D.I.Y.

How to use Instagram reels and stories to expand your fanbase

Learn how to take advantage of all of Instagram’s many popular features with this simple guide.

by Randi Zimmerman of the Symphonic Blog

It no secret that short-form videos have taken over the digital space. On Instagram, Reelsand Stories are favored by the algorithm and consequently, they get more exposure than any other feature on the platform. As an artist, you can use these to your advantage. Even better, it’s super easy. Want to learn how? Here’s how to use Instagram Reels and Stories to reach more fans…

First, let’s talk basics…

Video content is the now, but short-form video content is the future… 👀 CLICK TO TWEET

Why do short-form videos do well in the first place?

We’re all very aware of the powerhouse we know and love called TikTok. They created an entire platform completely based on short videos, and it’s now the most downloaded app in the world. After seeing their major success, other platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and even Linkedin have hopped on the bandwagon.

The fact is, people have shorter attention spans than ever before. We want to be engaged and informed in a couple seconds or less. With this in mind, Instagram has been working to transform from their original photo-sharing roots into a video sharing hub for the masses.

Luckily for you busy artists out there, creating Reels and Stories is even easier to do then posting full blown videos or ads. You can repurpose existing video content into shorter, digestible clips for Instagram in a couple minutes and post it to the world even faster.

Now that we’ve covered why it works so well, let’s break down how to do it yourself. — Here’s what you can do…

Turn Viewers Into Followers

Unlike Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels are discoverable through hashtags and the Explore feed. Stories are just seen by your existing network, but that’s not a bad thing. Both of these factors can be used to your advantage.

With Reels, you can grab the attention of users all over the world whether they’re already following you or not. Once you’ve won their attention, you can keep it by making sure you have some great content to check out once they visit your page.

Reels are what’s going to grow your audience. — Stories support that growth.

Use Reels Attract Your Target Audience

As someone who isn’t already following you explores the platform, odds are the way they’ll find you is through Reels. They’ll see your Reel, love it, then head over to your page to find out more. If they head back to your page and find that your content has nothing to do with what they just saw, they’re probably going to be pretty disappointed. That’s why sticking to and nurturing your niche is so important.

If you’re a producer/jack of all trades like BIIANCO, creating Reels that center around your production skills is a great way to attract people who love amazing, independent producers. And when you go to their page, you’ll find all the other amazing things they do as an artist match up perfectly.

Now, THIS is how you build a dedicated fan-base.

✨ PRO TIP: In addition, this step is a great opportunity to give viewers a chance to be redirected to your Spotify, SoundCloud, or whatever other streaming platforms you frequent.

Intertwine Your Niche Into Popular Trends

Just like on TikTok, Reels on Instagram have tons of popular trends you can jump onto to gain some recognition. If you’re a metal guitarist, however, doing a trend where you show off the plants in your backyard isn’t going to do you any good.

What you can do though is tweak the trend to fit you and your niche. Instead of showing off your plants, show off your collection of badass guitars. This is just an example off the top of my head, but you can really do this with almost every trend out there.

Put on your detective cap, and do some snooping through the Explore page to see what sparks some inspiration.

——

Don’t Forget About Your Existing Audience with Stories

Remember at the beginning of this article when we talked about how Reels fuel growth and Stories support that growth? Let’s talk about that…

Getting the followers is all fine and dandy, but whether or not they stay is a battle in itself. You need to nurture your existing followers by not only posting consistently, but also sharing authentic content. Stories can help with that.

For example, Stories on Instagram are a great place to post interactive content to gain more engagement from your fans. You can use Polls to ask a question and get real-time answers, post new music and see genuine reactions, let them ask questions and talk right to your audience, or even sell tickets to your next show.

All this helps foster a deeper connection that will keep them coming back for more.

Utilize Instagram Reel Ads

Because there are so many types of ads to choose from, it can be overwhelming to choose just one. Luckily, Instagram’s Ad Manager is built with the ability for users to try out multiple options before running the real thing.

Why?

Each of them offer different benefits. For example, Stories, IGTV and Reels ads are typically better for driving views and engagement. On the other hand, Shopping and Collection ads are best for driving e-commerce purchases.

Instagram Reels Ads will help you reach greater audiences and allow people to discover everything you have to offer, from your merch, website, to even your Spotify profile.

  • Reels ads are featured full screen and vertical, similar to ads in Stories, and will appear in between individual Reels.
  • As with regular Reels content, these ads will loop and can be up to 30 seconds. People can also comment, like, view, save and share Reels ads.
  • Reels ads will appear in the most popular places to access Reels content. (This includes the Reels tab, Reels in Explore and Reels in your feed.)
  • Once a user taps into a reel from the Reels Tab, Explore or feed they will enter a viewer that exclusively shows reels that scroll vertically.

✨ Learn how to set up ads on Instagram by visiting their official page here.

In Conclusion…

Instagram Reels and Stories are the perfect places to post creative video content and engage with your audience on Instagram at the same time. With them, you can expand your reach, get inspired by your peers, create new content, and stay in touch with the pulse of the industry. Whether that be in your own niche or via the inspiration of other creators across the digital space. Hopefully this post has given you some tips and tricks to implement into your Instagram strategy for the new year and inspires you to connect even deeper with your audience, both new and old.

Now, get back to work!

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