What is Instagram Reels? And What Does it Mean for Marketers?

what is instagram reels

What is Instagram Reels? And What Does it Mean for Marketers?

If the success of TikTok showed us anything, it’s that people have an appetite for short-form video content. Other platforms are paying attention, too. Instagram recently announced its new feature — Instagram Reels — which plays a similar role to TikTok and could well be a valuable tool for marketers in the near future.

According to its own data, TikTok has around 700 million monthly users, with more than 100 million in the USA alone. People like creating and watching short, snappy videos, and marketers should be paying attention.

It allows users to create 15-second clips with a range of features and effects, and share them easily with their own followers and Instagram’s millions of users.

In fact, several brands are already having great success with Instagram Reels, garnering millions of views and connecting with their audiences in a new way.

In this article, we’ll show you how marketers can use Instagram Reels to connect with their followers and grow their brand. We’ll walk through a handful of examples of how companies are already doing this successfully, and show you how it all works.

Let’s get started.

How can marketers use Instagram Reels?

There are a number of ways marketers can use Instagram Reels as a powerful new channel. Here are a few examples:

  • How-to videos and educational ‘bitesize’ content. Although Instagram Reels clips are very short, they can still be used for basic how-to clips and to give a quick introduction to a new feature.
  • Product demos and teasers. Instagram Reels is a great way for brands to put out quick, snappy messages and introduce new products and features. Without the commitment of a long video or blog post, viewers can get the quick-and-dirty info about exciting new announcements.
  • Instagram Reels aimed at provoking engagement. Engaging with your followers is crucial to building a valuable, loyal audience. Reels can be used to start competitions, spark viral campaigns, and form quick connections with Instagram users.

Examples of brands using IR (successfully)


Beauty and cosmetics giant Sephora is one of the early success stories of Reels. They gained over 1.9m views on their second IR video, which featured a challenge for viewers.

These kinds of social media challenges can be an extremely effective way to drive engagement, spark interest, and connect with followers. They ask your audience to play a more active role in their relationship with the brand instead of just consuming your content, and have a lot of potential to go viral — which is exactly what happened here.

Louis Vuitton

French fashion house Louis Vuitton has been having enormous success with Instagram Reels. All of their Reels have gone viral, with a staggering average of 5 million views. The beauty of their campaigns is in the simplicity — they use almost the exact same caption for each one, and the only change is the product being promoted.

Nike (influencer collaboration)

Nike is a great example of how to use Instagram Reels to collaborate with influencers effectively. They’ve been working with high-profile Instagram users to promote their products via Reels.

Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to grow a brand. For every $1 they spend on influencer marketing, businesses are making $5.20. It’s an incredibly effective way to reach a wider audience by working through people they already know and love.

Start Your Next Instagram Reels Influencer Marketing Campaign

How to get started with Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels is easy and intuitive to get started with, and it doesn’t take much effort to create a video and get it in front of an audience of potentially millions.

Here’s how to do it:

Creating Reels

create with instagram reels

To create a Reel, simply select the Reels option at the bottom of the Instagram camera.

Next, you’ll be shown editing tools on the side of the screen where you’ll be able to add a range of effects to your Reel, such as:

  • Audio — you can choose to add a song from Instagram’s own music library, or simply record a Reel with your own audio (or none at all)
  • AR effects from Instagram and other creators to spruce up your Reel and make it unique and engaging
  • Set a timer — get the camera to count down so you can record your Reel hands-free
  • Speed up or slow down your video

record a video with instagram reels


You can decide whether you want to share your Reel publicly or limit it to your own followers. Most brands will choose the first option, but there may be occasions when you want to restrict who can view your content.

  • The public option shares your Reel to Instagram Explore, so it can be seen by the whole of Instagram with the potential to attract many new followers or even go viral.
  • You can also set your account to private and share your Reel with your followers only. They won’t be able to share it with anyone who doesn’t know you.

When you choose to share your Reel, you’ll be taken to the Share screen where you can save a draft, change the cover image, add a caption and hashtags, and tag friends.

Once shared it will be on a Reels tab on your profile, and you can also choose to share it to your Feed.

Watching Instagram Reels

explore instagram reels

To watch other people’s Reels, simply go to Reels in Explore. You can see all the publicly shared Reels, and there’s also a Featured section with Reels that have been picked out by Instagram to help users discover original content.

Instagram Reels has the potential to become a powerful new channel for marketers and brands. It combines the tried-and-tested TikTok model of short videos with Instagram’s vast audience and organic reach.

To find out how The Influencer Marketing Factory can help you connect with your followers and grow your brand with social media channels like Reels