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To IG Reel Or Not To IG Reel

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

Do Reels and TikTok Videos Really Help Your Business?
Update: January 9, 2021

In the digital age of TikTok and Reels, it seems like every single day there is a new video going viral from people who aren’t A-list celebrities, but more like you and me. As a marketer, I love the idea behind what TikTok and Reels represent, but as someone who is burnt out on social media outside of work, I can’t help but eyeroll over the absurdity of it all. Personally, I just don’t care for the trend. On the flip side, I have a job to do as a marketer which includes taking an analytical look at what these trends can do for my target audience and my clients.

Until recently I had never made a TikTok video or a Reels video and had no real desire to make that change any time soon. But I knew that I would be doing a disservice to my clients if I didn’t at least start to venture into those territories to get a better understanding as to how it all works and find the benefits of them.

Time To Experiment

My ideal clients are primarily on Instagram and Facebook, so I decided that doing a Reels video would be better than doing a TikTok video. I decided it would be a good idea to run a little experiment of static image posts versus IG Reels. I wanted to keep as many constant variables the same except for the format of the posts (static image versus video). I would use two posts that I ran on a Motivation Monday and a Wednesday Wisdom and repurpose them into Reels. I kept the messaging the same, posted on the same days and times for two consecutive weeks and ran an analysis on how well each performed. I even decided to take it one step further and use the same Reels videos to post on Facebook as well.

Making a Reels video was definitely not easy, and I felt extremely clumsy and elementary with my attempts. Even though I read some tutorials and watched some quick videos, I still didn’t feel I had “nailed it”. Because I don’t have a ton of followers, IG only lets you do a limited set of actions with Reels. I didn’t take that into account initially during my planning phase and had to rethink what I wanted to do with it. But, in the name of marketing science, it would just have to do. Despite my insecurities of feeling like I had botched everything, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a little bit of fun experimenting with it.

But Can It Help?

I can see how some industries could really have fun with their marketing messages through creating Reels or a TikTok video. It would be great for tutorials, comedic engagement, show a before and after, collaborate with other IG users and even show multiple outfits, hair styles or makeup looks. Because Reels is limited to 15 seconds, that forces you to capture your audience right away. This also allows you to take a longer video and repurpose it into smaller videos, providing you with more content to post.

The creativity it requires to make a TikTok video or Reels could help you expand into some new ways to share content. Because it has been proven that seeing a human face on social media posts outperform any other types of images, Reels and TikTok provide another way for you to show up for your audience.

Survey Says?

It was no surprise that video would reign as king, but that still didn’t make me want to hop on the bandwagon any time soon. The results did however surprise me a little bit as to how much of a difference the insights provided. Hands down, my Reels videos circulated a reach that was triple, if not more sometimes than if I had used just a static image. The reach, view and impressions were the numbers that surprised me the most with the first one topping at 252 plays on Instagram alone! The engagement however, was about the same as the static image.

So can Reels and TikTok help with your engagement? The simple answer is more than likely, but some types of content don’t necessarily translate well into video formats. The best approach is to determine how best to convey your marketing message and weigh out the pros and cons of each type of format (image vs. carousel vs. infographic vs. IGTV vs. Reels). As always, make sure that you are creating engaging content that your audience can relate to, connect with, help solve one of their problems or teach them something new.

Additionally, make sure you are keeping in mind where your ideal client and target audience would be spending their time. If it’s on TikTok, then making TikTok videos would greatly benefit you. But if you just don’t feel it would add value to your business, there isn’t a great need for you to do them - unless you just enjoy making those types of videos. The same can be said of Instagram and Reels. If you find your audience is primarily on LinkedIn, doing a Reels video or TikTok video might not contribute any tangible value to your business.

Because my Reels videos outperformed my static posts so much, I feel confident in saying that Reels and TikTok are here to stay. I’m still on the fence with how I feel about Reels personally, but I think since the numbers don’t lie, you will see some more Reels videos sprinkled in with my content. I’m sure after I make a few more of them I won’t feel so awkward and clumsy with them.

Update: As of January 2021, I will be using more TikTok and Reels. I think that after a few attempts of both I feel more comfortable making these types of video. I find that TikTok is more user friendly than IG Reels are because it doesn't limit what features you can use.

I also found that you can create a TikTok video, using all of the features you want, saving it to your phone and then sharing it in Reels to accomplish the same goal. It shows IG that you are using their features (which they prioritize over accounts that don't) and allows you to add music (something that not all IG accounts have access to).

I hope that you found this analysis to be helpful. If you need social media marketing help for your business, reach out to me! I love researching new and fun ways to steer content strategies.

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