In the constantly evolving world of social media, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends, such as deciding between Facebook Reels vs Instagram Reels! The rise of influencers, the launch of brand new platforms, and ever-changing algorithms are just some of the changes that businesses and users need to keep up with.
However, there’s one trend that seems likely to stick around for a while, and that’s video. Specifically what we’re talking about here is Reels: usually full screen, vertical videos that have taken social media by storm over the past couple of years. First popular on Snapchat, then TikTok, now social media giant Meta has turned its attention to video.
This article will take a deep-dive into Reels on two of the biggest social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram. Get ready for a crash course on both of the platforms, the pros and cons of each, and how you can utilize them to the best effect for your business.
Facebook describes its Reels as “a new way to create short, entertaining videos, get discovered by new audiences and be part of cultural moments on Facebook.”
As a small business owner or brand, you’ll probably agree this sounds brilliant, especially the ability to reach new audiences. Facebook is a gigantic platform with roughly double the number of users compared to Instagram, and despite only launching its version of Reels in 2021, they are now available in over 150 countries.
In technical terms, Facebook Reels are vertical videos up to 60 seconds long, but can be as short as 0.3 seconds. Effects, music or original audio can be included in Reels, and you’ll spot them in various places on the platform: next to Stories, in the menu, Messenger, and within Facebook groups.
Okay, so we’ve got our head around Facebook Reels, what about Instagram? Instagram Reels launched a year earlier than Facebook, in 2020, and were bought in as one of several measures the platform made to keep up with competition, and shift focus towards popular video content.
The overall idea is similar: vertical oriented videos that can be overlaid with text, special effects, and audio. Instagram is experimenting with longer-form content, and in 2022 announced that Reels can be up to 15 minutes in length.
Facebook Reels are a brilliant way for businesses to reach new audiences, drive traffic to their site, and build a loyal following. The way it works is pretty simple. Either record a Reel live (no pressure!), or you can utilize existing photo and video content. You then write a description, select an audience, and voila – you are ready to publish!
It’s worth putting effort into your Reels to maximize views. Choose audio carefully, make use of hashtags and select the most relevant audience to increase engagement. Some of the most successful businesses know the power of quality content. They’ll make sure all their content is unique, interesting, relatable or thought-provoking for the audience.
What are some real world examples? Perhaps you’re a hair salon owner and a customer is particularly happy with their latest style: take a video! Or perhaps you’re an artist about to showcase your work in a new gallery: why not give your followers a behind-the-scenes glimpse?
For more top trends hitting the world of Facebook advertising, take a look at our run-down of the five Facebook ad trends to watch out for this year.
When it comes to Instagram Reels, you’ll find you can also use either live or pre-recorded video and photos. The range of editing and AI effects is a little more sophisticated on Instagram, and you’re able to tag or collaborate with other accounts to increase reach and engagement.
A top tip is to always push Reels onto your main feed, so your current audience can engage with them as well as new audiences within the Reels platform. Also, make sure you add title images to your Reels. This helps audiences to understand what to expect from your content.
Some great ideas for boosting your business on Instagram are to use the poll or vote features to drive engagement, ask a question to provoke discussion in the comments, or even run a competition. Because Instagram Reels are not public by default, competitions where you ask users to “tag a friend for a chance to win” can be super successful.
The longer video lengths (up to 15 minutes!) also allows for more in-depth content on Instagram, for example a “behind-the-scenes” or “day in the life” style video.
For more advice and tips on how to create an Instagram content calendar, check out our guide!
| As the world’s most popular social media platform, Facebook gives you the biggest potential audience across all age groups
| Video quality is sometimes regarded as being lower than Instagram
|Reels are public by default, making them more likely to be discovered by new users
| Videos are shorter, with a maximum length of 60 seconds
|You can cross post from Instagram to Facebook
|Videos are not automatically public, meaning they can be less likely to be seen
|Instagram is well known for lifestyle content, such as fitness, food, and fashion trends, so may be particularly suitable for these types of businesses
|Tag users to collaborate with other brands, allowing access to new audiences
|Instagram tends to enjoy greater video quality and a wider range of editing features
|Can be more suitable for reaching a younger audience, with two thirds of its audience aged 35 or younger
There are similarities as well as differences when it comes to Instagram vs. Facebook Reels. It makes sense that there’d be similarities: they are after all owned by the same parent organization, Meta, and the apps are interlinked.
The general idea of Reels on both of the platforms is the same. Create short, engaging video content and use it to reach new audiences and drive engagement with your existing followings. If your content is really successful, you’ll even be able to monetize it. Both platforms pay a bonus for content that garners over 1,000 views in a 30-day period.
But, there are a few key differences for you to be mindful of. The biggest difference is the audience. Facebook is the largest social media platform on the planet, and it attracts audiences from all age groups. For this reason Facebook may be more suitable if your business requires mass reach. Instagram’s audience skews younger and is particularly known for their interest in lifestyle and culture. Food, fashion, or fitness businesses may benefit from using Instagram and tapping into these interests.
Other differences are technicalities. You’ll find that Facebook Reels from brands and creators are posted as public by default, and could appear in a user’s feed even if they don’t follow you. Instagram Reels can also be cross posted onto Facebook, although not the other way round.
A final difference is in the contents of the Reels. Facebook reels are a little shorter, and have fewer editing capabilities.
So, how do you actually choose which platform is right for you? In our experience, brands looking to target an older or more global audience may benefit more from using Facebook. On the flip side, if you’re chasing a younger or more specific audience, Instagram may be more suitable.
But, these are not hard and fast rules. Remember that the content you’re creating for either platform can be used across both. Our biggest piece of advice would be to sync up your channels on Instagram and Facebook, and experiment with both platforms
Thank you for reading! We hope you’ve found this article useful in illuminating the world of Facebook Reels vs Instagram Reels. Instagram Reels may be a more established and sophisticated way to create content, but Facebook Reels cannot be underestimated in their power to reach huge audiences.
Whatever your business type, remember that video content is king, and Reels are the most surefire way to grow your business on social media. Ultimately, we’d recommend experimenting with both Instagram and Facebook Reels. By posting on both, you’re doubling your chances of going viral!