Following the successful rise of TikTok, users' content consumption habits are changing fast, and short video content is more popular than ever.
One way to leverage this new short video trend on Instagram is through its new feature called Instagram reels.
Instagram reels are the platform’s response to TikTok. They’re short-form videos that Instagram's algorithm tends to promote heavily.
The audience likes short videos too—they’re engaging and don’t waste the viewers’ time.
Leveraging this type of content is beneficial, but you do need to come up with original ideas.
Not feeling particularly inspired by the video content muse?
Then let us take her place and help you:
- Identify the differences between Instagram reels and video content on other social media platforms, such as TikTok and YouTube
- Find inspirational ideas to create content on a variety of topics for a wide range of audiences
Without further ado, let’s jump into it!
Instagram Reels vs. TikTok Videos: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between Instagram Reels and TikTok videos is the creative approach to video clips and the best practices of each platform’s algorithm.
While Instagram and TikTok both support video content, they have more differences than similarities.
Before jumping into the differences between how these platforms handle short-form videos, let’s look at the value of this type of content on social media platforms.
Instagram reels is a new feature gaining traction, and the Instagram algorithm heavily promotes reels on the explore page, reels tab, and users’ Instagram feeds.
You can say that reels imitate TikTok videos and their massive appeal to users.
And that’s the main similarity between those two platforms; short-form videos are quite popular on both, and they promote them to a diverse audience.
But, their creatives aren’t the same. In fact, according to Instagram reel best practices carousel on their creator’s account, they insist on not uploading TikTok videos directly on Instagram since their assets are different and use native built-in features, such as stickers, original audio, and more.
Here's a list that outlines the differences between TikTok and Instagram:
- Video length: TikTok allows you to upload videos of up to 10 minutes in length while Instagram reels only go up to 90 seconds. So, if you want to create longer videos, TikTok is your go-to platform.
- Editing options: Both platforms have a dedicated video editor with features such as effects, filters, and stickers. If we had to choose one platform, we’d go with Instagram since it has many features which encourage users to interact with your videos, like polls and questions. The same features are used on Instagram stories.
- Sound and audio: We have a clear winner here: TikTok. While Instagram's music library has many trending sounds, the platform is strict on copyright violations. Both platforms provide voiceover features.
- Analytics: Both platforms analyze users’ behavior based on engagement and other metrics such as reach, watch time, etc. Both platforms provide users with detailed analytics and an overall performance overview.
Which platform should you choose?
Since every brand has different needs and target audiences, there isn’t a straightforward answer.
But in general, if your target audience is younger, you should go for TikTok. Nearly 7 in 10 teens in the US are on this social media platform.
On the other hand, Instagram is also popular but the audiences are slightly older; 18–34 years old.
Both platforms are great for distributing video campaigns, but there are also other players in the short-video content game you may be interested in.
Instagram Reels vs. YouTube Shorts: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts is that Instagram reels allow you to promote products by inserting shopping links.
YouTube Shorts is the latest player on the scene of short-form video-sharing platforms.
Instagram and YouTube share some similar features, such as:
- Vertical videos
- 1920x1080 px full HD videos
- Engagement options (Like, Comment, Share)
- Upload pre-recorded clips
That said, some functions and features differ.
As mentioned above, the YouTube shorts don’t support inserting links right now, which may be a critical issue for eCommerce brands.
Additionally, Instagram reels have a limit of 90 seconds for recordings while YouTube shorts should be 60 seconds or shorter.
This difference is minimal but extra time is always good when creating content.
Lastly, Instagram’s video editor has more effects and stickers, making content more engaging and appealing to new audiences. You can also tag individuals, include hashtags, and add mentions.
While YouTube shorts don’t provide these features, the platform’s video editor can add filters and captions, and manage video time-lapses and transitions.
So, as we’ve seen, YouTube Shorts still has fewer functions than Instagram reels and isn’t that popular yet. Nevertheless, YouTube remains a great place to find collaborators.
Since YouTube monetizes Shorts creators, identifying and collaborating with creators might be easier.
We mentioned that Instagram reels have many features; you may be thinking… how to implement them creatively on video campaigns?
10 Instagram Reels Ideas to Inspire You
As business owners and marketers, creating unique content for social media marketing campaigns will help you outplay competitors.
If you’re interested in promoting your brands through Instagram reels, you’ll need good reel ideas to supercharge your content.
One quick disclaimer: The following video ideas are all unique, but you’ll have to come up with original content that fits perfectly into your niche or industry.
So, let’s get inspired and learn from the creative approaches of successful brands on IG reels.
Idea #1: Get ready with me (GRWM)
If you’re unfamiliar with Get Ready With Me videos, you can imagine them as a Day In the Life—look at how influencers get ready while sharing makeup and fashion tips.
With this reel type, you can showcase products used in everyday life.
Example: NYX Cosmetics
NYX Cosmetics is a professional makeup brand that collaborates with artists to create content using their products.
Our example featured a small yet effective Instagram reel of a makeup artist using the brand’s graphic liner.
This reel was effective since it quickly showed how to use the NYX Cosmetics graphic liner to nail a hot look that many women would be interested in replicating.
Ideal for: Beauty and fashion brands
Get Ready With Me videos are fantastic for cosmetics and beauty brands. They can jazz up your content by featuring niche influencers. These creators make content that resonates with audiences much more than branded content.
Idea #2: Hashtag challenge
Looking to increase engagement rates?
Then the hashtag challenge will be your favorite digital marketing content creation initiative on social channels since it encourages users to interact with brands.
It also helps brands build their communities and capture users' attention.
The fashion brand Primark published user-generated content on its Instagram account, adding a branded hashtag.
Through a hashtag challenge of creating three looks for under £150 and sharing the outfits, Primark made users more willing to participate and create content for their brand.
Ideal for: All brands
This is a great idea for reel campaigns that all brands can use, especially small businesses since they don’t need a significant budget to run a hashtag challenge campaign.
Idea #3: Testimonial
A survey found that 77% of people who’ve watched testimonial videos say they contributed to convincing them to buy products or services.
The money transfer company Paysend understands the value of social proof through user-generated content (UGC) testimonials and demos.
Through UGC video campaigns with testimonials and reel ads, Paysend increased its activation rate by 9% in Canada.
So, Instagram reels with testimonials allow brands to gain trust and influence people’s purchasing decisions.
Ideal for: All brands
Every brand can repurpose client reviews and testimonials to distribute them on social channels.
Idea #4: Showcase product value
By showing your product’s value to users, you gain their trust and expand your brand awareness.
People love to know more about new products to help them make educated buying decisions based on facts.
Great examples come from Wonderskin, a beauty and skincare product brand.
Wonderskin used Instagram reels to showcase its products' features and value to women using them.
They also ran reel ads to promote their products even more, which had an outstanding performance leading to a 21% higher completed payment rate.
Ideal for: All brands
Any brand in any market niche can use this idea since it’s affordable and builds trust between the brand and potential customers.
Idea #5: Cooking video
If your brand is in the culinary industry, you have no excuse not to share cooking videos.
There are many creative ways to approach cooking videos since you can use them to showcase new recipes, give tips on cooking techniques, or even inspire users to recreate a sumptuous dish.
Example: Greg Vegan Gourmet
Here’s an example from @gregsvegangourmet, a vegan chef and influencer.
In our example, we have a vegan recipe for crispy potatoes. Greg showcases the main ingredients and the crispiness of the potatoes on video, while the recipe is written on the description tab.
Ideal for: Food brands and creators
There is a famous saying in the culinary world—“we eat with our eyes first.” Food-related content that manages to show off nice-looking dishes while teaching viewers how to make it will always be engaging and fun. That’s why it’s a great choice for any company in the food industry.
Idea #6: Listicle
A listicle is a content format where you can list different options, locations, or tips that educate your audience about things that interest them.
A listicle is a good content format because it’s so versatile and many different ideas can be expressed through one:
- Places to visit
- Best influencer marketing tools
- Opinionated takes on things to start discussions
Example: Bites and Bakes
Here’s an example of a listicle from a food blogger that made an interesting list of the best places to eat in Milan.
In the reel video, she highlights the delicious dishes and lets viewers know which restaurants serve them so travelers can visit.
Ideal for: Travel brands and creators
When people are looking for their next destination, they’re searching for the best places to visit, eat, or go sightseeing.
A listicle is a great content format for travel brands and creators because they can engage with that information quickly.
Idea #7: Tutorial
Tutorials, also known as, “how-to videos”, are extremely popular since people are looking for solutions to their various problems.
To create a good how-to reel, you first have to understand what difficulties your users or audience are facing. Or, what they’d like to learn but just don’t have the time to research on their own.
When you identify these issues, you can create tutorials to educate your audience.
Adobe knows its editing software is quite impressive in terms of functionality, but it can feel complex to users.
So they created Instagram reels highlighting what you can do with their software.
In the reel above, Adobe teaches viewers how to add color to an old black-and-white photo. The result is stunning while the reel shows audiences the power and utility and Adobe’s software.
Ideal for: All brands
Any brand can make use of tutorial videos, but they work especially well for those aiming to explain more complicated products and services.
Idea #8: Upcoming content teaser
Do you want to create excitement and hype around your upcoming product or service?
You can do so using teaser clips. That way, you not only promote your content before its official release but also create suspense and excitement.
Many brands use this type of content on their Instagram reels to create buzz and stoke a bit of FOMO.
Spotify often announces new podcasts or exclusive partnerships on its Instagram account.
In our example, we have a teaser from Spotify about a new exclusive podcast with stories that center on black women.
Ideal for: All brands
Teasers are always a good idea when you want to create hype and expectation around your brand’s content.
Idea #9: Tips
Sharing is caring, and we really believe that.
Tips are a great way to start creating reels for your audience. Sharing tips with users helps them and builds trust in your brand.
Example: Domino Magazine
For example, in collaboration with a creator, Domino Magazine shared a holiday party tips video with ideas to make guests feel welcome.
Domino Magazine is all about ideas that bring style to the home, so this reel relates to the brand’s niche audience since it shares stylish ways to welcome guests.
This subject is something that the brand’s audience cares about, so it created higher engagement and had more comments than other posts.
Ideal for: All brands
Tips and tricks are great for when you need content quickly and don't have time to develop more complex ideas.
Idea #10: Employee branding
Branding isn’t only about what people think of your brand. It also has to do with the customer experience and employee experience.
By sharing content with your team members in the spotlight, you build stronger relationships with your audience, give credit to people behind the scenes, and make yourself look more accessible.
Example: Sassy Woof
Through a reel video, Sassy Woof introduces the people behind the brand and paints an interesting picture of them and their roles.
Their video has a fun vibe and adorable music that makes everyone look like they’re having a great time while working. That's a great way to attract new talent and position yourself as a company that people would love to work for.
Ideal for: Larger brands
This reel idea is excellent for larger brands that want to recruit new people and increase employee retention.
Now Over to You
There you have it!
Instagram reels are a great option for accelerating business growth on social media.
The main issue to overcome is finding collaborators to run the video marketing campaigns and follow the best practices to ensure Instagram reels' success.
Feel free to book a demo with Insense, and we’ll help you find amazing creators for your campaigns.