Whether you like the format or not, Instagram is clearly keen to get more people using its TikTok-like Reels options, which, as some have noted, could be why you're seeing less reach than normal with your regular Instagram posts and Stories.
Some have speculated that with Instagram emphasizing Reels, that's caused a reduction in reach of other content formats in the app. And the way to negate that is to create Reels instead. Instagram hasn't confirmed that this is the case, but a range of anecdotal reports suggest that many are seeing a drop in their regular Instagram post reach.
So maybe it's worth experimenting with Reels to see what results you get. Again, you may not like the format, and it really is just a carbon copy of TikTok. But it could be a way to maximize your Instagram engagement, especially as Instagram looks to boost Reels usage in its early stages.
So how can you get the most out of your Reels clips? Instagram has provided some general, but potentially helpful tips.
So the key points in Instagram's 'do' list are encouraging engagement with your clips, filming content via the dedicated Reels camera in the app, linking into trends where possible, and looking to add a strong reactionary element - whether that's through a trick, a joke, effects, etc.
Instagram's also clearly reminding users to only use approved music, which it reiterates in its 'don't' listing:
I mean, these aren't great guide notes. Don't use 'dated' references, don't 'lack a storyline'. I guess they make sense, but it's an odd way to reiterate the importance of linking into trends and ensuring there's a cohesion to your Reels clips, as opposed to just filming at random.
But the main two points of emphasis that I'd take from these lists are 'stop re-posting clips from TikTok' and 'stop using unapproved music'. The other notes are a little less direct, but they may provide some additional guidance in your creation process, which could help you create better Reels, if you're looking to take them on.
Of course, the best Reels education is actually watching Reels content. If you want to find out what works best, tap on the 'Reels' tab in your Instagram app and start scrolling through to see what's getting the most engagement. You can also search by hashtag in the app, then tap on the Reels tile in the results to get an idea of what type of Reels content is being created for that topic.
It could be a good option. Again, Instagram clearly wants Reels to succeed, and it may be looking to provide more reach for original Reels content. If you want to maximize your IG engagement in 2021, Reels should at least be within your consideration.