It’s impossible to scroll through your Instagram feed today without finding at least one, if not several, eye-catching videos known as Reels. Called the TikTok clone, the Instagram reels were released in 2020 and consist of short videos of up to one minute in length. The feature has overtaken the app’s photo philosophy, with 91 percent of active Instagram users saying they participate with video content on a weekly basis. And can you blame them? It’s easy to quickly immerse yourself in a seemingly endless cycle of engaging content.
In addition to being very popular, Reels is also proving to be a good business strategy for both content creators and businesses. A recent New York Times article detailed how Instagram’s latest algorithm favors accounts that roll. For many, this news means targeting their marketing strategies to include Reels as a way to make sure their engagement rate stays high. So if you’ve been considering switching to video content, now is the time!
Instagram rollers can help your brand stay relevant while allowing for more creativity in how you showcase your product or service. Instead of relying on still images, videos allow you to speak directly with customers, market products in depth, and overlay your posts with music and trend-editing techniques that make them more appealing to your followers. Here’s how three small businesses successfully use Instagram Reels:
Shairy Cards: The reels led to branded deals
Shairy Aroro runs a small business that creates handmade greeting cards, among other crafts like his fan-favorite explosive gift boxes, and documents the entire process via Instagram. He placed his first personalized order for a customer in 2017 and has since grown his business, along with his number of followers. He currently has over 50,000 followers and has released dozens of Reels, to which he attributes his success. In response to a question from a user who asked him how he got so many followers, Shairy replied, “For fans, do Reels.”
Shairy’s first Reel was released in 2020 and currently has 17,000 views, a tiny amount compared to the figures his recent Reels are getting. This video of Shairy giving the final touches to one of his products has been viewed over 88,000 times. Another Reel where she makes hot pink pompoms got two million impressive views. The influencer has attributed the growth of his business to his passion for crafting, along with documentation of his online process, “I literally had no idea how far I would go with this. It was just a hobby and I went I feel great about spending time doing something I’ve always liked … I kept posting my work and people started noticing it, ”she said in her Instagram stories.
And that same passion has provided him with new business opportunities, not only by growing his customer base but also through brand offerings. This year, Shairy partnered with Paperedge India to create a series of rollers on fuse tools. The series talks about the range that Instagram Reels allows for content creators and small businesses. Instead of posting only still photos of his projects, Shairy was able to interact with more viewers when he began posting Reels highlighting all the details and intricacies of his work, such as this video where he unpacks one of his craft projects.
Shairy has said that he is constantly working on customer orders and has even recently hired an assistant to help him with his crafts as his business is expanding and thriving.
Jessica Ngyuen: A favorite cult product developed through Reels
Jessica Nguyen’s characteristic chili oil, Chili Oil On Everything, is a perfect example of a product born through Instagram. After being fired from her corporate job in early 2020, Jessica decided to invest time on her Instagram as a way to try new recipes. The influencer soon made a name for herself with her videos of decadent food, while offering viewers tips on how to organize the perfect dinner. His Reels stand out from other food influencers for being highly produced and stylized, like this one, where he teaches viewers how to put on individual utensils with elegance.
He began to gain followers immediately and realized that one of his particular recipes, his chili oil, was by far the most popular. In August 2020, he created a small batch in favor of a friend’s business competition and announced it on his Instagram, marking his first Reel. Although he explicitly stated that the product was not for sale, he began receiving online inquiries from dozens of followers asking if they could buy it as well. This pushed Jessica to take a risk and officially sell her chili oil.
After figuring out a bit of logistics, Jessica started making the oil and left the first batch less than a year after she was fired. And so his small business was born. More than 1,000 units had been sold out in one month. Her subsequent product drops have been successful, and the entrepreneur’s fourth batch will be released sometime in 2022. Judging by the comments left by her followers, they may not have enough. “Woo Hoo !!! I bought my 6 jars,” says one commenter. Another says, “I’m finishing my order for lot number 3. I hope the February 2022 drop isn’t too far off.”
The fact that Jessica started out as a food influencer with no clear plans to launch her own business only speaks to the power of Instagram Reels as a potentially strong advertising medium for entrepreneurs. As she says, “What started out as a humble recipe shared on my Instagram is now a cult product and condiment that many can’t get enough of!”
RachaelsGoodEats: A fitness business built through Reels
Rachael DeVaux has been a longtime Instagram influencer, registered dietitian and trainer who has been posting on healthy recipes and fitness since 2015. In 2020, however, the influencer’s Instagram page expanded thanks to the power of Instagram Reels, and eventually led her to its co-founding. your own fitness business.
When the pandemic first hit and people were no longer exercising in gyms, Rachael started doing real-time home workouts in her Instagram lives and noticed a huge increase in viewership. Their IG Lives became so popular that they hosted them several times throughout the week and even celebrated their first birthday. Once Instagram released Reels in August 2020, Rachael began posting fitness videos as a way to complement her live workouts. He released his first training Reel (banded glute warm-ups) on August 18, 2020. The Reel received over 400,000 views and 10,000 likes. A similar training reel from December of that year has been seen more than 250,000 times.
Although Rachael had posted training content before, this was the first time she did so via fast, timely videos, which became a hit on Instagram. His reels were so popular that Rachael increased his followers from 400,000 by the end of 2019 to over 620,000 today.
The influencer brand had expanded enough that she could launch her own fitness equipment business in mid-2021 called Sweat Recreation. In a post, Rachael credited the creation of the company to her followers: and I “I’m very honored to trust myself as a coach every week we did our live workouts.”
In March 2022, Rachael launched Recreation Sweat products and said the drop in merchandise was running out faster than expected, proving that her business is thriving with the customer base she has created through Instagram Reels .
What’s the difference between TikTok and Instagram Reels?
Instagram rollers are considered to be Meta’s answer to TikToks, so it’s no surprise that these two apps are so familiar. In fact, because they are so similar, you may be wondering on which platform you should invest your time. The answer depends. If you or your team have the bandwidth to keep up with various social networking sites, there’s no harm in posting on both platforms. After all, it’s never too late to get started on TikTok. But if you’re someone who doesn’t have much time left over and is already on Instagram, here are some reasons why it’s probably best to keep up with Instagram Reels.
Instead of starting from scratch on TikTok, it might be better to focus on growing your Instagram account. While millions of people use both apps on a daily basis, you should also consider your target audience and ask yourself which app your customers spend most of their time on. More than 43 percent of Tiktok’s global audience is between the ages of 18 and 24, while Instagram’s main demographic is slightly older between the ages of 25 and 34.
Instagram reals can only last up to a minute, but users can create TikToks for up to 10 minutes. This longer duration can allow for more creativity, but it also means more work for content creators and small business owners to plan and edit these videos. On the other hand, the rollers are small in size and will not be a headache to produce.
While TikTok is very popular, the platform’s interface has no infrastructure to encourage viewers to buy products. With Instagram, small businesses can use links and the shopping tab to not only advertise their products, but also allow viewers to buy items without leaving the app. According to Instagram, more than 130 million users participate with monthly shopping posts, making it a great channel to increase sales.
Ultimately, we’ve been happy to see that Instagram Reels has created new opportunities for brands to advertise and sell their products creatively. Do you have another question about Instagram? Send us a DM!