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Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Reels

Get the lowdown on Instagram's latest feature and how brands can use it.

Instagram has launched a new short-form video feature to compete with social media rival TikTok. Reels allows users to record and edit together 15-second video clips set to music and share them to their Instagram Stories.

Reels takes its cues directly from TikTok, with users encouraged to share creative content ranging from trending dance routines and challenges to lip-sync videos featuring popular songs or comedic sound bites. The platform has even attempted to poach a number of TikTok's most popular users to join its new service, so it's likely that the style of content audiences have grown accustomed to on TikTok will be largely the same on Reels.

Creators are able to overlay music or audio from other user's videos, as well as the platform's extensive music library. Alternatively, they can choose to upload their own audio instead. Users also have access to a number of video-editing features and tools including duets, speed control, filters and stickers. At present however, Reels isn't as advanced as TikTok in terms of tools and native editing capabilities, but watch this space.

Similarly to TikTok's FYP, Reels has its own dedicated feed which sits within the Instagram Explore Page. Popular or trending videos are made accessible via the main Explore tab and feature alongside other images, videos and stories that the algorithm predicts users will like.

When it comes to creating content, Instagram Reels can be found in the Stories camera menu. Users will need to swipe between camera features until they land on the Reels icon. For easy access, published videos will live at the top of user's Instagram profiles alongside the IGTV, Shop and Tagged Image tabs.

On the whole, Reels is fairly similar to TikTok but what does this new platform mean for businesses? Brands including Jacquemus, Gucci and Dior were quick to finesse their TikTok strategies and will no doubt look to replicate this success when they launch on Instagram's new platform. Louis Vuitton was the first luxury brand to establish itself on Reels and earns an average of five million views per post.

Let's take a look at some of the successful techniques luxury brands use when making short-form videos.

Use Simple Editing Techniques & Transitions

For their 2021 Cruise show, Dior featured models backstage clicking their fingers to switch from white robes into runway looks. This style of editing has been a popular transition on TikTok for some time now and was a simple yet effective way to showcase their new collection.

Use Subtle Product Placement

Models performing famous TikTok dances in Gucci sweatshirts? This has viral written all over it. In order to keep audiences entertained, short-form videos must have a clear purpose and spotlight product in new, playful and innovative ways.

Focus on Trending Content

Louis Vuitton is using Reels to spotlight its #LVCruise collection. Models film themselves in a mirror as their phone drops to the floor in slow motion before bouncing back up into their hand (a trend which originated on TikTok). Audiences seemingly enjoy a high fashion spin on their favourite videos.

Think Beyond Fashion Challenges

Brands shouldn't just limit themselves to 'fashion challenges'. Jacquemus replaced gummy bears with its Le Chiquito mini bag when it took on the 'Adele' challenge. In the original video, a gummy bear appears to sing the first few words of 'Someone Like You' by Adele before the camera pans to a huge crowd of gummy bears who finish the lyrics.

Partner with Content Creators

Take inspiration from Balmain and partner with popular content creators to produce videos. The brand joined forces with TikToker Taylor Hage to create a video of her getting ready before their FW20 Paris Fashion Week show.

Words by Dan Flay


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