Instagram launched Reels earlier this month, and was immediately criticized for incorporating many of TikTok’s core features, such as ways to incorporate music, original sound and special effects.
“Any big technology company can create another TikTok — as in the same functionality. But to rebuild that community, that’s very tough,” said Justin Kline, cofounder of influencer marketing firm Markerly. “I don’t think that [TikTok’s core younger] age demographic is going to just hop onto whatever other platform exists that has technology that mirrors what TikTok has.”
Plus, every social network has its own format and audience; what makes someone a success on TikTok, for example, may not translate as well on YouTube.
Walid Mohammed, a 20-year old TikTok talent manager, said Instagram should tweak its Reels recommendations so that the feed doesn’t continue to show “completely random” content, which has been his experience. “Until Instagram figures out their algorithm, people aren’t going to use it,” said Mohammed. “I’ll swipe through a couple of Reels, but it’s not like TikTok where I get lost for hours.”
Other TikTokers are posting original videos to Reels, while also posting some of the same content to both platforms. Cross posting saves times, and also gives creators a way to test out what resonates better on the respective platforms.
“You see a lot of these popular creators that are big on TikTok or Instagram, and they get big because they took advantage of the app in an early state,” he said. “I should take advantage of this opportunity now [with Reels], and really pour time into it, so that way when it skyrockets, I’ll be on the right side of it.”
“I wouldn’t be shocked if in six months, we don’t even know TikTok,” Smiley added.