Social media platforms are constantly changing, evolving, and adding new ways to create and share content. The newest addition that every marketer needs to get to know is is Instagram roles.
While Instagram’s platform already offers its regular feed, Instagram Stories and IGTV, it has now introduced another facet of its app. To learn more about what Instagram roles are and how your brand can take advantage of this new feature, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide.
Ready to dig in?
What are Instagram roles?
In short, Instagram Reels are Instagram’s attempt to post microvideos on their platform, similar to the ones that helped make TikTok famous.
Similar to other content features recently added by Instagram, Reels offers another way to post content that may not fit the feed perfectly. Unlike long-form and usually more elaborate IGTV videos, roles are shorter, more casual, and very researchable and discoverable, much like TikToks.
These videos are each 15 to 30 seconds long with background audio, whether it’s voice-over, music or any other popular sound byte, and are incredibly easy to digest.
Rather than showcasing more pre-planned or scripted content like a full tutorial or instructional video, these are bite-sized videos that viewers can use to quickly flip through and find new content.
Roles can be added to a user’s feed, but Instagram has now also updated the app to add a tab in user profiles and in the bottom navigation bar for access to roles.
How to Access Instagram Reels
Want to find out what other brands, influencers, and users are doing with this new feature? Be warned that it is easy to get dragged into an endless loop of creative videos. So make sure you have an hour or two free to explore.
Instagram recently revamped its navigation, moving notifications to the top right corner next to your direct messages to make room for access to roles that is separate from the rest of the content of your feed.
Just tap the reel icon (it looks like a movie board) to see the latest and most popular reels. To make the recognition factor stand out, you’ll see roles from different accounts rather than just the ones you follow.
How to create an Instagram role
If you’d like to try Reels for your brand, we’ve put together a quick start tutorial on how to create these short, engaging videos so you can get started.
First, click on the plus sign in the top right of the app. Now, this is the first step in creating something on Instagram, whether it’s a new post, story, role, or live video.
Here, scroll to the type of content you want to create – in this case, the Rolls slide.
Once you are here, you are ready to start creating your role! If you’ve pre-recorded and edited a video, you can upload it by tapping the square in the lower left corner and accessing your camera roll.
Otherwise, you can use the record button to record your own video right in the app.
Before recording, choose whether you want to create a 15-second roll or a 30-second roll. This limits the time you can spend recording your video.
You can stop recording before you start again to change the camera angle, record a different subject, or other changes to make your idea come true.
Before you move on to your next snippet, you can delete and re-record or crop any parts of your previous snippet. You can even tap the Align button before recording the next segment to make sure your camera is focusing on the same part you left off on for a more seamless transition.
Instagram Reels also gives you the option to speed up or slow down your recording for an extra effect on your video content. Plus, before you start recording, you can set a countdown so you can easily be on site while creating solo roles.
When you’re done, add music to the background and add whatever effects you want. Press the forward arrow to preview your role and make sure it plays perfectly.
Finally, it’s time to add your caption and decide where to share your role before posting.
How to Use Instagram Reels for Business
Now that you know how to create your own Instagram roles, it’s time to discuss a few different ways your brand can actually use these strategically.
There are a variety of fun and engaging ways to create this type of bite-sized, digestible video content. We have seven ideas to get you started.
1. Create entertaining content for your audience
Sometimes the social media content you create doesn’t need to have a sales or conversion goal. Instagram Reels are the perfect opportunity for you to create and share content for your audience to enjoy. This is how you can build relationships and connect with your followers.
Take this example from Lego. You have created a video of someone playing with different colored Legos in a satisfactory manner. Visually engaging, entertaining content like this is the perfect way to engage your audience.
Present your product, team or service in an authentic way and create unique content with exciting background music.
The whole point of Reels is to create really bite-sized content that will excite your audience and get them to get more great content to get to know your brand and what you are selling better and better.
2. Share tutorials
Instagram Reels is the perfect place to create short, easy-to-follow tutorial clips that show how you are dealing with your product or service, or just doing something relevant to your industry.
Here is a great example of Lion Brand Yarn teaching the audience to knit. With new hobbies at home growing in popularity over the past year, putting together a series that will teach viewers how to knit is a great strategy.
Brainstorm a list of helpful tutorials that could benefit your audience and that are irrelevant to your brand, product, or service. You want your Instagram roles strategy to be made up of several different types of videos. However, sharing tutorials every couple of roles is an excellent way to create an educational presence.
3. Behind the scenes videos
Another way to engage your audience on Instagram Reels is to show a behind-the-scenes video. Introduce employees, show off new products that haven’t been launched, share how you create things that you sell, etc.
You can see an example of the latter on this Instagram roll from Greda Co., a clay earrings creator. This shows how the creator mixes different colors of clay to create one of the colors that she uses in her designs.
This is a great tactic for solo preneurs, small businesses, and big brands as everyone loves to look behind the scenes at how businesses are run or how products are made.
With larger brands, you can even carry out BTS of different departments and their working methods and thus support the smooth operation of the company as a whole.
4. Demonstrate products
While I’ve said that not every Instagram role should be sales-focused, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t showcase your products every now and then! Record videos of new product releases, show how your products can be used, and get your audience to really stop and make a purchase.
This Instagram role of the activewear brand ALINA SOL shows the unique feature of the integrated, hidden pocket of their bike shorts.
Use Instagram Reels to demonstrate the unique selling point of your products so that your viewers are excited to have your product or service in their life and click on your profile and website to learn more – and buy.
5. Use TikTok Videos again
Has your brand already built a presence on TikTok? Or do you create content for TikTok and Instagram roles? Reuse your videos! It’s the perfect way to get more out of your content so you don’t spend twice as much work on your social and content teams.
And for smaller businesses, you often just don’t have the bandwidth to create different content for each platform. Hence, reusing your bite-sized vertical videos is the best way to add value to any content.
Even if you’re pulling content from TikTok, there is nothing wrong with having the TikTok branding on your video, as you can see in this example from Sling Bungee Fitness. In fact, this is a great way to let your audience know that they can find you on multiple platforms so they can follow you on TikTok too.
6. Promote sales
Let your audience know when you are offering sales and discounts by posting announcements on your Instagram reel. It doesn’t have to be extremely complicated.
In fact, you can take a page out of the book for that role by presenting your sales offers and products in a casual, engaging way.
7. Create educational content
While you might be sharing long-form instructional video content on Facebook, YouTube, or IGTV, Instagram Reels is a great place to post 15-30 second instructional snippets explaining a concept to your audience that is relevant to your business or industry.
Here’s a great example from Shopify of what this could look like.
Record speaking to your audience, add graphics, use text overlays, and more to help explain a bite-sized topic to your audience.
Create Instagram Roles today
It’s time to step up your Instagram video marketing and there’s no better way to do it than with Instagram Reels. Create short, easy-to-digest video content today and build a larger audience on Instagram.