August 13, 2020
By Katelyn Lugo
If you think the new Instagram Reel feature looks reely (get it?) familiar, you would be correct! On August 5th, Instagram debuted Reels, “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.” Reels consists of 15 second single or multi-video spots that allow the user to add filters, effects, audio clips, and other creative features.
Though the new Instagram feature looks and feels a lot like TikTok, social platforms copying one another is nothing new. Some say that TikTok shares many features with the former platform Vine, though in a much more successful format. Facebook and Instagram Stories were based off of Snapchat and have proven to be a hit with users. YouTube is also in the midst of testing 15-second videos that is meant to rival TikTok and Reels. Ultimately, competition among these platforms provides ample options for us, the end users. For example, I personally do not use TikTok. But ever since Reels came out, I’ve scrolled them endlessly! We all have our preferences, and businesses can take advantage of these different platforms to boost awareness and profit – when used correctly.
Social media usage is at an all-time high since the pandemic began in March as many users spend more time at home. All platforms have seen a surge in users from all ages. However, it’s still important to note that the short video format came about because of younger users with short attention spans, generally between the ages of 13 to 24. If the products and services that your company offers are not meant for this age range, then short-form video platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat are not for you. If your business does fit this age range, then you need to be on these platforms as soon as possible! If your audience is there, you need to be there as well.
Advertising on TikTok is fairly new, and through our experience, CPMs have been very low, comparable to Snapchat. Reels doesn’t have the advertising ability yet, but I’m sure that’s right around the corner! Even if your business doesn’t want to advertise on these platforms, being on them as a business page is a good (free) idea. When you’re on these platforms organically, your business can be tagged in user-created content (earned media) and you can boost your owned media, which helps with brand awareness. Short-form videos allow you to quickly and effortlessly showcase what your business has to offer, and these profiles can be used as portfolios that house all of your coolest assets. Being on these platforms also establishes your business as on-trend and gives it a personality. Social media users love to interact with their most favorite brands on social media through comments and shares, so once again … if your audience is there, you need to be there!
Despite the current drama surrounding the potential TikTok ban, it’s a great idea to incorporate these short-form video platforms into your social media plan now if your audience is on them. These platforms provide inexpensive ways, whether used to advertise or organically, to boost your brand awareness and to get your current and potential customers engaged.