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  • Writer's pictureJake Bolling

Instagram Reels: Do You Need Them?

What are Instagram Reels? Breaking down Instagram’s latest feature.

Earlier this month, Instagram released its rival to the short-form video app TikTok, Reels. If there’s anything Instagram is good at, it’s copying its competitors’ best features and expanding on them. And if Instagram Stories are any indicator of that, then we can expect Reels to keep growing in the future, so it’s going to be worth knowing how to use.

Luckily, Reels is a very simple tool. To shoot a “reel,” you just swipe left to the camera after opening Instagram, and then select reels from the bottom menu.

The way reels are made is identical to TikToks. You can choose a song (and which part you want specifically) to play over your video, apply video effects, and adjust the playback speed. You can also use the timer (which tells the camera to wait for 0-5 seconds before beginning to shoot) to get some really creative shots.

Should you make “Reels?”





Great question. The reason why is because this short-form video-style is blowing up FAST. Faster than any other app in fact. TikTok has an estimated 80 million users in the US, 80% of which are between 16 and 34, with the number of millennial users (aged between 24-38) growing even higher thanks to COVID-19.


But how does this all relate to Instagram? Well, as I’m sure we’ve all seen on the news, President Trump wants to ban TikTok in the US because of privacy concerns. If that were to happen, all of its most popular creators would most likely flock to YouTube (as they did when Vine shut down in 2016) and/or Instagram (the most popular social media platform for that age demographic right now). And if that happens, Reels will become huge.

Watching the Reels platform grow is like getting front row seats to a movie, except you get to decide how the movie ends too. Whenever you’re an early adopter of something, you usually end up leading the pack, so you might as well give Reels a shot. I mean, it’s free after all too, so why not add some value to your customers’ lives through 15-second videos?

What businesses do best on Reels? Some must work better than others, obviously?

That’s right. Some businesses do better than others in any medium. You wouldn’t put an ad for Absolut outside of a rehab facility, would you? (At least I hope not)

If your business has customers between the ages of 13 and 40, you’ve got a good shot at expanding that demographic by making Reels. Another reason it will work is because, like TikTok, the Reels algorithm is more merit-based than follower-count-based. Like TikTok, Instagram shows your videos to other people in your local area, and based on how they perform, shows them to more and more people, until eventually your real is a featured reel (which they’ll notify you about). If you make it that far, you might as well get some champagne because that will be huge!

The types of videos that do best on Reels are entertaining, informative, or shocking. It’s so easy to swipe past a video on the Reels platform, so you need to capture your audience’s attention quickly (don’t be afraid to seem clickbait-y!), hold onto it with suspense, and then make the ending worthwhile enough that they’ll engage with your video in a positive way (by liking, commenting, and/or sharing).

Here’s what you need to know about making Reels

It may seem backwards, but nowadays, people want the experience of using your product more than the physical product, and your advertising must mirror that. So instead of making Reels showing off your cool product and all of its nice features, you want to make Reels showing the experience of using your product and those people enjoying its benefits.

One great example of this is all of the plastic surgeons, dentists, and chiropractors on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. In the past 2-3 years, it has become a viral trend for doctors to show off their process online. People eat it up.

Dentists will give close-up shots of their tooth work, chiropractors will show off their alignment tables and various techniques, and plastic surgeons will show before and after shots of their work. All to the tune of multiple millions of views.

If you’re a part of a service business, the link is clear. Show off the process and the satisfied customer at the end, and your videos will definitely get some steam.

If you have a product, though, you can still apply this strategy, you just need to be more creative. If you make a product that improves peoples’ lives, like a golf aid, then you can just show people using it, and give other general tips that are relevant to whatever industry you’re in. If you make a food, you can compile a bunch of clips of the preparation, of the serving (i.e., cutting pasta shells open to show the gooey, delicious insides).

Ultimately, the best way to succeed is to be creative with it.

Wrapping It All Up

The best way to succeed is to be creative with it. I said it again. If you want to succeed on Reels, you simply have to spend a little bit of time watching them, seeing what works for similar businesses, and then build off of that. It takes time, but if you commit to producing frequent content that adds value to your customers life, then it will pay off.

When in doubt, remember SLIP IT. You want to make content that:

Makes people (S)mile

Makes people (L)augh

(I)nforms (tells you something you didn’t know)

(P)rovokes (evokes an emotional response)

(I)nvolves (forms a connection that suggests a reaction)

Makes people (T)hink

S.L.I.P. I.T.

Wrapping It All Up

If this all seems like a lot, you can always hire an agency to do it for you. The benefit of this is peace of mind, knowing your account is in the hands of a local expert, and convenience. You could hire an intern to manage your Instagram account at minimum wage, but you won't know it's any good. When you hire an agency, you get the most value at the lowest cost.

BOLT is the fastest-growing boutique agency in New York and Miami, and we’ve helped many businesses grow their online presences during this stressful period. We'll even give you 10% off your first month working with us as a thank you for reading all the way down and helping out our SEO!

Regardless, we hope you find success on Instagram. It's truly possible for any business. 390 THOUSAND (390,000) people follow an account that showcases CARPETS for God's sake (@myhotelcarpet), so you can definitely find a couple thousand to follow your business too.


Thank you for reading our article. If you liked these tips, you can find more on our Instagram @BoltMGMT or on our Facebook, BOLT Consulting


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