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Our top 5 creators on Instagram Reels (and what it means for your social media strategy)

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 08 Sep, 2020
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Discover our top 5 creators on Instagram Reels, and why we've chosen them. Stay up to date with the latest social media trend to inform your digital marketing strategy

One month ago, Instagram unveiled its latest platform update, Instagram Reels; an informal, content-centric, short video format for brands, influencers and fans to create and share alike.

"Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore."

If you're looking for inspiration, here are our favourite 5 Instagram creators, and why...


We're kicking off with @Netflix, who in the first quarter of 2020 delivered global net subscriber additions of almost 15.8 million. Call it the COVID effect. The challenge now for Netflix and other growing streaming services is defending their market share and retaining their customers.

This Reel is a light-hearted celebration of great on-screen drama, showcasing a 15-second teaser clip from newly released Work It. Challenged to answer 'what are they looking at - wrong answers only', customers and fans contribute to the hype around this movie, keeping it at the forefront of subscribers' watch lists and keeping the subscriptions coming in.

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Red Bull

While this brand certainly needs no introduction, their invigorating approach to Reels must be recognized. @RedBull is pulling in millions of views for their adrenaline junkie Reels, which are so well tied into the branding that the product doesn't even need to feature!

So, while we're catching our breath between thrills, it's worth noting that so far Reels has no ad formats or sponsored content. This is a deliberate move by Instagram to first build up the online community, getting into the heart of what Reels can offer audiences in 2020.

As we all know, integrated multi-channel planning should include a strategy for each channel, so how do we use Reels? This quotation from Adnews outlines the role of customer-centric content in Reels:

"Reels allows for brands to flex their creativity by entertaining and delighting their followers. To be effective with Reels brands must understand the needs of their audience. What are they seeking from you on all of your social media channels? What are they seeking from you on Instagram and where does a Reels strategy meet your audience requirements?"

And if that means we get more content like this, I'm definitely going to keep my eye on the Reels community...


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Louis Vuitton

Luxury fashion brand marketing is a law unto itself, and the fantastic suite of #LVCruise Reels racking up millions of views on Instagram is no exception. These high quality, iconic Reels put @LouisVuitton fashion at the forefront of content creation for everybody to see.

Just over a third of Instagram users are aged 25-34 and they represent a wide demographic. It's not difficult to see why so many fashion brands embrace Instagram to connect with their audience.

Naturally, the setup of the platform right now, with no sponsored ads and an Explore feed favouring engaging content, will allow Louis Vuitton to benefit from unprecedented organic reach.

A recent study into the target markets of some of the biggest luxury fashion brands out there identifies the following in LV customers:

  • Premium shopper
  • Loyal to brands
  • Early adopter

I'm not a Louis Vuitton shopper myself, but I can imagine these Reels capturing the attention of new and returning LV customers alike!


This funky offering from @Asos harnesses the power of influencer marketing. Denise Mercedes and Maria Castellanos, who feature in this Reel and many other similar videos, have a combined follower count of 1.93M and command the popular hashtag #StyleNotSize - a simple, effective way to boost views from interested parties.

Eagle-eyed viewers will notice the TikTok logo in the right-hand corner. Tik-Tok offers creators the option to export their videos, meaning content marketers are up to their old repurposing tricks - cutting down their up-to-60-second videos to 15 seconds.

Hubspot's blog gives a great outline of the differences between TikTok, Instagram Stories, and Instagram Reels.

NBA Basketball

Last but not least, we couldn't talk about Instagram Reels without giving a shout out to NBA Basketball. 20 of the league’s 30 franchises have posted Reels over the last month, resulting in an average of 22% increased engagement.

Once again, the user-centric content wins the day as these little gems offer informal, fun engagement - not a sales pitch in sight! Speaking to Sports Pro, Dev Sethi, Instagram’s Head of Sports, divulges his strategy to “create something that really fit the needs of young people”:

“It’s another unique, creative way for those constituents within sports – whether they’re athletes, teams, leagues or media – in creating entertaining short-form content that can reach potential fans and unconnected fans, maybe Instagram users who aren’t aware or haven’t consumed much content from those sports partners.”

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Houston Rockets

Credit where it's due, this is an incredible move. No wonder @HoustonRockets have drummed up 5.7M views and nearly 4,000 comments on this stealth basketball tactic to date.

Los Angeles Lakers

The caption 'Anybody know whose ball it is? 😂' sums this up nicely. With over 5M views the @lakers can rest assured we have heard loud and clear.


Instagram Reels offers content marketers a new interactive playground, and, right now, the chance to compete without being priced out of the market. With Reels, in addition to stories, Instagram is encouraging brands to let loose their informal side so that customers relish the opportunity to consume content and engage with the community. There's a place for this in nearly every brand's social media strategy, so it's definitely worth taking the time to find your voice - and do it soon, before your competitors!

Author's avatar

By Gabrielle Wright

Gabrielle Wright is the Smart Insights blog editor, managing the company's SEO and social media strategies. With specialisms in marketing for the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry, financial services, manufacturing, IT/high tech, brands and e-commerce, Gabrielle can generally be found in her second-floor Bingley terrace home office, with a cup of tea, reading and writing about marketing theory and its practical application in the global economy! You can connect with Gabrielle on LinkedIn.

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