Africa Travel Week

Instagram Reels – why your travel brand needs them

Instagram launched Reels in early August, since then you may have noticed them featuring more prominently on your feed. Whether you’re a travel brand or destination, incorporating the new feature into your social media strategy is a great way to stand out from your competitors. Not sure where to begin?

Albertine Brandon shares her advice on how to make them work for a travel audience.

Instagram Reels are 15 second video clips that can be filmed, or uploaded, via the Instagram app. To create a Reel, all you have to do is click the camera top left of your Instagram homepage, select ‘REELS’ from the options at the bottom of your screen and then film or upload whatever you want.

Once your content is ready, you can add text or audio to it, then upload it to the platform. You can select to share it to your main feed as well to increase the visibility of your videos.

To put it plainly, every time Instagram launches a new feature they tend to give it priority on the app. This means that the brands and people able to create engaging content for Reels (and do it consistently) will likely be able to increase their reach and grow much faster than those who don’t.

Therefore, if social media is an important aspect of your marketing strategy, then you should be creating content for Reels right now.

How do I create content for Reels?   

There’s two options for creating content for Reels – filming something within the app and then uploading it or uploading an already edited 15 second clip to the app. The dimensions are 9:16 (which then crops to 4:5 if you share to your main feed), so keep this in mind when filming and editing your clips.

Filming within the app allows you to shoot footage in time to your selected music. Just pick a song, and you can then film your shots as it plays. You can also use Story filters on these clips, which could help you to keep your content cohesive if you already have specific ones you use. The timeline at the top of the screen will indicate how much you have left of the 15 seconds to fill as you stop and start filming.

Uploading content to the app will allow for you to be a bit more precise with your editing, or make use of content you already have available. Whether it’s an inspiring quote from one of your team members or some breath-taking views, you can upload clips up to 15 seconds in length and then add music and text to them as you wish.

Make sure your content is informative and/or aesthetically pleasing to engage the Instagram audience. Ideally, you’ll want to stick to videos that build upon the content you already share on your main feed.

Once you’re happy with your Reel, you can choose a cover image from the video itself or upload one. If you’re going to make a series out of your Reels, why not create cover images to keep them all uniform? Again, keep in mind the dimensions, and the way it will crop for your main feed when creating these.

How can travel brands and destinations create engaging Reels?

The key to engaging Reels is creating something in line with what your audience already enjoys seeing from you.

Do they come to you for beautiful destination shots? Why not share video snippets of the most calming, energising or intriguing areas?

If they come to you for sustainable travel products, some reels with info on sustainable ingredients or your products in use may be best.

Focus on either inspiring or educating your audience with your Reels and you will be on to a winner. If you are going to inspire, stick to beautiful visuals and keep your captions brief. If you are going to educate, break your message down to 4-5 short statements that you can display at different points in the Reel to keep your audience engaged.

Make sure you’re using your brand hashtags, and any other relevant travel ones, in your captions. This will increase the reach of your Reels and may even help to attract a new audience to your content.

Albertine Brandon

Albertine Brandon is a style and beauty influencer with expertise in social media, influencer marketing and content strategy. She has created content for her own channels for close to a decade and has interviewed some of the UK's top social media talent, including Suzie Bonaldi (Hello October), Dodie, Stephanie Yeboah and Emma Blackery.