Building Your Reels and TikTok Marketing Strategy

Kayla Hoolwerf
June 15, 2021

Attention spans are getting shorter, as are the ideal lengths for video content along with them. Although not quite extinct, the days of 30-minute video tutorials are quickly headed in the same direction as the skinny jean; which is why building a strong Reels and TikTok marketing strategy is paramount. With both Instagram and TikTok bringing in over 1 billion monthly active users, brands are now expected to show up in both spaces if they want to stay relevant.

While each may have similar interfaces—short-form video, sound-on, customized discoverability—it’s important to understand that to truly succeed you need to build different strategies for Instagram and TikTok. These 5 tips will set you on the right track to craft an impactful approach for each channel.

1. Define Your Purpose

First and foremost, think about your “why” for showing up on each channel. Instagram is great for driving traffic to your website, so think about implementing transactional calls-to-action and featuring details about your products in Reels content. On the flip side, people are flocking to TikTok to see their favorite creators showcase creative and authentic content. Leverage this channel to grow your brand voice through product reviews and user-generated content (UGC).

2. Build Loyal Partnerships

The influencers you’ve worked with on Instagram up to this point are going to slip into your Reels strategy with ease. They know this space and they already live and breathe your brand DNA. Leverage them to build out your campaigns and bring your story to life by featuring them across your Instagram real estate (Stories, Feed, IGTV, Reels) through branded content tags. While utilizing existing partners in your TikTok marketing strategy may be effective, take it a step further and look for TikTok-first influencers. The algorithm on this platform is constantly changing, and creators of this kind are in tune with the trends. They know what’s working, and what’s flopping.

“We started contracting TikTok influencers to create content for us and then add it into our own team’s content plans.”
— Dana Nolan, Vital Proteins, Social Media Coordinator

Just as you would with any other channel, segment your content to see which creators drive results for your brand.

@vitalproteins

Life is SO tricky, but #collagen helps. 😉 @bransennn ’s secrets out! 😏 #vitalproteins #stayvital #fyp

♬ original sound - Vital Proteins


3. Follow the Trends

Jumping on trends and contributing to the conversation is one of the most important things to pay attention to when building out your Reels and TikTok marketing strategy. Pay attention to what’s trending on the For You and Discovery pages to tailor content to fit your own brand voice. Trends are always popping off in different forms. Develop a habit of watching the first ten videos on each platform and pay attention to consistencies among hashtags, sounds, and transitions.

4. Be the Same, Same... but Different

It’s natural to expect Instagram and TikTok to have some crossover. Be strategic when filming your content so that you can show up with original content in both places without spending a ton of extra time creating. Food52 shares the same recipes to each channel, but the team knows that on Reels, people will engage with visuals of food and recipes alone, while on TikTok, they can lean into their personalities a little more.

Food52 Instagram Reel of Hummus


“We’ll do a couple different shots so that the Reel works for Reels and the TikTok works for TikTok. We don’t want each platform to feel the same.”
— Patrick Moynihan, Food52, Director of Social Media

When you find a pair of shoes you like, do you buy them in every color for variety, or do you buy 5 identical pairs? Think about Instagram and TikTok in the same way. In order to continue to grow your following and engagement on each channel, you need to show up for your audience with something (at least slightly) different, in each space.

5. Data Speaks Volumes

Creating beautiful content that gets you noticed is the goal, but it’s the data that lets you know how it landed. With the recent launch of Reels Insights in app, brands now have all the metrics they need at their fingertips to output video that resonates. Use the same approach when planning out your TikTok marketing strategy by opening up your analytics and paying attention to the posts that are generating the highest reach, video views, and shares. Look for similarities of top performing posts within each individual app to help inform your strategy on how to continue curating a high-performing and visually-pleasing feed.

Brands across all industries are shifting to include more video across their channels. It can be easy to get caught up in thinking that creating for Reels and TikTok takes a lot of extra time, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to. While it is important to approach each platform with a different perspective, at the end of the day remember that it unlocks the creativity and cost efficiency of creating content that doesn’t need a big production budget, and takes a phone-first approach. If it looks like UGC, it gets a better ROI.

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