Let’s get Reel

Account Strategist

Salony Saxena

16 Apr 2021

Ask anyone which social media platform boomed in 2020, they’ll say TikTok. Ask us which platform responded the fastest, we’ll say Instagram. Within months of TikTok seeing its numbers explode, Instagram launched Reels. Whether or not Reels will outgrow TikTok remains to be seen, but we’ve certainly seen its potential in the last months. So it’s time to get real about Reels and tell you what we’ve learned so far!

Hacking the unhackable algorithm

It’s no secret that Instagram’s algorithm remains, in fact, a well-kept secret. The addition of Reels doesn’t change this, but it did create a new opportunity for brands and creators: the opportunity to go viral. Hold up, haven’t we been saying that it’s (almost) impossible to go viral on social anymore? We have. Where TikTok was the exception to this with its “For You” page, Instagram Reels now works the same way.

An addictive vertical-scrolling format, a front-and-center “Explore” page, more placement possibilities and the fact that the mysterious algorithm tends to ‘reward’ using the latest format… All of these contribute to some Reels exploding in terms of impressions - like Action Netherlands' Reels getting over a 100K impressions each time, sometimes even 200K, and this without any media budget!

Don’t change… Evolve!

Of course, the success of a Reel isn’t just determined by simply publishing one. What we’ve learned so far is that creation is key. For a brand, that doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel, but evolving and extending your content strategy into Reels.

Action knows their audience, knows what kind of content they like and translated that into snappy, vertical content. The Reels might be filmed differently with faster editing and more cuts, but they remained true to what people want from Action on social.

For Nikon Benelux, our latest ‘tips & tricks’ Reels are a natural extension of the rest of our Instagram content, which is all about nurturing and inspiring the photography community. The format has allowed us to further claim the expert role of Nikon - but in a fun, short and sweet, social kinda way.


Keeping it Reel

That brings us to our last, but nonetheless very important learning after a few months of Reels: keeping it real (pun intended). We’ve seen that the best performing Reels are hyper-social in the way they’re made and edited. On top of that, younger audiences on social tend to be more critical and they expect Reels to fit in and be authentic, so leaving overt branding behind and editing in-app (sometimes scary from a brand POV) can also be the way to go.

To conclude our first experience with Reels: how a brand should approach it is, of course, unique for each brand, but we’ve seen great first results and we are definitely keeping an eye on what the future holds for this new feature…