Is Instagram Reels a carbon copy of TikTok, or is there more to it than on first impression? What can you actually do with it as an artist trying to market their music?
If you aren’t familiar with this particular Instagram feature, Reels videos are great for growing a fan base, as well as engaging with your existing audience. In this blog post, we’re revealing 7 tips on how to best use Instagram Reels to your advantage as a musician. Tip 7 is extra special and we haven’t seen it being used anywhere else.
But first things first, for those of you who are unfamiliar with how to use Reels, let us take you through the basics.
How Do You Use Instagram Reels?
You might have seen Reels on your Instagram feed, but maybe not played with it, so here’s a quick rundown of the basics.
Swipe right or click your profile icon to enter the Instagram stories page (and be sure to keep an eye on story feature updates as they are often exciting too). Swipe to the right again, and you’ll see Reels as an option at the bottom.
You can see it has a few options:
Instagram Reels Audio
In audio, you can search Instagram’s music catalogue to pick a song you want to use. You can even use your own song if your distributor has put it on there.
Instagram Reels Speed
You can adjust the speed of your video here, depending on the purpose of your video, e.g. if you want to dance or lip-sync to it.
Instagram Reels Effects
Here we have effects, which is similar to Instagram story effects. If you scroll all the way to the right, you can browse through them and choose one to enhance your video.
Instagram Reels Timer
This is pretty self-explanatory – set the length of your clip.
Ready, Set, Reel…
When you have chosen your audio and effects, you are ready to hit record and upload to your feed, or share on your story.
If you are already a TikTok user and have created content there, then using Instagram Reels will likely be a piece of cake for you!
How To Use Instagram Reels To Get More Fans
Since Reels is part of Instagram, you probably already have an audience there to build on. There are definitely a few differences and ways to make good use of each platform, but here are 7 tips to help you effectively use Instagram Reels as an artist promoting your music.
Tip #1: Share to Feed
Make sure you share it on your feed! There is a little slide button that some people seem to miss.
This needs to be on, as you want it to show up on your personal feed. When Reels are on your feed, your audience is going to see it without having to go onto the Reels category, so you’re more likely to get discovered and be on the Explore page.
By selecting this option, you stand to gain more fans as Instagram’s algorithm will push your Reel out to more people and potentially create more views and engagement.
Tip #2: Don’t Beat Around The Bush
You need to get to the point quickly! You have a maximum of 30 seconds, so you need to hook someone in and engage them within the first few seconds, either with some text, something funny or explaining what you are going to do. Essentially, something to make people stick around. (Originally, Reels was limited to 15 seconds, but Instagram quickly made changes to this in an update).
There is no point talking to the camera for too long and wasting any time, because if people swipe away from your Reel, then Instagram will deem that your content isn’t engaging enough to be pushed out. Much like TikTok, watch time is the most critical measure for the Instagram algorithm, not views or likes.
Tip #3: Push Engagement
Although watch time is essential to Instagram, engagement is vital to you. You should try to engage people and get them to comment and like as well.
This can be done really simply. If you are doing a remix, you can ask your audience what cover you should do next in the text caption or pose another question, like this:
It creates a close sense of community which is really important for musicians and shows that you are interested in your fans too, not just how many likes or followers you gain from them.
Tip #4: Hashtags
They might not be as useful for discovery anymore, but hashtags are still effective on Reels as there aren’t many people on it. Yet. So get on it whilst the competition is low and make the most of it!
If you use TikTok too, you’ll know that their hashtags can get you discovered, so do some research on hashtags that crossover with popular ones and which ones fit with your style, or theme.
Tip #5: Nail Your Cover Image
An enticing cover image is key for drawing people in.
This is exactly the same as if you were going to upload a video onto your Instagram, or YouTube for that matter. You want the cover image to be intriguing so that the casual scroller will stop when they see it and take interest. The more people that stop to click and view, the better it is for you.
Tip #6: Keep it Consistent
This tip is valid for all your social media platforms, but especially Reels as it’s fairly new. Essentially, make sure you have a consistent theme running through your content.
If someone discovers you through Reels, visits your profile and your theme is inconsistent, they’re unlikely to stick around. When there isn’t an obvious correlation between the content, potential fans have no reason to hit the follow button as you aren’t providing a clear image of what you’re actually about.
Getting one viral video on Reels is great, but it won’t get you far if the rest of your content is completely different. Our advice is to post as much as you can, as long as you maintain quality. If that is only once a week, so be it, but if it’s once a day, even better.
Tip #7: Captions
This is the final and most important tip! Add captions or subtitles to your Reels video. Why?Because in this respect, Instagram is very different to TikTok. TikTok was created with audio in mind, and people automatically put the sound on to listen.
Instagram users don’t necessarily use the app with the sound on. Yes, perhaps if there are looking at stories, but not while they are looking through the feed.
When creating your video, you have to keep in mind that there will be people watching your reel without sound. To counteract this, you’ll either have to get people to turn the sound on (using a sticker or text) or creatively deliver your message with subtitles so people know what’s going on.
Now Is The Time To Use Reels
You are more likely to get a fan base through Reels right now because there isn’t much competition.
So jump straight on it, and if you have any questions about Reels or Instagram as a whole, make sure you drop a comment.