Instagram Reels and Influencer Marketing [Complete Guide]

Hanson Cheng

Hanson Cheng is the founder of Freedom to Ascend. He empowers online entrepreneurs and business owners to 10x their businesses and become financially independent.

Video content has gained a lot of popularity over the past few years, making video one of the most preferred content formats on the internet.

However, with people’s attention spans getting shorter, people now prefer short-form video content over its long-form counterpart — especially on social media.

And that’s why Instagram Reels has taken the world by storm.

As a result, many brands and influencers invest in creating video clips specifically for Instagram Reels — making Instagram Reels and influencer marketing a potent marketing force.

The Power of Influencer Marketing (And Instagram’s Place in the Equation)

Influencer marketing is the practice of partnering with an authority figure (influencer) who has built a personal brand that your audience is drawn to. Influencers are an excellent aid in helping raise brand awareness or drive conversions in a target audience.

In essence, it involves leveraging an individual’s influence to drive business goals.

While it may be a simple concept, influencer marketing has proven to be a potent marketing strategy. One of the reasons for that is that influencers generate more engagement on content than brands. Let’s briefly look at some data to back up the efficacy of influencer marketing:

Where does Instagram fit into all this?

Instagram plays a massive role in the influencer marketing ecosystem as it’s proven to be the most effective channel for influencer marketing campaigns.

Which Social Media Channels Are Most Important for Influencer Marketing?

It’s a no-brainer.

If you want to reap the rewards of influencer marketing, you must lean heavily on Instagram as your content distribution channel. And one of the best content formats you must invest in is Instagram Reels.

Understanding Instagram Reels

Instagram is one of the most popular visual social media platforms around. The platform caters to both static (images) and interactive (video) content. The latter is the most popular.

And if you’ve been an Instagram user, you’re familiar with other types of video formats you can post, with the main ones being:

  • 15-second videos posted to Stories
  • 1-minute videos posted to the Grid
  • Long-form video content accessed through IGTV

With all these video formats available, is there space for Reels?

To answer that question, let’s briefly look at what Instagram Reels is.

Instagram Reels is one of Instagram’s latest features that allows users to record 3-30 second minute video clips. You can edit the clips to include text, special effects, audio, and more. Yes, I know that sounds a lot like TikTok because it was designed to cater to lovers of short-form video content.

Instagram Reels have been given a dedicated landing spot at the top of the Explore page. Tapping on the first reel at the top opens up the Reels feed. From there, you’ll be able to see reels from accounts you’re following and those from popular and trending accounts. Another handy feature you’ll appreciate with Reels is the drafts feature. You can create many Reels and save them as drafts, allowing you to automate posting using your favorite social media management tool.

Instagram Reels vs. Instagram Stories — What’s the Difference?

You’re probably wondering how Instagram Stories differs from Instagram Reels. While they may sound similar, these two features do have some key differences. Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Length. Reels are up to 30 seconds long, while Stories are only 15 seconds long.
  • Format. Instagram Reels are video only. Stories can include still images and posts from your feed.
  • Captions and Hashtags. Instagram Reels allows you to add a full caption and up to 30 hashtags. On Stories, you can’t add a caption, and hashtags are limited to 10 per Story. 
  • Engagement. Users can comment publicly on Reels, while they can’t do so on Stories.
  • Lifespan. Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, Reels don’t.
  • Editing. Instagram Reels has a more advanced video editor to help you create more effects.
  • Audio. Reels places a great emphasis on audio to enhance engagement with video clips. You can select a track from the audio library or record your own.
  • Placement. You can share a Reel to your main feed, the Reels feed, and to Stories (where it will expire after 24 hours). Trending Reels also appear under the Explore tab.

So, yes. Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories are two very distinct features. Therefore, you must invest in creating content for both.

What Can You Use Instagram Reels for as a Marketer?

Now that you know what Instagram Reels are let’s look at what you can use them for in your influencer marketing campaigns.

Brand Awareness

Instagram Reels are an excellent way to drive engagement on Instagram. Because most people love the format (short and entertaining) and length of the video clips, Reels get shared more. Add an influencer in the mix, and you will vastly extend your reach. 

Lead Generation

Use Instagram Reels to generate leads by creating a funnel that will ultimately lead to your followers subscribing to your email list. Simply add a link to your landing page in the comments. Make sure you have a good email list-building software that will help you effectively segment your list for your outreach campaigns.

Product Showcasing

You don’t need an hour-long video to showcase your product — all you need is 30 seconds and a bit of creativity. 

With Instagram Reels, you can showcase your product or its unique features in a fast-paced video format. This is a better way to engage your audience while showing them why they should choose your product over the competition’s product.

Educating Your Audience

An essential aspect of attracting and retaining customers is to educate your prospects. Educated customers are more likely to be brand loyal. Instagram Reels are an excellent way of educating your audience while keeping them entertained. The entertainment factor will make your content more memorable.

Telling Your Brand Story

Brand storytelling is essential to helping you form meaningful connections with your customers. Instagram Reels allows you to create a series of videos you can use to tell your story. Done well, your stories will evoke feelings in your audience that will help you make an emotional connection with your customers. 

Creating Mini-Case Studies 

People always want proof that your product or service will benefit them. Case studies are some of the best forms of social proof you can leverage to increase conversions. Use Instagram Reels to create mini case studies to showcase how your product helped one of your customers.

Instagram Reels is a feature you must use to the fullest. With its versatility, the possibilities of how you can use it are endless.

7 Strategies for Using Instagram Reels in Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns

To get the most out of Instagram Reels in your influencer marketing campaigns, you must be strategic in your approach. Here are seven strategies you can use:

1. Conduct Extensive Audience Research

Audience research must always be your first stop when launching a marketing campaign. When it comes to using Instagram Reels to run an influencer campaign, it’s no different. That’s why you must use data collection tools to collect as much data on your target audience as possible.

Audience Research: Buyer Persona

Two crucial pieces of data that can guide you in creating an impactful campaign are:

Demographic Data

Demographic data refers to information about the physical attributes that members of your audience have in common. Examples include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographical location
  • Marital status
  • Employment status

Psychographic Data

Psychographic data deals with psychological data. Psychographics is the study of people’s:

  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Attitudes
  • Interests
  • Personality traits

Collecting demographic and psychographic data about your target audience is essential as it will help you build accurate buyer personas. It’s also helpful as knowing your audience is key to knowing which influencer will resonate with them the most.

2. Create Storyboards for Your Reels

While your Reels may be minute 30-second video clips, you must invest in creating storyboards for them. Doing so will help you create impactful content that will hook your audience and keep them coming back for more.

A few tips to help you create your storyboard include:

  • Determine your goals. Establish the goal of your Instagram Reels influencer campaign. Is it brand awareness, driving sales, or educating your audience?
  • Write your script. Creating a script allows you to create a series of clips that tell your story in a sequential manner. Creating Reels in this way drives engagement as your audience will be curious to know what’s in store in the next installment.

Remember, you only have 30 seconds tops for each Reel. so make sure not to pack too much information into your storyboard. Keep it light and fun.

3. Focus on Engaging Content

As much as you have marketing goals to achieve with your Instagram Reels campaign, avoid creating content that reeks of a marketing campaign. Your content must focus on engaging your audience. Here are a few tips for creating engaging content:

  • Craft compelling titles
  • Pack in as much value as possible
  • Personalize your content

Building an engaged audience is crucial as it lays the foundation to help you achieve your other marketing goals. So make it your main objective. 

4. Leverage User-Generated Content

A mistake many brands make when designing influencer marketing campaigns is to focus on big names. Sometimes, the most effective influencers you can leverage are your customers and followers.

That’s why, when designing your Instagram Reels influencer marketing campaigns, you must consider leveraging user-generated content.

Your followers and customers are micro-influencers who can help you reach and influence people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to effectively reach through a large campaign.

5. Repurpose Popular Content into a Reel

Do you have a blog post, social media post, or any other marketing assets that performed exceptionally well?

Then you should consider repurposing that content into an Instagram Reel.

Go through your website and social media analytics to fish out this content. Once you have it, think of a creative way to share the same message in Reel format. Of course, to increase chances of virality, rope in an influencer to be part of freshening up said piece of content — even if they were not involved with the original.

6. Create a Q&A Series

Particularly if your goal is to educate your audience, you should consider running a question and answer series.

Instagram Reels Q&A Session

To do this:

  • Find a topic your target audience truly cares about.
  • Break it into small bite-size chunks.
  • Get an influencer to host each Reel.

This format is especially effective if you’re in the B2B space as most B2B buying decisions are data-driven.

7. Play Tag with Your Audience 

A great way to extend the reach of your Instagram Reels content is to play tag with your audience. 

No. There’s no physical contact involved.

I mean creating an excellent piece of content for your Instagram Reels and asking your audience to share the post and tag people they feel will relate to and benefit from the post. 

Remember, each of your followers is an influencer in their own right. By involving them in your campaigns, you’ll get more mileage than you would without their participation.

Instagram Reels — A Tool Influencer Marketers Should Use

Instagram Reels is an excellent tool for promoting your brand. It offers a great way to attract audiences, engage them, and convert them into customers using fun yet compelling video content. 

That’s why, when running your influencer marketing campaigns, you must include Reels in your strategy.  Not only will this extend your reach, but it will also help you nurture deeper relationships with your audience.

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