Destination Digital

Let’s Get Reel: Can Instagram Reels Work For Business Accounts?

Instagram’s latest feature, Instagram Reels, is the social media platform’s response to the extremely popular TikTok; the content creating, video sharing platform that took the world by storm in 2020.

The rise of short-form video on social media has changed the content that people want to see and with 78% of businesses using Instagram for marketing (that’s 200 million business accounts), they’ve all been attracted to the short-form video format like moths to a flame.

However, there is just one downfall for Reels, business accounts cannot use all trending audio music.

Update: Read our new blog, published May 2023, for more information on music for Reels and TikTok.


What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels allows you to record, edit and share videos that are up to 90 seconds long (fun fact: the ones that are 5 seconds or shorter perform better, but if you do ‘live style pieces to camera’ videos, you might need more time). The feature is very similar to TikTok, where you can overlay special effects, music, captions and much more.

As well as appearing within the Explore tab, Reels now also has its own dedicated tab on the Instagram app that is similar in appearance to the TikTok news feed, where users can watch an endless stream of videos made by others.  Take a look at this step-by-step guide we wrote on making Reels for more on the ‘how to’.


Why can’t business accounts use popular music for video content?

Due to copyright, business accounts do not have access to popular music from recording artists when creating video content on Instagram.  The basis of this is that artists don’t want their name attached to a brand, product or service that they do not personally endorse.  This is a one-size fits all solution that might seem a little over the top, especially if you are just a person who has converted your account to a business account in order to see the Insights you get on this type of account.

In place of using music from popular culture, Instagram has provided a library of royalty-free tracks for business accounts to use on Reels. Although royalty-free music is a useful alternative to no music at all, it removes some of the discoverability of a post.


Are there drawbacks in not being able to use trending music on Instagram?

Attaching a song to a Reel works in a similar way to using hashtags, whereby the video is exposed to that particular song’s tag, but with the potential to reach a wider audience than hashtags. Reels, as with TikTok videos, rely heavily on the use of music and some tracks can be the driving force behind a video going viral. With that being said, if businesses are limited to using royalty-free music only, it does not provide them with as much scope as influencers with personal or creator accounts for attracting new customers to their brand, product and/or service.

Part of using social media as a business is being able to jump on current trends to increase brand awareness. If a business can’t use music from trending videos, then they could potentially be missing out on a large portion of users that might show an interest in their brand.

All is not lost though, as there are also a lot more trending audios coming out on the platform that are ‘mashups’ and remixes that removes those audio pieces a step away from, say a track by Madonna or Kendrick Lamar by overlaying, dubbing or remixing it with other sounds.

They are usually mixed in this way to capture a mood or a trend, and so can end up being far more useful than a straight sample from a popular song as the culture of Reels and audios has developed over the year or so since launch. So far, these reworked audios also escape detection by Instagram’s policy compliance bots too, so as a business account, you need to point your attention in that direction instead.

Should you use Instagram Reels for marketing?

As the feature is still in its infancy, Instagram Reels uses a formula to attract and engage users, meaning Instagram’s algorithm currently favours accounts that frequently use the feature, so it’s worth trying them out for your business to see if it can bring you more exposure.

Reels are a great tool for marketing purposes, as they provide you with the perfect chance to entertain or educate your audience, show your brand’s personality and let your followers know your business on a more informal and personal level, as well as putting a spotlight on your products and/or services.


Here are a few tips on how to make your Reels more discoverable

  • Show off your brand

You can say a lot about your brand and products in just a few seconds, so use this time to be creative and show off your products and/or services in the best light possible! Give your audience a sneak peek of new items, pull together a compilation of all of your most popular products or record a short demo video. Doing these things will showcase everything you have to offer and you’ll be able to figure out what content your followers love to see the most from you.

  • Show behind the scenes action

Behind the scenes footage is a great way to show what your business is all about. Show footage of a member of your team hard at work or a fast-tracked Timelapse video of what a day ‘in the office’ looks like for you. In doing this, you’re showing the hard-work that goes on behind the picture-perfect façade of your Instagram grid, allowing your audience to relate to you more.

  • Educate your followers

Instagram Reels are a great tool for providing your audience with quick educational videos, an effective way of keeping them coming back time and time again! Create how-to videos or maybe you can do a quick Q&A for those questions that frequently appear in your DMs. Your audience will quickly discover that they can rely on you for helpful tips and advice and will be more likely to follow your page to keep up to date with all that you do.

  • Get up close & personal

It’s time to shine and step out from behind the grid so you can show-off your brand’s personality! In the world of social media, you need to lose your business face and switch things up every now and again so you can engage with your audience in a more fun, personal way. Jump on a trending audio and incorporate your brand messaging in a fun way or film some short ‘meet the team’ videos so you can build a better connection with your followers.


Read more

We hope that you found this article useful. Take a look at the other social media help articles we’ve put together:

We’re sure there will be additions to this list, so maybe bookmark this page if you found it helpful.


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If you’d like help with your social media marketing, email us on or give us a call on 01629 810199 for a quick chat.

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