As the TikTok momentum continues to grow and new platforms are introducing short and sweet video content (we’re looking at you YouTube), we know Instagram is openly discussing their efforts to compete with a shift in focus to video content – but what about Facebook?
The latest update suggests Facebook are also looking to follow suit and join the short-form video hype by introducing their Instagram Reels feature to the Facebook platform.
As we know from Instagram, Reels are designed to allow users to “express themselves, discover entertaining content, and to help creators broaden their reach”.
Just a year after Instagram Reels were launched, recent reports reveal Facebook has been testing a new Reels display within users’ newsfeeds in the US, so it’s only a matter of time before we can expect to see it over here.
The new feature, which will be referred to as ‘Facebook Reels’, will enable users to create and share short video content to their Facebook feed and within Facebook Groups.
Similar to Instagram, the Facebook Reels feature will allow creators to capture video, add music, import from their camera roll and add text – all very familiar functions currently found on Instagram.
It will likely be possible that users can also share existing Instagram Reels to the Facebook platform. However, simply sharing Reels content from Instagram to Facebook – like users already can for grid posts – won’t necessarily be sufficient as the tone and key messaging may need to change for each audience, and therefore platform.
Tech Crunch reported that Facebook are looking to introduce additional features to their Reels such as ‘Remix’ (think TikTok Duets). While the core functionality will feel very familiar, Facebook are open to user feedback and suggestions for improvements.
Facebook has explained their decision to recreate Reels on their platform was due to consumers ‘growing interest in video’. AKA to stay competitive with TikTok, YouTube Shorts and, of course, Instagram to a degree.
Reels has proven to be a huge contributor to engagement growth on Instagram and the hope is the same can be said for Facebook too.
So, what does this mean for businesses?
As above, although the ability to create and post Reels interchangeably between Instagram and Facebook will enable businesses to share just as engaging content across both platforms, their target audiences and therefore content strategy may differ.
For example, Instagram is typically more creative and visual than Facebook, while the latter platform allows space for clickable links and more detailed content.
One thing is for sure, the update to introduce Facebook Reels is almost certainly going to disrupt the algorithm (again).
You may have already noticed Facebook Stories sneaking in halfway down your newsfeed, as well as being displayed at the top of the feed as per custom.
New layouts, which also include Marketplace listings being featured on the newsfeed, will always lead to businesses competing for space amongst friends, family and competitor posts.
The real question is will creators, whether that’s businesses or influencers, take the time to generate bespoke content for yet another Social Media platform?
It’s already been announced that although Instagram Reels are being monetised via adverts, Facebook Reels won’t initially include ads – although this is part of a future development.
Earlier this year, Facebook announced that they are planning to invest over $1billion in their creators across both Facebook and Instagram platforms during 2022.
The more financial incentive creators have, the more likely they are to keep producing and sharing content on the Facebook family of apps rather than their competitors.
Where do businesses start?
We often see the US have access to new features as part of a staggered test and release before the update becomes available to the UK and beyond. However, if Facebook see good engagement and uptake from Facebook Reels then it really is only a matter of time.
Although Facebook Reels aren’t quite here yet, it’s definitely worth being prepared. Consider what success you’ve had from Instagram Reels and if this is likely to be recreated on Facebook.
Does your Facebook target audience differ drastically from Instagram? How likely are your audience to be following you on both platforms? If so, how can you commit to producing consistent and quality content without being repetitive across both platforms?
As 2021 comes to an end, we’re all thinking about our 2022 content planners. Therefore, it’s our recommendation that you find a space (and some time!) to at least try your hand at Facebook Reels – and definitely, Instagram Reels if you’re yet to explore those – you never know!
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