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Opinion

Get Reel: Driving Engagement Through Influencer Reel Content

With Instagram’s newest feature, Reels, really taking off in the months after it was announced, influencers are finding more ways to drive their engagement and reach new audiences. Here's how brands can drive engagement through Reel content.

With Instagram’s newest feature quickly taking off only months after it was announced, influencers are finding more ways to drive their engagement and reach new audiences through Instagram Reels. This, in turn, creates an opportunity for brands to maximise their engagement if you use it right. 

This year has seen the exponential rise in Tik Tok presence, and whilst it isn’t confirmed as to whether Instagram’s new feature is a direct response to this, or if it’s something they have had in the pipeline for a while, it is evident that Reels offer a new way for influencers and brands to engage with their audiences. 

This new content format has got users excited, and has given influencers numerous possibilities to drive that all important engagement rate.

How can brands utilise influencer Reel content?

So, what is the best way for brands to cash in and utilise influencer Reel content to their full potential? Reels can add an extra element to any brand – be it launching a campaign through a slick edited video à la Louis Vuitton or reposting your best performing Tik Tok to gain over 4 million views like ASOS. It may seem like more work for the creators, but if you’re savvy about how and what you post, you can make content go further. 

Whilst Reels aren’t immediately visible upon opening the app, over half of users who spend time on the explore page regularly will be able to access the ‘Reels Feed’. Enabling Instagrammers who aren’t following your page to watch your content without intentionally looking for it. This is a BIG deal for influencers and brands looking to promote their content and reach a new audience. Using hashtags, text, and eye-catching captions is a sure-fire way to stop someone scrolling and gain those views, likes and comments. 

This Instagram feature is performing well in its own right, so it would be smart to treat it like Tik Tok and really tune in to what the viewers want. As a rule, brands that have done well on this new video platform are also performing amazingly on Reels; they know how to secure interest as well as what trends their audience will engage with. The trick is to show authenticity, originality and most importantly, have fun. The more personable, approachable and human you can be the better, Gen Z all fancy themselves as influencers and seeing their idols with their favourite brands rolled into one is a win-win. 

Reel brand examples

The popularity of Tik Tok is undoubted, and the possibilities for brands to utilise Instagram’s newest addition in a similar way are endless. The inclusion of influencers in these videos is a no-brainer if you have the budget and time to find the most effective and captivating ways to feature them. ASOS had the right idea and have been using reels constantly of late.

Their constant staple of @denisemmercedes and @mariacastellanos_ri showing outfit options across both the straight size and curve collections is a triumph. These two friends cycle through identical outfit options showing no matter what size you are, ASOS has got something for you. The brand really is trailblazing the use of influencer reels and solely showcases content creators in their creations. It brings a welcome sense of variety and makes them humbly personable, something which a lot of brands could learn from. 

If we take a look at world renowned makeup company Sephora’s collaboration with beauty influencer @ryanbpotter, you can really see how brands can get it right. Releasing their first reel to their 20.3 million followers, Sephora’s online presence has only grown. From this content they racked up over 2 million views and nearly 30k likes which is a substantial rise compared to their past video posts and any number of video posts since. 

In the video, Ryan uses a random number generator to decide the colours of his eyeshadow and creates a colourful eye-catching look. He then challenges viewers to do the same and share their results. This call-to-action is a simple yet effective way to get people engaged and could coax people to the Sephora site to purchase the colourful palette mentioned. Since jumping on the Reels bandwagon early on, their presence as a brand has only grown, gaining nearly 20k followers in the first week of reels launching alone. 

Dip you toe into the culture with Reels

Outside of the fashion and beauty industry, an unlikely competitor for the reels crown is biscuit sensation, Oreo. This month they launched their rainbow cookies for LGBTQ+ history month and did so in style with a fun video collaborating with American influencer Amber Whittington (@amberscloset). The reel is shared on both Amber’s page and Oreos’s, gaining them 2,000 followers on the day it was posted. Whilst this video isn’t necessarily a top performer for the category, it acted as an effective signpost to their #proudparent campaign and led viewers to a giveaway they can enter. 

It looks like Instagram have made a calculated play with their Reels feature, and any brand hesitant to make that move to Tik Tok can absolutely dip their toe into the culture with Reels, without the need to build a new audience. Reels allows brands to be creative and experimental – everything from challenges, lip-syncs and product placement can be trialled and is likely to get the engagement rate climbing.

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