For some, the thought of summer ending brings about sighs of sadness, knowing that the long days, beach trips, bonfires, and warm weather are all coming to an end. For others, though, it brings a sense of excitement about the return of (and search for!) the perfect dorm accessories, cozy sweaters, and plenty of “Get Ready With Me” videos for the first day of school.
No matter which camp you belong to, the fall season marks a time of significant change, and for content creators, that should include a shift in their social media strategy. As short-form video content continues to dominate virtually every platform, content creators are bound to forge some bold and innovative new paths for themselves.
If you’re a creator, keep reading to learn more about Instagram Reel trends, which you’ll likely see plenty of this fall, along with some tips for making the most of your short videos.
What Are Instagram Reels and How Do They Benefit Influencers?
Threads may be the newest addition to the Meta lineup, but Reels are where short-form video creators can shine on Instagram. As Instagram’s answer to the TikTok obsession, Reels used to have a maximum runtime of 15 seconds, but back in July 2022, Instagram announced that any video under 15 minutes would be shared as a Reel. If the Reel is created via Instagram Reels tool in the app straight from the Instagram camera, the length is up to 90 seconds—a game-changing decision for creators.
Generally speaking, Reels are the ultimate multimedia tool for Instagram creators. With in-app editing tools, you can add popular Instagram Reel songs, AR effects, and transitions to make your videos stand out, and you can also share them in your feed with the rest of your content or as part of your Instagram stories.
The rise of Reels has been a game-changer for Creators, benefiting them in several ways, most notably:
- Increasing reach and engagement as Instagram continues to prioritize Reels
- Creating attention-grabbing, engaging, and approachable content
- Providing a chance to show followers more of who a user is beyond their photos
The following section will show you how to use Instagram trending Reels as inspiration to expand your influence as the back-to-school season approaches.
7 Back-to-School Instagram Reel Trends to Grow Your Following This Fall
If there’s anything that content creators can count on, it’s the fact that social media trends change even more frequently than the seasons do. Part of your job, therefore, is to remain ahead of the curve and always ready to dive into new things. As kids (and their parents) get ready to head back to school, here are seven upcoming Instagram Reel trending features you should focus on to take your Reels to the next level:
1. Social Activism
Millennials and Gen Z form Instagram’s two largest user groups, and they tend to care a great deal about the world and its injustices. It would make sense, therefore, for them to bring that activism to social media, where they spend a fair amount of their time.
As for what that will look like for “back-to-school” influencers, it could mean creating trending Reels on Instagram that focus on an educational or social cause you genuinely care about. Consider partnering with education-based non-profits to raise awareness and support for their causes. MagicLinks Creators could also set up an ObsessedWith.It storefront of products to benefit a teacher or mentor in their life.
2. Comment Reply Reels
With Reply Reels, Instagram users can reply to any comment with original Reels, opening up a whole new world of opportunity for influencers to get their content in front of new audiences.
Instead of typing out a detailed answer to a comment or question, you can use these Reply Reels to create in-depth, personalized responses that speak directly to people in your audience, thereby helping to build relationships. Reply Reels also allow you to express your reactions in a way that emojis or GIFs can’t quite capture.
3. Branded Meme Reels
By now, we all have our favorite memes. They connect people in a way that few other mediums can, helping people find common ground through a shared experience. Memes can, therefore, be a great way to humanize brands and make them more approachable.
Branded meme Reels, in particular, involve taking a well-known video meme and making it applicable to a particular brand. Influencers can use them to win partnerships and help brands make deeper connections with their followers.
4. Evolved Back-to-School Hashtags
Identifying and using all of the trending hashtags for Instagram reels in your niche is no longer the way to go. Instead, shift your focus to niche-specific hashtags. If you’re working with a specific brand, you may want to consider branded hashtags that help you narrow your audience and connect with people looking for exactly what you’re promoting.
If you’re worried about a lack of fall hashtags, 2023 will undoubtedly have plenty of them, but you can always make your own by simply adding words like fall and autumn to your existing hashtags (for example, #fallmakeuplooks).
If you’re searching for new hashtags for education, think about adding words like #school and #FirstDay. Of course, those looking for hashtags for teachers should always fall back on #TeacherGram, #BackToClass, #DormLife, and #BacktoCollege.
5. User-Generated Content
As the back-to-school season inches closer, it’s important to note that Instagram users are moving further away from over-polished brands and mega-star influencers. Instead, trending Instagram Reels this fall will be all about appealing to consumers with relatable content.
Consequently, user-generated content (UGC) will continue to rise in popularity. Those purchasing clothing or college dorm decor will want to see Reels of real people sharing the same experience, whether they’re modeling looks or showing off their spaces. It helps users better connect with a brand when they see themselves in the content. In fact, MagicLinks just launched UGC campaigns to empower more brands to turn to our amazing network of influencers to create content that fans will love.
If you’re not already, use the “Add Yours” sticker when you post Reels to your Instagram Stories. Whether you’re a brand or an influencer, it’s a great way to get other people involved and get them to respond to your content with their own.
6. Back-to-School Broadcast Channels
Broadcast channels are relatively new to Instagram, acting as a one-to-many broadcast tool for creators to roll updates out to their most devoted fans. For Creators creating back-to-school content, they represent an excellent opportunity to take fans behind the scenes with college or dorm room tours or have them follow along with their first-day-of-school posts.
Broadcast channels are a great way to show your personality so your audience can see who you truly are. Blast your posts out to your broadcast channel for greater exposure, and don’t forget to use an Instagram Reels trending hashtag for the best chance of making it onto the Explore page.
7. Shoppable Reels
Shoppable posts have existed for some time, but they should still be a part of your content as we move into the fall 2023 semester. Of course, back-to-school season means shopping for a new wardrobe, backpacks, and supplies, but for college students, it may also mean new dorm gear.
As such, partner with home decor, retail, and stationary brands you already love to add relevant shopping tags to your back-to-school Instagram Reels. If you want to go beyond Reels, you can even consider hosting live shopping experiences to help your followers find what they need in real-time.
A Few Reels Best Practices to Follow
As you consider how you’ll adjust your Reels strategy to align with emerging trends come the fall, it’s essential to keep the following best practices in mind:
- Take a multimedia approach by using video, still images, audio, and fun graphics to grab and hold user attention
- Make sure you add captions to make your Reels more accessible and accommodate those watching without sound
- Create rich captions more than 30 words in length and use your Reel content to point users to those captions for more information
- Don’t forget to sync your video and audio, as users will quickly lose interest in poorly edited Reels
- Use plenty of fall-related or back-to-school hashtags to help people interested in your niche find your content and inform the algorithm of your content.
When you do Reels the right way and give Instagram users what they want, you’ll enjoy plenty of engagement — and likely score better brand deals — as a result.
Going Back to School and Forward into the Future
There’s no getting around the fact that Instagram Reels are here to stay. Therefore, as the back-to-school season ramps up, content creators are placed in a distinct position, able to take advantage of the upcoming trends discussed above to help students and families find what they need to succeed.
While short-form video trends will continue to evolve, your opportunity to impact the world will remain unique. Though you may be hesitant about trying out new trends, remember that doing so helps you continue building a brand for yourself that brings immense value to companies and communities that align with your mission and passion.