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Social media has become an indispensable part of marketing for most businesses today, providing unparalleled reach to connect with target audiences.
Over the last one to two years, Facebook has changed its algorithm to show less in your feed from friends, groups and pages that you follow to instead suggest reels from users who are unconnected to you. This presents an enormous opportunity for video marketers.
At a number of business forums this year, Innovate Media’s Creative Director, Ben Amos presented interactive sessions highlighting the potential of short form, vertical videos on social media. You may know them as reels, which is what Facebook and Instagram call them. He shared the remarkable turnaround story of a Sydney-based candy business called Sticky. During lockdowns, the owners Dave and his daughter Annabel King struggled with no foot traffic. Turning to Instagram and Facebook Live streams showcasing their candy-making generated some interest. But it was TikTok videos that turbocharged their business’ growth remarkably. Their quirky, fun videos have hit over 45 million views to date. Overall, Sticky went from zero to 7.4 million TikTok followers over two years. Their total revenue has grown 300%, with 90% of sales attributed to the US market.
This article summaries his presentation of how to use social media reels for business growth.
The Decline of Organic Reach on Facebook
Over the first half of 2023, the percentage of content from friends and connections that users saw on Facebook has dropped from 49% to 46%. More worryingly for businesses, page content visibility has fallen steeply from 15% to just 8% in feeds. So posts by Facebook business pages are getting far less exposure now.
Instead, the algorithm is filling feeds with more “unconnected” suggested video content that people don’t follow. This has jumped up significantly from 11.7% to 18.8%. Facebook is essentially deciding for users what content they will spend more time engaging with.
For marketers, this trend means lower organic reach and more competition for eyeballs on Facebook. But rather than be discouraged, it signals the right time to embrace the highly engaging video format that now dominates social media – short vertical videos known as “reels”.
The Business Case for Reels
90% of marketers using short-form video will increase or maintain their investment this year, and 21% of marketers plan to leverage short-form video for the first time in 2023.
(Hubspot Report, 2023)
While reels may seem like just entertaining videos for bored scrolling, they offer 4 big benefits from a business standpoint:
- They humanise a brand effectively by showcasing real employees, company culture, expertise and stories.
- Reels can be created quickly and inexpensively using mobile apps. Most platforms have integrated creation tools.
- The short vertical video style grabs attention strongly and keeps viewers watching more content.
- A single reel can be repurposed across multiple networks like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok very easily.
Despite these advantages, only 30% of businesses leverage reels in their marketing currently. But the format is clearly gaining popularity. 90% of marketers using reels plan to maintain or increase spending on it this year. Another 21% expect to adopt reels for the first time in 2023.
Ben Amos presenting at Entrepreneurial Business School Forum 2023
Anatomy of an Engaging Reel
What elements define a high-quality reel that gets more eyes on your brand though? The foundation is having a clear objective – what do you want viewers to feel, think or do after watching your reel?
Here are the key ingredients to an engaging reel:
- Powerful Opening Hook: Capture attention immediately with something surprising, practical or valuable.
- Human-Focused, High-Quality Footage: Authentically showcase people from your company. Good visual quality stands out.
- Dynamic Captions: Overlay engaging text and graphics since most view reels without audio.
- Supporting Post Text: Description copy should prompt viewers to like, comment or share for better visibility.
Types of Business Reels
Reels are incredibly versatile for businesses in every industry. Here are some ideas:
- Micro-Learning Reels: Provide a useful tip or trick people can learn in under 60 seconds.
- Behind-the-Scenes Footage: Give a peek inside your company’s operations, daily work and culture.
- Employee Testimonials: Have staff share first-hand positive experiences of your product/service.
- Company News Features: Report on the latest announcements, product launches, etc quickly through reels.
- Event Coverage Reels: Share highlights and commentary from the events you attend or organise.
- Social Media Memes & Quotes: Entertain followers and spark engagement through trending topics.
- FAQ Reels: Answer some of the frequent questions your audience asks through short videos.
Always ensure your reels provide real value to viewers in some way. Avoid overly pushing sales offers in each reel. A more subtle call to action is good practice – prompt followers to like, comment, share or save your reel instead. This builds awareness and interest for when they are ready to buy from you.
Ben Amos presenting at Entrepreneurial Business School Forum 2023
Creating Reels: Free and Paid Options
If you aren’t very tech-savvy, the idea of making vertical videos may seem intimidating. Thankfully, user-friendly apps provide all you need without needing fancy skills or equipment. Here are three routes you can explore:
Native Platform Creative Tools
Instagram Reels and Facebook Reels offer straightforward creation modes accessible within each app interface. Simply press the + button to access. While the end results may look somewhat basic, they help you start easily.
Third-Party Mobile Apps
For more production control, try apps like CapCut (free on iOS/Android). This provides professional editing features to make engaging reels from various video clips and images. The only downside is the learning curve. Some time is needed to master an advanced video application.
Hiring a Video Production Agency
Expert help is advisable if DIY reels turn out mediocre despite your best efforts. Working with a company like Innovate Media that offers specially packaged reels production services can give you a ready supply of highly customised, brand-consistent videos tailored to your business. While some initial investment is needed here, it saves you valuable time to focus on other revenue-generating tasks.
Standing Out From the Competition
In summary, reels provide a phenomenal opportunity to grab customer attention right now and significantly expand reach across social media. But execution matters. With more businesses jumping on the trend, how will your reels get noticed?
The answer lies in creating content that resonates with your target audience and incentivizes engagement. Spend time understanding customer pain points and questions. Identify ways to genuinely help them through entertaining or educational reels. Develop a unique tone and style that represents your brand’s values.
Stay consistent in publishing high-quality reels frequently, not just once in a while. You will soon build a community eagerly looking forward to your next videos.
Take Inspired Action Today
Don’t let another year go by hoping outdated tactics will somehow deliver better marketing results. As Einstein aptly put, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
It’s time to leverage reels to create human connections with potential customers where they are spending maximum time today – on social media feeds. With some strategic planning and consistent execution, you too can mirror the phenomenal success stories of brands generating millions in revenue thanks to short videos.
The opportunity to grow your business exponentially awaits. Start creating reels that get your solutions in front of your audience like never before!
If you would like to head down the professional route and engage Innovate Media to produce engaging reels content for your business, or consult in your video marketing strategy, have a look at our reels production package and our video marketing partnerships.
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