A QuickStart Guide to Instagram Reels for Brands

With over two billion users, Instagram is a social force to be reckoned with. And now with Instagram Reels, brands have the fantastic opportunity to get in front of their audience in a creative and fun way.

2021 Complete Guide to Instagram Listening Strategy

Interestingly, people have a love/hate with Reels, as they watch and relate to ‘stupidly sentimental’ creations, forging emotional connections to them––and to the brands creating them!


But how should you position your brand to meet these fickle folks?

We are going to explore how to begin this creative journey and how to analyze your own performance. But first a look at these Insta-stats reveal why this social platform should be on your radar as a marketing tool:

Additionally, Instagram Reels leads all other short-form video apps in average engagement, with global users spending an average of 53 minutes per sitting. So, let’s take a closer look at how Instagram Reels has stepped it up a notch to help brands capture consumer attention, and how consumer analytics can help you become the star brand you were always meant to be.

Get Reeling with Instagram Reels

The good news is Meta has made it even easier for brands to post video content to Instagram Reels. In fact, they’ve taken a lot of the challenges away, the biggest one being coming up with new creative content to post!

Instagram Reels now has a “templates” option which enables brands to create Reels based on popular content already on the app. Once you’ve chosen your template, Instagram takes you through the process of creating a similar looking Reel, frame by frame.

Just like any trending subject, you’ll want to be sure that your Reels don’t come off as static or too copycat-like, as originality is part of what draws consumers to these Reels. But with the help of consumer analytics, you can understand what captures their interest in the first place

This will keep your Reels aligned and awesome. And that’s where we’ll begin

Understanding Trending Conversations and Sentiments

What your audience loves will certainly change over time, which is why you need to track trending conversations. Consumers are not just fickle when it comes to brands, but also when it comes to trends.

What’s hot one minute, just isn’t the next. So, locating and tracking these conversational shifts is critical.

We’ll use sustainability as an example. It’s been a big subject, and it grew from an emerging trend to an enduring hot topic during the lockdown of 2020.

This need resonated within the fashion industry as well.

With fast fashion under a microscope, many consumers turned to companies that offered upcycled clothing. And it wasn’t long before big companies like Urban Renewal (Urban Outfitters) began offering more sustainable options.

However, just assuming that sustainable fashion is still holding sway with consumers would be a potentially dangerous assumption, which is why using a trend analysis can be insightful.

Capturing the major and minor themes of sustainability in fashion over the past three months, consumer analytics reveal it’s still a big conversation. We’ve highlighted the outlier clusters here. These areas represent conversations and posts which may not be getting a lot of social shares but are garnering higher engagements:


In the cluster Thrift, Wardrobe, Shopping, there’s a lot of conversation surrounding the idea of “wear, care, repair.”

This could signal an emerging popular phrase to incorporate into your messaging and share with your audience via Instagram Reels. Creative ways to promote this messaging just might pluck at the heart strings of your audience

But before you go all-in with it, you’ll need to consider sentiments, as they rule the roost when it comes to consumers. Your audience makes purchase decisions based on emotion, after all. So, it’s important to know how they feel about these emerging trends.

Just because something shows promise doesn’t mean everyone will be on board. That’s why it’s critical to check the temperature on your audience to see prevailing emotions.

Sentiment analysis can dice things a million different ways. Here it reveals the sentiments surrounding the conversations within the outlier clusters shown above.

Because it’s one thing to discover a new possible emerging trend in conversation – but you need to evaluate sentiments surrounding it as well:


And then we can dig deeper to see which individual conversations those sentiments are attached to. Above, it’s mostly positive for these outlier clusters. But there are some red flags as well and exploring those will help guide you in deciding which trendy topics to take on.

Once you’ve located a trend that already captures people’s hearts and you’ve made sure they are in love––it’s lights, camera, action with your Instagram Reels!

However, despite our best efforts, sometimes we need a little extra boost – and that’s when aligning with a key opinion leader can pay off.

Aligning with KOLs to Boost Brand Awareness

Key opinion leaders (KOLs) can have the same effect as influencers when it comes to reaching consumers. And this is because their opinion on a matter is held in high esteem

They aren’t paid for their opinion like an influencer and would feel insulted if someone offered. They are an expert in their field, remain objective, and actively communicate about the events that directly affect their industry.

For this reason, consumers look to them as a moral compass of sorts. In fact, 74% of consumers cite word-of-mouth as affecting their purchasing decisions. And it’s this power that brands will want to align with to help strengthen their own message.

Consumer analytics reveal top contenders for sustainability in fashion below. Among these are some familiar names, like Billie Eilish:


The number one spot belongs to Stella McCartney. She’s not only a great example of a KOL, but also of a brand.

She took the world by storm creating a luxury clothing brand with sustainable practices in mind. And because she not only talks the talk, but walks the walk, people look to her for direction on where to put their money.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Stella McCartney (@stellamccartney)

Aligning with her could help to bring your brand more attention, and even more fans. Monitoring over time will be the key to understanding whether your effort in that area will be worth it.

Monitoring Brand Efforts

You’ve done all the things. You’ve located your emerging trends, found a valuable KOL to better align your messaging – and now you need to measure success with ongoing monitoring.

Monitoring brand efforts is one of the most important steps to consumer analytics. And that’s because consumers are like the wind, they can change direction anytime they choose.

One fantastic way of keeping an eye on things is by creating brand hashtags. Posts with hashtags win twice as much engagement as those without. Creating a brand hashtag allows you to then track its effectiveness by volume of mentions and sentiment which surrounds it.

The hashtag analysis below gives us an idea of what hashtags are trending up in the sustainability space. The size of the word represents how much it’s being used. And we can see that #fashion, #sustainability, and #sustainable fashion are all top choices when posting about this subject:

These hashtags could be used to help amplify your content. Or create your own branded hashtag. If your company is called Maggie Mae’s, then your hashtag could be #maggiemaesustainablefashion. You can track this tag to see consumer interaction and the overall success of it.

A brand’s success is not tied to one big victorious marketing campaign. It’s all the little efforts such as branded hashtags, coordinated and creative Instagram Reels and knowing how to read the room and track your efforts correctly. And all of this is made simpler by using consumer analytics.

If you need better social media analytics that can help you evaluate and measure every aspect of your campaign, and give you a real idea of how your efforts are being realized, reach out for a demo and let your Instagram star shine!

2021 Complete Guide to Instagram Listening Strategy

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