Since we published this post over a year ago, Meta has peppered Instagram Reels with a slew of new updates. In true 'The Princess Diaries' makeover spirit, I'm of course updating this blog post so you can jump into 2023 like a true Reels connoisseur.
Here we go!
Back in October 2021, I wrote that Instagram has revealed that Reels are one of the fastest growing ways for businesses to reach new followers and get discovered across audiences. You should take note of that claim - because since last time, Reels have only expanded their market share on Instagram!
This has more to do with the explosion of TikTok, which has become a worldwide addiction with over a billion monthly users. TikTok's popularity has therefore forced Instagram to re-route their algorithms so that Instagram Reels are more prioritised in our personal feeds.
For you as a business, this means you can no longer settle for simple posts to grow and capture a dedicated following on Instagram. So, with an average engagement rate of 1.95% - which is at least double compared to other post types on Instagram - don't underestimate Reels' positive impact on your Instagram profile's reach and engagement.
It's time to get your work gloves on so you can increase your follower count and get more attention for your business in 2023. And I've created the ultimate how-to guide so Reels can become your most powerful tool!
Instagram Reels are vertical videos that - since July 2022 - can be up to 90 seconds long. Where Reels really stand out is that users don't just see Reels from the profiles they follow, but from all Instagram profiles on the platform.
Reels allows you to create interactive videos where music and sound clips are the essence of the experience. Reels allows you to cut the video sequence directly in the Instagram app, so you don't need other tools or apps to do the job.
You can share Reels on your story and in your feed, where it will automatically appear in the 'Reels' and 'Explore' tabs.
The face of a brand is what consumers today hunger to experience. Instagram users want to see branded content that they can relate to and that gives them a closer relationship with the products or services they buy. That's why Instagram Reels are a great way for brands to flex their creative muscles and show who they are in a fun and visual way.
Bonus info: a 'view' applies as soon as a user taps into your Reel.
Since Instagram's Reels feed consists of suggested content, it's a huge advantage if you get to know the algorithm. I'll do a brief review of what Instagram itself has said about their algorithm, and what you can do to get your Reels prioritized.
Instagram likes it when people see your whole reel. Therefore, you should also consider how long your video sequence should be. If you make a Reel of up to 90 seconds, the chances of it being viewed from start to finish are much lower than if you made a 10-15 second video.
In my experience, 5-10 seconds is the most optimal length for an Instagram Reel.
Short and sweet!
Make sure you encourage interaction when you make a reel, so you can get as many likes and comments as possible. Another trick to boost exposure and algorithm is to ask your colleagues to go in and view, like, comment and save it.
People will click on the sound if they are considering using it. That's why it's a good idea to do a little research before you start producing your reel. One trick is to use TikTok and find out what's trending in there in terms of music and sound sequences.
Instagram is about 14 days "late" in terms of trends. If something is trending on TikTok, you can be sure that it will soon be trending on Instagram.
Does your reel fit the 9:16 format while still being high quality? Then you'll get some extra love from the algorithm. Another tip is to use effects and filters from the Reels workshop, which give an extra wow effect to your Reel.
In June 2021 it became possible to advertise on the location Reels.
According to Instagram, Reels is the best location to reach users who don't follow you and to get discovered worldwide.
Unlike Organic Reels, you can upload a video that lasts up to 60 seconds. The video will then loop, provided the user does not scroll further. The user can also like, comment, save and share Reels ads, allowing you to interact with your audience.
What's important if you decide to advertise on Reels is that you tailor the creative to match what the user expects to see when they view Reels. Make sure you use music from Instagram's music library or 'trending sounds', and use effects such as 'transitions'.
Do a lot of research and gather ideas and inspiration on how to best present your product to fit into the Reels universe.
I've created a step-by-step guide for you so you can make your first Reel without drowning in all the cool features and options Instagram Reels have!
Since I made this guide, there have been many more ways to access the Reels feature.
Tap the Reels button at the bottom of your screen and then the camera icon at the top right.
Open the Instagram story by swiping right on your feed. At the bottom, select the 'Reel' function.
Press the plus icon in the top right corner. Then select the 'Reel' function.
Now you need to start making your Reel. And there are several options.
But first you need to remember to determine a length for your reel. You do this by pressing the clock icon on the left. Here you can also access the music library, effects, speed and more if you want to choose these before you start recording or inserting video clips.
You can record clips right now by pressing the 'record' button in one of the Reels workshops, or you can paste existing clips from your camera roll. It is also possible to paste images from the camera roll.
Once you have recorded or inserted a video clip, you can delete it again, crop the length or change the order of your clips by pressing the 'Next' button at the bottom right and then 'Edit' at the bottom left. You can always go back and add more clips.
Now for the fun and creative part of making an Instagram Reel!
Once you're happy with the length and order of your video clips, you can use a variety of tools to edit your Reel so that it perfectly suits your business and hopefully captures your audience!
Tap the music icon at the top to choose which song or sound you want to play on your reel. In here you can also create voiceovers or import your own sound!
Remember that businesses don't have access to all music on Instagram due to licensing restrictions.
Bonus info: if you use your own original audio, your profile will be credited. This means that users can create Reels with your sound by selecting "Use Sound" from your Reel.
When you tap the effect icon, you can make your Reel more exciting so it stands out from the crowd of Reels on Instagram! You can choose filters, draw, edit the sound and add text, emojis, stickers and gifs. It gives your Reel the final touch!
It's time to share your reel on Instagram!
To split your reel, press the 'Next' button. Choose a cover image, adjust it to fit your profile grid and write a catchy text! Remember to use various hashtags and tag relevant profiles, collaborators and your location.
Now you're ready to publish your first reel by pressing 'Share'.