Instagram Reels: How to Reach New Audiences Effectively
Instagram Reels are not just for new recipes, funny videos, and viral dances. Reels can be an invaluable asset to both your social media marketing strategy and overall business growth. Luckily, they’re not that difficult to get the hang of.
You’ve probably already gone through a lot to promote your business online: you created a website, opened social media accounts, and invested in digital advertising, so adding a new type of content to the mix might seem like a chore. However, Instagram Reels provide a way to boost your reach and engagement, almost unlike any other form of advertising, making it worth the effort you invest.
If you haven’t started using Reels yet on your business’s Instagram, take this as your sign to begin. Before you start recording, let’s take a closer look at how to easily begin creating Instagram Reels and ways you can use them for your business.
What are Reels on Instagram?
Unlike Instagram Stories, video posts, or IGTVs, Reels have a different set of rules and expectations than other Instagram features. For starters, Reels can only be up to 60 seconds long, so this isn’t the format to use if you want to relay heavy amounts of information by video.
Reels are similar to Tik Tok videos in many ways, and you’ll often see Tik Tok videos uploaded onto Instagram as Reels. Reels most often include either a single or multiple video clips, audio that’s either original, like voiceover, or a known song, as well as edited features like text overlays, adjustments to the video clips, filters, and more.
Reels can be viewed on almost any area of Instagram, and as a user, you’ll see Reels that show up in multiple locations, such as:
In your feed
On the Reels page (the button in the middle of Instagram’s menu bar on the bottom of the app)
On an account page
Shared in Stories
Reels are everywhere on Instagram. In June 2021, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, announced that Instagram is “no longer a photo-sharing app,” emphasizing Instagram’s shift to focus more on entertaining video content as opposed to mainly photo content. The reason for this is twofold: Instagram needs to evolve to keep up with major competitors, like Tik Tok, and Reels also help users increase organic reach and engagement, as seen by major sports teams on Instagram who saw up to a 67% increase in engagement when using reels as opposed to other Instagram video formats.
While it’s always ideal to have a variety of content types in your Instagram marketing strategy, it’s becoming more important than ever for businesses to keep up with the marketing trends and embrace video content like reels.
How to make Reels on Instagram
You don’t need to hire a content creator to take charge of your Instagram Reels just to get in on the action. Making good Reels takes a bit of practice, but once you get going, you’ll find that using a simple video maker or helpful Instagram tools is easy to do. Here is a basic walkthrough on how to get started.
Step 1: Open your camera and create footage
When you open your camera on Instagram, select “Reels” from the menu at the bottom of your screen. From here, you have two options: you can either use videos already in your camera roll or shoot new footage by holding down the record button. The option you choose will dictate some of the edits you have access to later on, so play around with both ways of creating a Reel to see what you’re most comfortable with.
Step 2: Select your audio
Do you want your video to have captions and a song or ambient music in the background? Would you like to be talking to the camera or add a voiceover on top of your video? If you want to choose a song to accompany your Reels, you can even do this before uploading or shooting any video. Otherwise, your Reel’s audio can be you talking to the camera or your own original soundtrack.
Step 3: Add features
There are a lot of things you can do with your Instagram Reels footage, particularly if you’re recording your video straight from within the app. For example, you can add visual effects, select the timing of each clip to use exactly the footage you want and shoot it with a countdown, align different shots together, or change the speed to slow down or speed up a clip.
Step 4: Add text
After adding all the features and effects you want, you can add text to your videos. While this step isn’t necessary, it’s highly recommended to add captions to your Instagram Reels both for those who are hearing impaired and also to make it easier for users who prefer to watch videos without sound. You can also integrate text as part of your Reel by pointing to it when filming, adding titles or steps, or using text to highlight the information you’re talking about in your video.
Step 5: Add the final touches
When you’re done editing your Reel and you’re happy with it, you can preview what it will look like and then you’ll be prompted to share it. From here, choose an eye-catching cover photo, add an informative caption that will show up with your post, tag any other relevant accounts, and opt to share it in your feed or only in your Reels tab on your account page. We recommend sharing it to your feed as well since this increases the number of people who will see it.
6 Ways to use Instagram Reels for your business
You want to have a well-thought-out strategy for creating Reels for your business account, but since there aren’t really recognized Instagram templates for Reels like there are for posts, you have room for creativity and some lighthearted fun. Here are some ways you can use your Instagram Reels to increase social media engagement for your business.
01. Create educational content
Educational content can take on a lot of different forms. From posting Reels about where to visit, style an outfit, or how to use a product, the purpose of the Reel is to inform and teach your audience. Posting educational content makes you seem like an authority on the topic, especially if you post multiple videos of the same type. For example, if you’re a bakery and you regularly post Reels of how to bake different types of bread, your audience will think of you as an expert in bread-making.
Wix user Kaekoo Shop creates home decor pieces and uploads Instagram Reels showing her audience how to style their home. In this Reel, she shows her followers how to refresh their couch and pillows, which is related to her product and helps establish her as an expert when it comes to reliable information for home decor.
02. Promote customer stories
Whether through user-generated content or by creating videos of your own centered around your clients, your audience also wants to see how others interact with your business. Using Reels to highlight customer testimonials or reviews is a great way to throw in a quick recommendation for your brand in your audience’s Instagram feed.
Modsy, a 3D design company, showcases how one of its clients used its business to design her living room. By creating a Reel made up of images, simple text captions, a video of the client, as well as an original voiceover, Modsy gets to show off both its services and a real customer who used them and had a positive experience.
03. Share behind-the-scenes content
Being authentic on social media helps your customers view your brand as trustworthy rather than just a company after their business. Part of remaining authentic is sharing more personal aspects of your business, like introducing your employees, showing behind-the-scenes details about what it’s like working in your company, or what goes into making your product. You can use Reels to share short snippets of special behind-the-scenes content to give your audience a taste of your brand’s personality and the real people that make your business a success.
Coral Gardeners, an environmental conservation company, uses Reels on Instagram to go behind the scenes with its team and show its audience the work they do. Here, Coral Gardeners shows their audience how underwater photographers captured a cover shot. While the picture itself is impressive, seeing the real process draws your audience in by showing the story behind the photograph, which is more engaging than just a photo itself.
04. Show your product
Reels are a great way to showcase your products or services. This could be introducing a new product to your audience with a sneak peek, showing an item’s benefits, or showing the product in action. If you’re a service-based business, then you can show how your brand stands out from the competition by demonstrating how your services work in a quick Reel. You can really get creative here with how you want to show your product using props, audio, or your video editing skills to really make it pop.
Instagram users love food, and Wix user Modern Bread & Bagel, a gluten-free bakery in New York City, has caught on. Whether making Reels showing how to make a recipe, a close-up of a delicious sandwich, or using a product to make a dish, Reels are a good way to turn a delicious-looking snack into a “must-have.” Sometimes, your product sells itself, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to showcasing it in videos. Modern Bread & Bagel made a relatively simple Reel of one of its sandwiches being made on a grill but paired with some simple text and a trendy audio bit. This simple yet visually appealing Reel managed to reach almost 200,000 views.
05. Use Reels to advertise
As of June 2021, Instagram made it possible for advertisers to create Reel ads, giving businesses even more opportunities to reach new audiences and make money on Instagram. Reel ads appear in between other Reels, so when a user is scrolling between Reels, they’ll see placed ads that they can interact with through CTA buttons. Like other forms of social media advertisements, you can select your goal for Reel ads, such as creating brand awareness, increasing traffic, getting app installs, and more.
When creating a Reel ad, it should look very professional and put-together. Printful, a custom painting company, does a wonderful job aesthetically displaying its spiral notebooks. Since users are likely scrolling past Reels quickly, you want to make your ad still stand out and also get straight to the point.
06. Direct your audience
Even without using a Reel ad and CTA buttons, you can still use this format to ask your audience to take action or direct them elsewhere. A good way to do this is by using some of the types of Reels we already mentioned, but not giving away all the information. For example, make an educational video about tips, but only give two or three and direct viewers to where they can find the rest. Show your product in a video, and ask users to go to the link in your Instagram bio to find more information or read an article about it.
James Lewis, an artist who often shares his work and methods on Instagram Reels, directs his audience where he wants them to go with a simple Reel. By sharing some behind-the-scenes footage of how he created a painting and using a voiceover to inform people about a live workshop he’s hosting, Lewis encourages users to take action outside of Instagram and click-through to places such as his Wix website jamesllewis.com.
By Lena Sernoff
Senior Digital Marketing Expert & Writer