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 for you, they’re not that difficult to get the hang of.
If you haven’t started using Reels yet on your Instagram business account, take this as your sign to begin. Before you start recording, let’s take a closer look at what Reels are, how to create one and what they can do for you.
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What are Instagram Reels?
Unlike Instagram Stories or video posts, Reels have a different set of rules and expectations than other Instagram features. Reels can be up to 90 seconds long and are similar to TikTok videos (you’ll actually often see TikToks re-uploaded to Instagram as Reels). Apart from voiceovers, music or other audio, Reels also often feature text overlays, stickers, filters and more. And, they are popular; a recent survey of 2,000 people found that 74% of Instagram account holders use Reels, with a 57.4% year-over-year increase in usage.
While it’s always ideal to have a variety of content in your Instagram marketing strategy, it’s more important than ever for businesses to keep up with the current marketing trends and embrace video content like Reels.
How to use Instagram Reels for your business
01. Create educational content
Educational content can take many different forms. From posting Reels about where to visit, style an outfit or how to use a product, the purpose is to inform and teach your audience, which can go a long way toward boosting your social media engagement. 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 décor 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 relevant to her product offerings and helps establish her as an expert when it comes to reliable information about interior decorating.
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.
For example, 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 is always a good way to gain more Instagram followers. Authenticity 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 detailing 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 Instagram Reels to go behind the scenes and show their audience how underwater photographers captured a cover shot. While the picture itself is impressive, seeing the real process draws the audience in by showing the story behind the photograph, which is more engaging than just a photo itself.
04. Show off 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 simply offering a glimpse of 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 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. Create ads on Reels
In June 2021, Instagram made it possible for advertisers to create ads on Reels, 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, they’ll see placed ads that they can interact with through call-to-action (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 print-on-demand and dropshipping company, does a wonderful job aesthetically displaying its spiral notebooks. Since users are likely scrolling past Reels quickly, you want to make your ad stand out and also get straight to the point.
06. Direct your audience to your website
Even without using an ad with a CTA button, 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 one of the Reels ideas 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 then 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.
How to make an Instagram Reel in 5 easy steps
Making good Reels takes a bit of practice, but once you get going, you’ll find that using a simple video maker or some helpful Instagram tools is easy to do. Here is a basic walkthrough on how to get started.
Step 1: Open your camera on Instagram
When you open your camera on Instagram, select “Reels” from the menu at the bottom of your screen. From here, you have a few 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 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. You can add visual effects, select the timing of each clip to use exactly the footage you want, align different shots together or change the speed to slow down or speed up a clip. There’s an Instagram templates feature for Reels within the creator menu if you prefer some guidance here.
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, 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 Instagram feed as well since this increases the number of people who will see it.
Tips for posting Instagram Reels
As you learn the ropes of posting on Instagram Reels, there are a few tips to keep in mind that will help you continue to grow your audience.
Stay on top of trends: Whether it’s a viral audio, filter or hashtag, jumping on trends is a great way to get more eyes on your content. Browse other Reels or even TikTok videos for inspiration, as there is often overlap between the two platforms.
Post frequently and consistently: Consistency is key with any kind of social media marketing, so you’ll want to create a posting schedule and stick to it. Additionally, it’s important to post somewhat frequently to keep your audience engaged and regularly expose your content to new people. Marketing experts recommend posting between four and seven Reels per week.
Encourage audience engagement: Prompt your viewers to share, like and comment by leaving a question in the caption box or asking them outright in your Reel. Higher levels of post engagement will lead to higher chances of visibility.
Collaborate with other creators: Content collaborations with other businesses or creators can be a great strategy for cross promotion. You may be able to reach a brand new audience and vice versa by featuring them in a Reel.