If you’re connected in any way to the world of social media marketing, you’ve likely heard the advice “Use reels! It’s the only way to reach Instagram now! “And it makes sense! By now it’s well accepted that Instagram’s algorithm rewards users who jump on the new feature train, and they’re pushing short-form videos strongly right now to compete with TikTok. Plus The data looks promising, such as that the NBA franchise has an average participation 22% higher in Reels than the average of interactions they have had of publications and stories.
But is Reels really the end when it comes to attracting attention and engagement on your Instagram content? We recently held a Reels Challenge, in which we encouraged our users to appear in videos for 9 consecutive days. This was not only a great opportunity to help support our planners to be consistent on social media, but it also proved to be a great experiment! We were able to uncover some valuable insights from our community on how reel posting on a daily basis affected your reach, engagement, and follower count.
So how much does Reels increase your range, Reel? Read on for all the news!
The reels will probably increase your reach….
One thing we noticed across the board with our planners was an increase in scope throughout the challenge. For Christina l, she saw a 32% increase in reach. Meanwhile, Williams Honey Farm beekeepers saw a staggering 258% increase compared to the previous week.
The data seems pretty straightforward – using reels allows you to reach a much wider audience than just the people who follow you. However, those who are new to the Reels train are likely to see the potential benefit.
And your content interactions too
On the Plann account, our content interactions increased 87% overall, despite the drop in reach. We saw that trend among our users too, and @williamshoneytn saw a whopping 144% increase in content interactions. @citylimitscountryfeel also saw a 27% increase in reel engagement and a 45% increase in story engagements , and a 10% increase in website clicks.
But, it may not be the same for all videos.
One thing that became apparent throughout the challenge was that not all reels are created equal. The performance of one reel is in no way a predictor of the next. On Instagram account, we saw a huge performance range from 700 to 2300 on our reels, despite posting at the exact same time every day, with the same hashtags.
Our content editor Emma saw this in action too. Their high-performing Reel drew 3,729 views, while the next one only received 415. The reach of this post appeared to peak early, with Emma receiving over 1,000 views in the first 45 minutes.
There seem to be a few different factors at play here:
• Time and hashtags are likely still important in determining reel performance, but not as important as content quality and relevance.
• New Reels users of those who haven’t posted in a while may experience some “newbie” earnings, that is. where the platform boosts their content in the algorithm to encourage them to keep posting. So you may see more reach on your first reel than later ones.
• The Reels algorithm seems to work in a similar way to TikTok, where the performance of your video in the first hour seems to affect how many people your video will ultimately reach.
Can attract new followers
There is no denying that Reels is a great discovery tool, offering a new way for potential followers to find your account. So if your video is targeted enough, it’s likely to attract some ideal new customers.
Many planners reported attracting new fans during the challenge, including our content editor Emma, following her (comparatively) popular video on procrastination. Of course, whether new people will follow you after viewing your reel also depends on how well your profile and content catch them; It is not enough to be a one-hit wonder.
… and lose something along the way
Yes, there is also the possibility that you will lose a few followers along the way, when you start posting more reels. At Plann, our followers count when they are slightly down throughout the challenge, before climbing back up. Williams Honey beekeepers also lost 34 followers over the 9 days.
But, here’s why that’s not so bad. It’s possible that increased reel visibility can “wake up” ghost followers who haven’t seen your content in a while. And, if they are no longer interested in your content, they can hit the “unfollow” button. But those people would never engage or buy from you anyway, so by removing them, you’ll end up with a more engaged audience, anyway.
Also, it is not unusual for the following counts to fluctuate anyway. So while you may have seen some new and more specific followers, you may also have lost those who did not participate in the process.
Food to go
So what are the biggest nuggets of wisdom that we can all get out of this challenge?
Well, it’s safe to say that Reels is a powerful tool to cut through the noise and grow your following on social media. But is it the only tool? Definitely not! In fact, reels seem to work best when paired with other types of content like stories, grid posts, and carousels. During the challenge, we found that our post impressions were consistently higher than our reel impressions.
It seems that adding a couple of reels to your content mix each week can be a powerful strategy that will attract new followers and also increase the visibility of your other posts. But don’t feel like you have to post 3 reels a day to reap the benefits; simply using them to supplement your other content when possible should be enough to see the momentum.
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