TikTok & Instagram Reels: A Quick Guide to Producing Short Video Content

Since the release of Reels in 2020, and the rapidly increasing popularity of TikTok in the last two years, digital marketers have been utilizing more short videos in their marketing strategy. These features may seem identical to those who aren’t as familiar with them, but content on TikTok isn’t always the best content for Reels, or vice versa, depending on your audience.

The question isn’t whether one platform is better than the other, but rather how understanding the ins and outs of both can help you get the most out of your video content.

TikTok

If your service or product is tailored to younger generations, TikTok is more useful for your video marketing efforts. Generation Z makes up the majority of TikTok users, with Millennials coming in second.  So, if your product or service is meant for older generations, spending time creating TikTok content won’t be very beneficial to you.

TikTok’s unique algorithm, known as the “For You Page” or FYP, presents viewers with videos that they are most likely to enjoy or engage with, based off their past scrolling and interactions on the app. This is how you gain followers on the app, which can be difficult—when you’re starting on a new platform, you’re essentially starting from scratch. When you produce great content, though, more people will see it, and are likely to follow you or visit your website.

When we talk about creating content for TikTok, we aren’t talking about advertisements. The point of TikTok is to be organic, as that is the content that it pushes. Viewers want authenticity, and often times, just something to make them laugh or feel impacted by. The most basic key to TikTok is entertainment, and this can be done by either creating your own original content or piggybacking off of someone else’s sound or trend. Trends don’t last long though, typically only a few weeks, and sometimes less. So, when you notice one becoming particularly popular that you could use for your business, don’t expect it to stick around for a while—get your video out there ASAP.

Hashtags are also incredibly important on TikTok, as that is how many people find your videos, and how the algorithm pushes them onto the viewer’s FYP. You can search to see what hashtags are performing well but be aware of the 100-character limit in the caption.

TikTok is also an app that rewards frequent posting, as opposed to sites like Facebook or Instagram. Many creators, known as influencers, post multiple times a day, and viewers love it! Again, the purpose is to entertain, so your audience won’t mind seeing the same face a few times a day in their feed.

Instagram Reels

If your business is already on Instagram, Reels are a great way to reach viewers without starting from square one. When creating a Reel, you have the choice to add it to your Instagram feed, so your followers will be able to view it on their home page without going to the Reels section of your page.

Instagram is still popular for Gen Z, but it tends to be more used by Millennials and Gen X, so this is the platform to use if you’re trying to reach older customers or clients. That being said, humor can vary between generations. Your video on TikTok may be hilarious to Gen Z viewers, but your Gen X audience on Reels may not understand it. One of the ways to find this out is truly by trying—you’ll be surprised by how quickly you discover which content works better for you on Reels vs. TikTok.

Some people believe that Reels should be more planned, polished videos as well. These could be things like a quick how-to video or a behind-the-scenes look into your daily life at work. You can add sounds over your videos, but this is only limited to music. If you want to use a trending sound on TikTok of someone’s voice, you’ll need to first add the video on there before saving it and adding it to Reels.

This isn’t to say that your Reels can’t be fun and engaging—your viewers will still enjoy the authenticity of your videos, even if they’re just meant to be educational. No matter the content, you want it to be engaging. A perk about staying with Instagram is, you can ask current followers on your Story what they want to see!

Reels can also be a good tool to use for announcing sales or exclusive offers. Because you already have that customer or follower base from the start, this feature is better to use for these types of announcements, as opposed to TikTok viewers who aren’t familiar with your product.

All in all, there are benefits and setbacks to both TikTok and Instagram Reels. We hope this outline helps you in your short video content creation, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it may be time to outsource your social media marketing. That’s My Idea Marketing will create a marketing strategy that fits your business!