Updated: Aug 23
Welcome them or not, Instagram reels are here to stay. If you’re anything like me, I was super resistant to get on board when they arrived on the scene. Hello fellow introverts! 👋
But as I learned how valuable they can be for my small business—not to mention Instagram’s new push for video content—it only made sense to give it a go. And to be honest, the more I do them, the easier they get.
As with anything, there’s a learning curve and I want to help YOU get ahead of the curve by dishing out what I’ve learned so far creating reels.
THE BENEFITS OF USING INSTAGRAM REELS
The number one benefit to using Instagram reels is your reach. I’ve had a few reels that receive over 1,000 views in a matter of minutes. It’s truly wild! You can very quickly grow your following and increase the number of eyes that are seeing your content and your brand messaging. They’re also evergreen, which means they keep getting views, whereas your regular posts have a limited push and only to your followers and respective hashtags.
Keeping Up with Trends
In the world of branding, trendy isn’t better. But in the world of social media, trending is best.
It took no time for Instagram reels to grow in popularity and with Instagram’s recent news about prioritizing reels and other video-based content, if you want to stay relevant, sometimes you have to play by their rules. I’ve personally noticed a drop in image-post engagement but have seen a huge growth in reel engagement over the last month or two. So the proof is certainly in the pudding.
Humanizing your Brand
From a consumer standpoint, I love seeing the faces behind brands via reels. Consider this an opportunity to introduce yourself to your followers and let them get to know you. This expedites your know, like, and trust factor.
5 TIPS FOR CREATING INSTAGRAM REELS THAT FLOURISH
There’s no telling which reels will get thousands of views and which will only get a couple hundred views. Here are the things you can do to help boost your reel views:
1. Use trending audio
You’ll notice many reels using the same songs. Believe it or not, the algorithm will prioritize trending audio tracks. So make sure you save those and see how you may be able to adopt them for your own audience!
2. Hook them in 3 seconds
Our attention spans are not as quick as our scrolling fingers. Engaging actions and even your choice of words can help keep their interest.
Pro-tip: say you/your twice in the first few seconds and people will stick around. An example I used was “4 Reasons YOU need a lead magnet for YOUR business”.
3. Avoid watermarks
If there’s a Tik Tok logo on your reel, Instagram won’t like that and you may struggle to get the same vast reach.
4. Quality Video
Make sure you film in good lighting and have a good composition or backdrop. It’s the small details that will help your reels get more views. It’s worth buying a phone holder or ring light. I bought this phone holder from Shein and it was super inexpensive and has made recording reels much easier.
5. Movement & Transitions
There are all sorts of ways to engage your audience. Using transitions like changing outfits, making things appear or disappear, or even good ol’ dancing is what people respond to. Don’t be afraid to make it fun. It may take some time to get comfortable with it, but the more you do it the easier it becomes.
HOW TO KNOW WHAT TO POST ON INSTAGRAM REELS
The best place to get content ideas is to start watching reels. This allows you to get a feel for what other people are doing and what audio tracks you can use for your own Instagram reels.
The number one goal in creating your Instagram reel content strategy is to think about what YOUR audience will find valuable. Look at what other accounts are doing with different audio tracks and consider how you might be able to put your own unique spin on it.
Try your best to maintain your focus on content that your audience will value or relate to. I’m a big proponent for insightful captions. To ensure your value is being received, put a call to action on your reel.
My go to CTA’s are adding “Read the Caption” at the end of a reel or if you create one with lots of text like this one, tell them to screenshot it! That tells them there’s great value coming up.
MY FAVOURITE ACCOUNTS TO FOLLOW FOR INSPO
Three accounts I follow that help me improve my reel game are:
@pinksparrowsocial - she did 30 reels in 30 days and grew her following by 30K! She offers incredible value by showing you quick Instagram reel tutorials and is a great resource for trending audio and ideas.
@thisisvirginiakerr - aside from being truly hilarious, she is your go-to gal for video strategy. She offers great (and fun) tips to make sure your video game is strong!
@jasminestar – the queen of social! She is a great one to look to for Instagram reel ideas and inspo. She also has a lot of great tips, tricks, and trending audio!
HOW TO FIND AND SAVE INSTAGRAM REEL AUDIO
To save audio tracks from other reels to use for yourself, simply click on the scrolling audio track at the bottom of a reel you like. Click ‘Save Audio’ and it will automatically be added to an Audio folder under your saved items.
If your Instagram reel audio isn’t working
If you find you aren’t given the option to save certain audio tracks, I have a special hack for you! Instagram Business accounts aren’t given the same music library as Personal or Creator accounts. BUT, if there’s a track you desperately want, all you have to do is edit your profile and change your Category to Entrepreneur.
Edit Profile > Category > Entrepreneur
I’m not sure why this is the case, but take advantage! I was listed as a Designer but now I’ve changed over to Entrepreneur for ease. You can do this permanently like I have or if it doesn’t align with your business to do so, just edit your profile temporarily when trying to use certain audio tracks.
KEEP YOUR SANITY BY STAYING ORGANIZED
Track your Tracks
If you’re anything like me, you will start to save so many audio tracks that you’ll forget what each one is. I created a Reels Audio spreadsheet in Notion where I have columns for the name of the audio track, a quote from the track or indicator of what it is, and a space for content ideas.
Save Your Drafts
Do yourself a favour, and save your drafts to your phone. I’ve heard horror stories of those whose drafts in Instagram vanished. All of that time spent filming, editing – gone!
Whether it’s just the video or fully edited video with text placements—save them to your phone. It won’t take the audio track with it, but you can always upload it to your saved audios again if you have to.
EDITING INSTAGRAM REELS AND STAYING ON BRAND
Editing Your Reels
I won’t sugarcoat it—reels are time consuming. In the beginning, it will take some time to get the hang of it. But it does get better, I promise.
My go-to app for editing is Inshot. It allows you to slice and dice your videos, speed up, slow down, and record voiceovers. It is a real game changer. Can’t recommend it enough.
Canva is also an option but I wouldn’t rely on it for all of your reels. Watch this reel for How to Create an Animated Reel Entirely in Canva.
For lip-synching with some of the Instagram reel audios, if you’re struggling to sync up, try recording in 0.5 speed. This makes it much easier to pull off, but you do have to act in slow-mo haha!
Remember, people aren’t watching reels to read, they want to be entertained or learn something visually. So try to avoid using too much text on your reels, and if you do, make sure you tell them to screenshot it!
Stay on Brand
Use the same Instagram fonts and colours on your reels to be consistent. If you can, using your brand colours is a huge bonus! Unfortunately you can’t add an image into your reels like you can on a story; but you can add story stickers.
For me, I have created my own branded story stickers using GIPHY. I add one to my reel when I’m editing and then use the eyedropper to borrow the colour and then delete the sticker.
Whatever your tactic, just be consistent
Hopefully these tips will give you the confidence to get going on Instagram reels. If you’re still unsure about your reel’s debut, create a few and save them as drafts. When you feel like you’re ready, hit PUBLISH! And remember, we’re all in the same boat. Introvert, extrovert, whatever you are! We’re all pseudo-performers now.