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One of the tricks of making digital marketing work best for you is to use the platforms you are on the way the platform wants you to use it.
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One of the tricks of making digital marketing work best for you is to use the platforms you are on the way the platform wants you to use it.

OPINION: It’s official. I’m addicted to Instagram’s newest ploy to get people interacting on its platform.

Or rather, I’m addicted to contributing to it.

One of the tricks of making digital marketing work best for you is to use the platforms you are on the way the platform wants you to use it. So on Facebook, that means using a certain amount of text in posts, not sounding too salesy and making your posts not look like ads.

And on Instagram, since late last year, it’s meant using Reels.

Reels are short (up to 30 second) videos that show a snippet or thought. They are often pushed out beyond your follower numbers, and give you the perfect opportunity to attract new followers who might want what you are selling.

If you are like the majority of my clients, reels are just another way to add angst into your marketing action plan. Like all activity, it’s really important to see if it’s something you need or not – and to do that, you need to first understand them.

If Instagram is where your customers are consuming content, then you need to be on there. If you are on there, then I strongly recommend using reels

Reels help increase your reach, show the personality of your brand, and helps people find a connection with you and your business. With all the competition on the internet, the only thing that sets your business apart from your competitors quickly is you – so showing up helps people work out if you are “their kind of people”

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To create my reels I use my phone, and an app called INSHOT, which is a phone video editing app. I’m really not very techy and have taught 70-year-olds to use it. It’s simple. It hurt my head and took ages the first few goes, but I can go from idea to completing a reel ready to post within 15 to 20 minutes these days.

So here’s some tips to help you do just that:

  1. It’s better to make really good, well thought out reels less frequently than push them out all the time (I’m currently on a reel creation overdose, but it’s because I’m learning. I do notice some get a lot of views, and some much less. The goal is to get to two to three a week. Reels hang around – you can get views and comments months later.

  2. The goal is to get people to stop scrolling and take notice. So it’s got to be more than a simple talking head with no graphics.

  3. Reels are all about short, engaging content that connects with your audience and makes them want to find out more about you. (and buy from you) You need to make it memorable, and simple and keep the message clear.

  4. Aim for a length of either seven seconds, 15 or 30. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so the shorter ones often get better initial reach (but you may not be able to get all your information clearly on it)

  5. You need to be energetic. You need to shine out through that lens and look like you want to be there big time!

  6. Make sure you’re talking to one person (so no “Hi guys”) comments

  7. Miming and pointing looks silly – but these types of reels often have better reach and pickup as people can get what’s happening without listening to the sound.

If you want to give reels a go, here are a few common types you could give a go

  1. Give us three top tips to solve a problem

  2. Tell us your four favourite features of a product

  3. Answer a frequently asked question

  4. Create a “Five ways to…”

  5. Give us a snappy book review

  6. Share an awesome hack

I’ve even used reels to share a ditty to help teach a marketing trick – but I promise you do not need to sing!

One of the benefits of diving into reels myself is that I’ve found that creating a reel has helped me increase my video content over all. I share my reels to Youtube as #shorts, to TIktok, to Linkedin as a Linkedin story and have used them in posts on other platforms. The key to making it work, like anything, is to maximise the use of anything you put your time into creating.

So – going to give reels a go? (if you do I hope I spy them!)

Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist, specialising in lead generation and content marketing who runs Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to tell their story better to the right people. Write your own marketing strategy for free with Rachel’s online marketing school.

Identify Marketing is a content partner with Stuff for specialist small business information.

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