Our friends at Instagram have really had an incredible run as it pertains to giving artists the opportunity to express themselves and engage fans on the platform over the past few years. Whether it’s partnering with TuneCore to make your music available for use by fans or introducing streaming song lyrics into Stories to drive the message home, there’s no doubt that Instagram has made itself a must-have in every artist’s marketing mix.
Now you’ve got even one more reason to sign in and start getting social with your audience: introducing Instagram Reels.
Instagram Reels is a new feature being rolled out on the platform that lets users create 15-second video clips with music in the background to provide a soundtrack. Reels can be shared in the Explore tab to reach new fans and introduce music to users all over the country. Not only are Reels a fun new way to encourage your fans to use your songs in their video content, artists can get in on the fun, as well.
When creating your first reel, take a look at some of the options you’ll have to tweak videos to customized perfection.
- Audio Selection – pick your song! If you’ve opted into Facebook Music, your releases should be available to select on Instagram.
- Speed Controls – speed it up, slow it down – you’re in the director’s chair – this is a great tool for songs with breakdowns or setting videos to a specific beat.
- AR Effects – Just like when Instagram introduced stickers and GIFs, this tool introduces augmented reality (AR) effects to your video, and of course you can still pick from an ever-expanding library of graphics.
- Timer – Go hands free, set the timer, and have fun with it.
- Multi-clip Shutter – Use this tool to start and stop recording at multiple points during your 15-second video.
- Ghost Tool – Perfect for custom editing and jump cuts, this tool lets you see the last frame you shot as you’re adding a new segment.
Where to Share
“Share to Reels” allows you to only share Reels in the Explore tab within Instagram. Instead of sharing to your followers in the Feed, Reels will live here and allow you to reach new audiences. Of course, your Reels will still be featured on your Instagram profile, just in a separate tab.
If you want to share to Reels and your Feed, that’s a possibility, too!
Hashtags have always been a pivotal part of Instagram’s DNA. Using hashtags to follow content that falls under certain topics or trends is a key method of discovery for users, and Reels helps artists take participation to a new level.
Aside from just participating in trending topics, artists have the opportunity to create their own and inspire others. Artists and fans alike can add trending songs/audio and hashtags to their Reels for greater reach and potential discovery.
What To Share
Like any new social media feature or platform you join, as an artist you should feel compelled to experiment and have fun. Figure out what your fans love. Discover what makes you feel like you’re expressing yourself best. Think about how Reels can help you make your digital brand even stronger.
Successful Reels are surprising, funny, and timely. You’ll want to be publishing content that makes fans want to re-watch, share and create their own. It’s up to you what kind of content you want to cover, but like any other social channels, the stuff that’s relatable, culturally relevant and inspiring tends to perform best.
Show It Off
We’re not here to play the role of Creative Director, but here’s a quick How-To when getting started using Reels:
1.) Conceptualize It
Figure out what you’re trying to convey. Is it just to check in and show fans how your day is going? Or maybe it’s a more premeditated, drawn-out concept that you’ve been thinking of for awhile? Perhaps you’re somewhere in between, but either way, make sure it highlights what makes you so great to your fans.
2.) Frame It
You’ve only got 15 seconds here. If you’re thinking about a Reel that requires multiple frames featuring different locations, participants, or camera angles, do yourself a favor and think about what each frame is going to require and look like. Not to mention, taking time to plan will give you the ability to use any given song’s beat to comply with your dance moves. Trust us, it’ll save you some re-shoots.
3.) Shoot It
Just like a typical Instagram video or live stream shot with your phone, there’s some best practices to keep in mind.
- Lighting: make sure you’re not shooting directly at a light source; instead, keep lighting behind the camera.
- Colors/Tones: Use different lighting effects to set the mood properly.
- Draw Them In: use the first few seconds of your Reel to grab a viewer’s attention.
- Use the Tools: Instagram Reels gives you plenty of effects and tools to work with (read above) – make sure you’re using them to keep people engaged.
- Have Fun: Remember, this is all about having a good time! When your fans see you having fun with your music (or someone else’s), you’ll encourage them to do the same.
4.) Publish It
As mentioned earlier in this article, you’ll be given the chance to share on your Feed or just to Reels (where it can be discovered in the Explore tab). But like everything else with your art, it’s important to build a consistent and cohesive aesthetic, and the more Reels you create, the more you’ll have an opportunity to do this.
Instagram Reels is an exciting new feature that really lends itself to creative expression, and isn’t that what being an artist is all about? This is a great opportunity for new artists to begin experimenting with the content they publish on Instagram to build their fan base, and a great opportunity for established artists to connect with and encourage their fans to feature songs in their Reels. Like anything else with social media, be sure to keep up with topical trends and ‘challenges’ that are being shared out there – you never know when it’ll be your song’s time to shine.