New Instagram Reel Features Give Your Business Real Advantages
If our team of social media marketing experts has discovered anything in the last two years, it's that when it comes to Instagram marketing, Reels are the real deal.
And we think that's part of why Instagram recently added new features that will allow businesses (like yours) to tell stories more deeply, increase audience engagement, and make creating videos easier.
History of Instagram Reels
When Instagram launched Reels in August 2020, they expected personal users to embrace the unique opportunity to grow their audiences. After all, TikTok had already gained significant traction with short, full-screen video clips that included audio and visual effects.
But one unexpected trend was how businesses have been able to effectively use the content to help them connect with a vast audience, increase brand awareness, and boost sales.
While Instagram had always been a valuable platform for businesses and marketers, Reels created new opportunities. The highly engaging video format offers significant reach that helps brands quickly grow their audiences.
Before we discuss some of the new Reels features that will improve your social media marketing plan, let's review the basics of Instagram Reels.
Instagram Reels 101
These short videos with audio and visual effects are essentially hybrid content that combines Stories with Posts. They have a similar format and feel as Stories. But like typical posts on your feed, Reels can include captions that users can expand.
People can also interact with Reels with likes, shares, and comments. If your audience enjoys your Reels content, they can easily follow your account by clicking the "Follow" button next to the brand name above the caption.
Reels are technically a "separate" type of content housed in their own tab, but they also appear in users' feeds. When displayed in-feed, Reels are cropped to the standard vertical post format, but your audience can use the "Watch Reels" option in the bottom corner of the video to navigate into the full Reels view.
How engaged are audiences with Instagram Reel videos? The number of views online videos across social media platforms generate has nearly doubled in the past four years, so it has become an important tool in many marketers' toolboxes. That's especially true of Reels.
According to Instagram, public accounts with more than 10,000 followers who posted at least five reels in a 60-day period gained an astonishing 250 percent more followers than those in the same category who did not post Reels.
5 New Instagram Reels Features
So, what about these new Reel features that are expected to boost user engagement even more? There are several new creative ways to engage with your audience, attract viewers and express your brand.
Increased Reel time to 90 seconds
When Instagram introduced Reels in 2020, the short-form videos had a maximum length of 60 seconds. But now, you'll have more time to share.
Instagram has increased its time limit for Reels from 60 seconds to 90 seconds. With 30 more seconds available, you'll have even more time to educate and engage with your target audience.
Here's something to keep in mind, though. Sometimes, more isn't always better. Just because you have 30 more seconds doesn't mean you should use it all just because you can.
The last thing you'll want to do is use the extra time to unnecessarily repeat yourself or complicate your message. Don't communicate something in 90 seconds when 60 seconds will do the job. Or even less.
Access to Video Templates
While informative and engaging Reels make for impactful Instagram marketing, they also take forethought and time to create. And sometimes, inspiration for Reels can be hard to come by.
Instagram will now allow you to use another video as a template when creating your own Reels. You can use pre-loaded audio and clip placeholders from source videos, which means you will only need to add and trim your own unique clips. This helps you recreate more complex formats.
This templating option is also a more straightforward way to create Reels – especially if your marketing team is new to using short-form videos for marketing.
Ability to Use Interactive Stickers
Stickers aren't new to Instagram — business and personal users already include them in Stories. But now, they can be used in Instagram Reels, too. But why use stickers? Because they typically attract more engagement from followers or your audience.
Interactive stickers on Reels are providing new opportunities for your audience to engage with your content through polls, quizzes, and emoji sliders.
But again, don't overdo it with too many stickers. When used wisely, your viewers won't think twice about tapping your sticker. So be very intentional about using this new feature in your Reels.
Increased Sound Effect Library
Sound effects add plenty of value when it comes to videos. They often provide a more interactive and exciting twist than a human voice going on and on.
And when it comes to choosing an appropriate sound effect for your Reel, the bigger the variety, the better. That's why Instagram has added new sounds into their collection to help you inject humor or emotion into your Reels.
Like delivering the punchline to a joke, timing is everything when adding sound effects or music to a Reel. Adding the right sound at just the right time makes your content stand out. Instagram is giving you more options with the addition of sound effects to its music library.
From crickets to drums and other sound effects, Instagram's refreshed collection of sound effects will help you spark the emotion and response you're looking for from your viewers.
If you're looking for a specific sound for your video, you can search for it in the music library just like you'd search for a song when creating a Reel.
Capability to Import Your Own Audio
Audio and music are very instrumental (no pun intended) in kick-starting trends in short-form videos like Reels. And while it's good to have plenty of "stock" audio options, it's also essential to have the capability to use your own audio in your Reels.
Instagram can make that happen. You can now import audio directly within your Reels. This can add commentary or background noise to videos 5 seconds or longer on your camera roll. This is a big advantage because sometimes, the audio you have in mind for a Reel isn't part of Instagram's library. It will also allow you to add a more personal touch to your Reels.
If your audio is appealing to other Reel creators, they will have the ability to save and use it, too. The most significant benefit is that your Reel will receive exposure to a larger audience.
Instagram marketing is a powerful way to reach your followers and would-be customers with important and engaging content. These new Reels features give you more resources and capabilities than ever to be as creative and interactive as you want.
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