With the rise of TikTok during the pandemic everyone in marketing knew Instagram was eventually going to either buy it out or come up with its own version (remember IG stories were once inspired by Snapchat). This model has allowed the platform to continue to flourish, from what was once a gathering place for photographers to the multimedia platform it is today. So let's get started...
What is an Instagram Reel?
Instagram Reels (IG Reels) are a fun way to create engaging video content that is under 30 seconds. Just like TikTok, these short clips are great ways to get more eyes on your content. Each IG Reel is set to music or original voice-over and can easily be shared on your IG Stories, Feed and of course your Reels tab.
So why are these short video clips so important? There is a reason why Instagram adjusted its navigation menu to include IG Reels. The redesign of the app just furthers proves the push that this feature will have with the algorithm. Furthermore, IG Reels show up on Explore pages (Instagram search page) and push content to users who may be interested and not following you yet.
IGTV vs IG Reels
When video content first appeared on our Feeds it seemed to get the most engagement. With that, the rise of IGTV happened - and the more you posted on IGTV the more your page grew. The same now goes for IG Reels. Shorter videos are now the new way to grow impressions and get more eyes on your content.
Is that to say IGTV is done? No - IGTV is built for more informative content that requires at least one minute and can go up to 60. Just like your Feed and IG stories are still relevant IGTV is not going anywhere. However, Instagram wants to build on Reel content so the more you focus on IG Reels the more likely it is that the algorithm will push your content. That said, if you have a strong following on IGTV don't stop even though the view count is smaller there is more evidence showing that people who are invested in your business will want this content.
Do's and Don'ts of IG Reels
Like everything in branding your business, there are do's and don'ts. Here are a few things you want to keep in mind to help the algorithm push your content.
First and foremost - use verticle videos. IG Reels are ONLY being viewed on phones so keep that in mind.
Record, save and then edit. You may be on a job site or in the middle of a project, take a quick video and save it. Just like everything else on Instagram, you don't need to post instantly. Save the video and then use video editing tools like InShot, Quik and Vimeo Create to edit your content and prepare it for IG Reels.
Keep things short - yes I know you're only allowed 30 seconds but did you know 15-second videos do even better!
Make your content funny/entertaining/educational or inspiring. Content that falls under these categories tends to the best as it gets shared the most.
Use text - it helps get more information across in your limited time.
Don't forget the music! This is key, if you know there is a popular song on IG Reels investigate using that - the more popular of a song the more of a push you get through the algorithm. That's why so many songs get replayed.
Now, that you know what to do, here is what you don't want to do...
If you're on TikTok and thinking about recycling material think again. Instagram has confirmed that videos containing "logos/watermarks" will be less visible in the Reels tab. If you are active on TikTok and don't want to rethink creating videos then there is a solution. I've personally use the SnapTik App for a few of my subscription clients and it works great to remove those logos and make your content look fresh.
Avoid posting videos that are blurry or low resolution. Similar to the rest of Instagram although content can be a bit more fun and "not perfect" - they still want to push high-quality video. Ensure your video is clear in this case and not blurry.
Have a good ratio between text and the image. IG Reels is not a place for text-heavy content.
How to create an IG Reel
Start by opening the Instagram app and clicking the little "+" icon.
Next, you can record your video right on the platform by clicking the circle icon in the bottom-middle. If you are selecting a video you've already made or pre-recorded tap the tiny square with the plus sign in the bottom-left to access your phone gallery.
This page is also where you will select the length of your video, a song, adjust the speed, add filers and a layout if necessary using the icons on the left-hand side.
Please note my screen is black for this Reel as I wanted you to focus on the instructions and not the image/video. Where you see black your video content will appear.
Once this is done a new icon will appear to align your next clip to this one. This is a great tool for those transformation sequences.
Once you tap the next arrow a new window will open. This new window will have a new set of icons on the top of your page. These icons allow you to add stickers, adjust the song, do a voice-over, draw and even add text.
Once you're done tap the arrow on the bottom-right to move forward.
Now you can add a cover image to your IG Reel either something you created in your gallery or select a scene from the Reel itself. Add your caption, tag others and hit share to officially post your Reel!
How to add Music to IG Reels
Many business accounts don't have access to the entire music library on Instagram, but fortunately for you, we have a loophole. Just select any Reel with a song you like, tap the song on that Reel and you will either have the option to "Save Audio" or "Use Audio."
With Saved Audio you can collect songs and use them when you're editing in Reels however for Use Audio you do have the use the audio right away.
How to add Text to IG Reels
Start by writing the text on the page. Each point should be its own "text box." You'll notice the bottom bar will then start to create text boxes as well. Select the bottom text box to adjust the duration of the text by simply sliding the bar from either end. Then rewatch the video to make sure everything is landing at the right moment.
I've said it before and I'll say it again - you don't have to be on every platform or do everything on every platform. Focus on what best attracts your ideal client. This is one of the reasons why I waited a little while to get into Reels. I wanted to ensure my ideal client was there because let's face it - these things take time and effort!
Just remember Reels are meant to be fun, short and sweet, even when you're being inspirational or doing something to educate the consumer - it doesn't have to be perfect (you're not a videographer) as long as you're on-brand and having fun with it!