Last month Instagram introduced a new video feature which allows users to create and share 15-second video clips to their timelines. While Instagram Reels is being dubbed as a copy of the Gen Z app Tik Tok,1 aesthetic marketers believe that it can also be an incredibly useful and creative business tool for promoting clinics and gaining new patients.
Aesthetics spoke to Louis Meletiou, head of marketing at Medico Digital, and Alex Bugg, head of content at the Web Marketing Clinic, about how aesthetic businesses can incorporate this feature into their everyday social media strategies.
How to create a reel
Instagram gives users two options when creating a reel:2
1. Press and hold the record button to capture live footage
2. Upload pre-recorded videos from your phone’s camera roll
Reels can be recorded in a series of clips at different stages or all at once. These clips can then be added together and edited on the app using a variety of tools such as text, special effects, stickers and speed controls, with an option to align multiple clips for cleaner transitions.2,3
Like on Tik Tok, audio is a big part of creating an Instagram reel. The audio tool allows users to add music or other sounds from the Instagram music library, or sounds can be recorded as original audio by the user. If a Reel is posted from a public account, anyone on Instagram can record a reel reusing that original audio which gets added to the music library, allowing users to jump on any trends at the time.5
Uses in aesthetics
Meletiou believes that incorporating Reels into marketing and social media strategies will allow for a greater connection between the clinic or practitioner and the patient.
He says, “I think Reels are going to be a really good way for clinics and practitioners to create a personality online and bring them closer to their existing followers, as well as gaining new ones. If patients feel that they know you a little better, they’re more likely to go book with you over someone they’ve not seen the face or heard the voice of. It opens up the opportunity for more personal interaction.”
Bugg notes that Reels also have the potential to revolutionise the ways in which before and after images are communicated on social media.
She comments, “One of the good things about this feature is that it’s an easy way for people to edit together a video taken a few hours before, with one taken more recently. Because of this, you can make an interesting transition when showing the difference between your before and after images. You can use the app to set them to music, fade them in and out of each other or use a voice over to give a small explanation of the procedure and its effects. It’s a lot more interesting for potential patients to see your work that way instead of just a static photo and it also breaks up your feed – I think it’s important to include a mixture of photos and videos to mix things up.”
Not only can video Reels showcase results, but they can also help businesses gain a new following by sharing educational content. “Reels are the perfect way for clinics to deliver information and ‘how-to’ clips in a snappy and succinct way,” says Bugg. “Giving a whole overview of something in 15 seconds can be very powerful. Every clinic should be able to market something in that time frame – they should focus on one benefit or the main point of the product/device/procedure. You also don’t have to waste any time at the end telling viewers how to book or get in touch – if the video is good enough to interest people then users can go to your profile, follow you and visit your website where you should have more in-depth information available for them. There is also the option to include a caption for your Reel, so any extra information can be added there.”
Meletiou agrees, stating, “The average human attention span is only eight seconds,4 so if it was any more than 15 seconds people probably wouldn’t pay attention to the whole thing and the overall meaning would be lost. Practitioners just need to focus on the most interesting and eye-catching part of what they’re trying to communicate.”
Getting your Reels seen
When it comes to sharing your Reel it will be posted onto your main Instagram feed for all your followers to see, and then can be added onto the Explore page, which appears on the same page as the search function, or on your Instagram Story, where you can post a photo or video that disappears after 24 hours.3 All the Reels that a user creates will also appear in a dedicated section on their profile under the Reels Tab, similar to an IGTV post.2
Bugg advises users to ensure that Reels are going onto the Explore page as this opens up the opportunity for aesthetic businesses to get a wider reach. She says, “Sharing your Reel this way allows for people to find your account organically, because it’s not just for people who already follow you. It’s got a vertical scroll that is a mix of who you follow or accounts similar to those, and what Instagram thinks you’ll be interested in. The algorithm isn’t set yet and Instagram is still working this out, so ensure to keep updated on this to maximise the reach of your videos.”
Meletiou believes that the best thing for aesthetic businesses to do is just to have a go, practise and discover what works for your followers. He says, “Just dive in to the world of Instagram Reels! If you want to practise, use a fake account or personal account until you get the hang of it. Then, when you feel more comfortable, you can start posting them for your business account followers. Watch Reels that are available as well as the videos on TikTok if you’re unsure of what you should be doing. You can search on the app for hashtags like ‘plastic surgery’ or ‘dermal filler’, and it will give you a good idea of the sorts of videos that are getting a good reception unique to your field.”
Bugg warns that not incorporating Instagram Reels into your social media strategy may be detrimental for business, saying, “If Instagram is an important part of your business and a main way for you to gain your patients, then you really do need to start using Reels now. The best thing that you can do is to get the ball rolling by trying out ideas and learning how to edit. It’s like when Instagram Stories were first introduced – nobody was bothered about using them. Fast forward to now and if you see a clinic not using stories they get completely lost online because, in my experience, everyone else is posting at least four a day. It’s become the norm and is an important part of business promotion, so don’t miss out because you’re scared! Just go for it.”
- Chen B, Lorenz T, We tested Instagram Reels the Tik Tok clone, The New York Times, 2020, <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/12/technology/personaltech/tested-facebook-reels-tiktok-clone-dud.html>
- Nguyen L, Hootsuite, 2020, <https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-reels/>
3. Instagram, Introducing Instagram Reels, 2020, <https://about.instagram.com/blog/announcements/introducing-instagram-reels-announcement>
4. Cision, Are your declining attention spans killing your marketing strategy?, 2018, <https://www.cision.com/us/2018/01/declining-attention-killing-content-marketing-strategy/>
5. What audio can I use in my real on Instagram?, Instagram, 2020, <https://help.instagram.com/329208821595430>
6. E Gutierrez, Digital Marketer, How to use Instagram Reels in your marketing strategy, <https://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/instagram-reels-marketing-strategy/