The Lion's Den

The “Reel” Way to Market

Instagram Marketing

Instagram has been heavily investing in Reels, its short-form video content feature, in response to TikTok’s rapid rise in popularity in recent years. Here’s what you need to know.

Two girls filming a reel

More than 50% of all internet users spend time watching online video content every day. The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video and people who watch a product video are more than 85% more likely to buy the product than those who don’t. Video content provides a unique opportunity for brands to help their story come to life and connect with current and potential customers in a fun and engaging way.

Instagram Reels, released in 2020, allows users to record and edit short-form videos set to music or other audio a la TikTok. Just last month, Instagram announced they’d be doing away with IGTV, which launched in 2015 to provide users the ability to scroll through a feed of content without having to search or browse through a directory.

Instagram was smart to focus resources in this direction given the evolving trends and demand for short, engaging videos – and this move has been a vital component of the team’s strategy to keep users (and therefore advertising dollars) on the platform.

Guy and girl filming a reel

What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels are 15-second videos that can have music and visual effects. Reels are a direct competitor of TikTok and another way for brands to connect with their target consumers on social media, and their viral potential and promotion beyond followers makes them essential for any brand looking to supercharge their social media strategy.

These videos allow users to take advantage of a variety of editing tools including filters, text and sound. Users can also use the music function to add songs and audio from other reels to their own, which increases the likelihood of your Reels appearing on Instagram’s explore page and reaching a wider audience.

Reels is intended for fun and spontaneous content, which makes it a great way for brands to establish themselves as relatable and engaging.

IG Reels are excellent for:

  • Showing off your product in action
  • Highlighting your brand story
  • Educating your audience on how to use your product or service
  • Building brand loyalty with behind-the-scenes videos
  • Engaging with followers through challenges or contests

How do you post a Reel?

To post a Reel, start by clicking the plus sign on the top of your feed and selecting “Reel”. You can also start from the Reels section itself (the middle icon on the bottom of the page) and and click the camera icon in the top right corner.

You can make edits to the video, like adding sounds or visual effects right on Instagram using their in-app editing features, or upload a finished video that you’ve edited in a video editing app.

Once you’re happy with the reel, you can add a caption and tags, choose where to share it (on your feed or just on Reels), edit your privacy settings and then post.

Woman putting on makeup

What should I post in a Reel?

Many brands hesitate to take the plunge into Reels and other video content because they’re not quite sure what to post; while product photography and a simple caption might suffice for a photo post, there’s an additional creativity component required with video which can feel intimidating. 

When it comes to defining your video content strategy, and content strategy in general, it’s important to remember your brand voice and personality in addition to the types of content your target audience might engage with. As a general rule you want your video content to catch the viewer’s attention quickly and get them excited about learning more so they watch the video all the way through. 

Some popular categories of Reels content include: 

  • Educational content: This is a great way to show off your expertise and potentially generate leads for your business.
  • Entertaining content: This could be anything from jokes to skits to random challenges that you think people would find funny or relatable.
  • Product-filled content: Sometimes it’s best to just cut out the middleman and tell people about your product or service directly! You can even combine this with educational or entertaining content if you want.
  • How-to content: These are typically instructional videos with a step-by-step guide on how to do something, like cooking recipes or makeup tutorials.


If it seems daunting to add generating yet another form of content to your team’s social media and marketing strategy, consider leaning on the support of experts in the space – influencers. Brands can collaborate with influencers to create engaging, relatable content on Reels and benefit from the additional exposure of their followers as well as the influencers’ familiarity with and expertise in creating engaging content.