed up for The Feed or if you're in the School, we talk a lot about these updates and what it means for business owners and what I've been talking a lot about is Instagram's priority shifting. So they went all in on reels in 2020 and then in near the end of 2021, and then into 2022, they kind of pulled back a little bit and said, oh, we're putting more weight on, you know, regular feed posts.
And now it seems like they're going back into the reels. This Social Insider study said that brands themselves are using reels even more now as well. So 19.67% of brands were using reels in 2022. And then in 2023, that's up to almost 31%. So more and more people are posting reels, but more and more people are consuming reels 'cause they continue to outperform. So this is the Hype Auditor study. They said that 35.4% of the likes on Instagram go to reels. So 35.4% of Instagram likes go to reels. When we think about this compared to other post types images are next and they get 24.6% of the likes. Carousel posts get 24.2% of the likes, video posts, usually this is if you have a video that's longer than 90 seconds it gets posted as a video post, not a reel. And I'll talk about what the difference is in a minute.
But those video posts only get 15.6% of the likes. So when we think about how users are engaging with the platform, they're more likely to engage with the reel as far as liking it than other types of content pieces. And I think it's important to understand the stats behind this. 'cause A lot of gurus like to say, this is what you should be doing. I'm not here to tell you what you should or shouldn't be doing. I'm just trying to give you perspective on why I think this is important and help you make a decision that works for you. And this is something that we talk a lot about in the Savvy Social School because yes, I have my plan laid out. Yes, I give you the things that I see working, but at the end of the day, you get to decide how you wanna show up the app and what you want to use. And you could after listening to this episode, go, you know what, Andrea, I appreciate that and I'm not gonna use reels. Great. There's so many other things you can do. I'm just gonna tell you why I think reels are great. So we're gonna take a quick break. When we come back, I wanna talk about why reels work and then some tips for leveraging reels today.
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All right, so here's why Reels work. They are all about discovery. Remember how I said TikTok kind of changed the fabric of social media? I'm not being dramatic, okay? Or maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but when I think about TikTok and how it's built on discovery, meaning when you first log into the app, you're getting videos from randoms, right? People you don't even know, you've never heard of them before. TikTok is going, here's a popular video on our app right now, do you like it? And based on how you interact with that content, TikTok is gonna go, huh? Well, Andréa really likes these cooking videos. She doesn't really like, you know, dudes on four-wheelers, so let's show her more cooking. Oh, she likes romance books. Let's show her more of that. Oh, she likes Drag Race. Let's show her more of that. And so then your feed starts to be customized to you based on your likes and interests.
But TikTok is continuing to show you new content and it's mixed in with, you know, the same creators that you love and interact with. And then mostly it's brand new people. Okay? So that's all about discovering new things. So when Instagram reels hit the scene in 2020 the power of reels was that it was going out to people who do not follow you. That means randoms. People in the app who had no idea who you were, you're suddenly seeing their reels. And vice versa, when you log into the app and you scroll through the feed right now, you'll see content from people who you ain't heard of before. It's just based on how you interact with the content. Now I will say, if I'm gonna compare Big Brother TikTok to Little Brother Instagram reels, TikTok is still way better at this. And Instagram reels does have like a little bit of like little brother syndrome where they're like, but we're good too.
You know? But it's not, it's their discovery engine's not quite as delicate. We'll say Mr. Al is a lot more mature over on TikTok. And the, for those of you who are new, Mr. Al is the algorithm, okay? He a little sneaky sometimes. Mr. Al over on TikTok is like my best friend. He understands me, Mr. Al on Instagram. I'm like, oh, you're trying hard, but it's not quite hitting it. Okay? So that discovery engine for Instagram reels means that when you as a business owner go to post an Instagram reel, Instagram is gonna try to show it to people who do not follow you. So you have the potential to reach new audiences in a way that has been challenging in the past. In Instagram, prior to Instagram reels, you had to go to the explore page. So it's a whole nother section of the app.
And then from there, start perusing and seeing if there's any content you like Instagram reels, put that explore page mixed in with your feed. Okay? So now you as a business owner can just pop up and someone else's feed without them having to go to another place. Instagram reels is also a full screen experience. So when we think about Instagram stories, it's very similar. If you're scrolling through reels it takes up more landscape, more space on your screen. So naturally, humans and our tendencies, when something is taking up more space, we tend to pay more attention to it, right? So that also is another reason why Instagram reels are working better. It's kind of like getting our attention. It's also just video. Like the strategy behind video is like we as humans, statistically speaking, we'll pay more attention to video for a little bit longer than a static image, okay?
Statistically, generally speaking, when you see an image, your brain just understands it a lot faster. When you see a video, you kind of hang on for a couple seconds longer. So that also works again, into our human psychology. We go, Ooh, something's moving. Let's take a look. You know? And then the last reason why reels work is because it's tapping into a collective cultural aspect of business, which is community. So another, this is another thing that's like kind of mimicking TikTok, where one of the reasons why I think TikTok really works well is because there's like a language that's built into the app. Like, if you know, you know, there's trends that pop up when something happens, people are making commentary on it. When a sound ticks off, it's like people are then mimicking and recreating that content again and again and again. And it kind of feels like when you and your bestie have inside jokes, like when you and your bestie just look at each other and you like bust out laughing, like on the ground, you don't even have to say anything 'cause you both are thinking the same thing.
That's what TikTok feels like. And so Instagram reels is trying to do that where they have sounds and trends and things where you're like, oh, we all are in on the joke. And so that kind of being in on the joke makes people feel like they're part of a community. It also can be alienating to new community members. And it also can feel a little cheesy if someone doesn't quite get the joke and they try to hop in on it. So just be careful with that. But those are the reasons why reels work. It's all about discovery, that full screen experience, leveraging video, and then building community around the cultural trends and sounds. So as a business owner, if you're sitting here thinking, okay, Andrea, I get it, I get it, I will start posting more reels. How do I do that?
Well, number one, when you're thinking about creating reels, you wanna create content that's focused on someone who's literally never heard from you ever before. Okay? So remember how Instagram reels are mostly going out to people you don't follow. And if you don't believe me, go into a reel and look at your stats. When you click on reels, click on insights. You'll see a large portion of people saw this video who have never heard you before. So you don't wanna start with like, Hey, so yeah like I was saying the other day like, you already lost them. They're like, oh, this is not for me. Right? So you wanna start with something that's interesting for the other person that's focused on them that captures their attention. So as a business owner, we usually use hooks here. We usually use feelings and emotional based marketing.
So you wanna start off with something that captures their attention. So for example, if you are let's say you sell handmade art on your website and you're trying to get more people aware of your art you could just, you know, show a picture of the art. Sure, that's great. But remember that visual element. What works really well for reels is using a nonverbal hook, starting with a blank canvas, and then showing the process of creating the art. There's something about it as humans where we go, Ooh, what's gonna happen next? Let's watch the whole thing, right? If you are a let's say you're a branding expert and you wanna use reels, maybe you're gonna start with a negative hook. Like, if you are starting your brand journey using colors, you are doing it wrong, right? Colors ain't everything, right?
So once you start with something like that, people go, wait, colors aren't everything. Let me listen to this video a little bit more. Again, these are for people who have never heard of you before. So we're not gonna start off with something that's too technical with the work that you do. That being said, I do recommend leveraging trends and relatable content. We talk about this a lot in the Savvy Social School because trends and relatable content isn't about, you know, trying to be cheesy. It's about speaking that same language as everyone else. It's about, oh, they're, they get it, they get me, right? So one, one that I saw this week on Threads was right now a lot of Barbie movie Oppenheimer comparisons, right? So one of them was the Barbie movie poster next to Oppenheimer, and it said Barbie movie, this is how the brand sounds, Oppenheimer, this is what the social media manager really sounds like behind the scenes.
And it just made me laugh because I was like, oh, that's so relatable. Sometimes I'm having a really bad day. But for our clients, oh, we are the best, happiest, most courageous, encouraging, energetic people, right? So for me, I'm like, oh, that's funny. And it's relatable and this brand gets me right? I think it was Later who posted that? Anyways, so you wanna think about leveraging trends, sounds relatable content, because this helps people who've never heard of you before go, oh, they get it. Like, they understand where I'm coming from and you wanna use this sparingly. Not everything you post is a trend or a relatable piece of content. And then you also wanna mix in other types of content pieces as well. So when you're thinking about mixing in those other type of content pieces, I want you to keep things short and sweet.
You have only 90 seconds, but statistically people wanna watch 60 seconds of the video. So I try to keep my videos less than 60 seconds. And you wanna have videos that start conversations. So recently I posted a video about Instagram threads and how I personally feel about it. I'm really excited about it. But it's starting a conversation. I'm not saying whether you should or shouldn't be on threads, okay? I am not talking down to you. I'm not waxing on and on and on about why you should be on Threads. That's what my podcast is for. Okay? So social media to me is just like a little taste, a little introduction. Here's what I think about threads, and then people who discover that video click over my profile, dive into my world, they can then consume things like the podcast and get on my email newsletter and that sort of thing, right?
So short and sweet, and it's all about starting conversations. 'cause Remember, these people have never heard of you before. So if you jump straight into like, buy my thing, they're like, Ooh, I don't know who this is. Most people need a little bit of wooing and dating. We do have those people who are like, I don't need to hear anything else come to me now. You know? And sometimes that happens. But most time we're like, oh, I, I need to like look around, check out some reviews, you know, see their website. So when you're thinking about reels, it's that first touch point. And I'll wrap this up by saying, find what works for you. And the only way to find what works for you in my humble opinion, is to do it. Okay? So as much as we like to think about it and ruminate and plan and ideate, sometimes you just have to do it to figure out if, if it's for you.
So for example, lip-syncing videos are not my strength. <Laugh>, I love the idea of them. I think they're great. But when you grow to my channel or go to my page, you won't see a lot of lip syncing videos. And it's not because I don't like them, it's because it doesn't work for my brain. I, my, I'm a talker, I just kind of wanna say my own thing, you know? So sometimes with the lip syncing, it just takes me so long to like get the rhythm down. And so I usually just skip it because it takes me too long and when things take too long, I start feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and I don't wanna do it anymore. So find what works for you. For me, I like the talking head videos. I'll usually record them after having a conversation with a client or a team member or one of my students in the Savvy Social School.
Usually they'll ask something like, Hey Andréa, should I have two Instagram accounts? Or one? And I'm like, oh, I have so many thoughts on this. And so I'll share my thoughts with them and then after the call hang up and then I go, this makes a really good Instagram reel. So either I write it down in my little Google Keep app or I will just film it right then. Should you have one Instagram account or two? Here's my thoughts. So that's what works for me, but find what works for you. I recently released a mini $9 product called Be Your Own B-Roll. And this is another thing that works really well for Instagram reels, is having kind of like that b-roll in the background and just putting some text on top. And for some of our members, this is like such a relief.
Our clients too, they're like, oh, I can batch record a ton of these and y'all can keep reusing them again and again. I'm like, yes. But for some people they're like, I don't want my face on camera at all. This doesn't work for me. Great, that's fine. We'll find other ways you can use Canva and, and post to reels. You don't have to have every little thing look exactly like what everyone else is doing. Find what works for you and it'll be a lot easier to continue to create content again and again. I think that the burnout comes from trying so hard to do something that doesn't really work for you. Okay? So figure out what works for you. Keep doing that. Ignore the rest.
What do you think? Are you gonna try Instagram reels? DM me on Instagram at onlinedrea, I would love to hear from you. I also love a good voice DM. Usually if you send me a voice, I'll send you a voice one back. So if you're feeling brave, say that or you can do text only. I'm cool with that too. And I'll be back at you with another episode soon. Bye.