Like it or not, every social media network is now embracing short-form content, and it looks like it’s here to stay. Whether you prefer to use Instagram for Reels, create TikToks, or YouTube Shorts, your brand should be prepared to get comfortable following this trend and creating short-term content. If you already have a presence on Instagram, this is one place where you can start to see your content flourish simply by creating more video content.
What’s so great about Reels anyway? Recent statistics reveal Instagram Reels get 22% more engagement than traditional videos. Creating engaging and short Reels can help boost your video’s views and watch time. They are undeniably an effective digital marketing technique that can help you reach an audience outside your current follower list. So, we’ve compiled this guide to provide you with simple steps for creating high-engagement, entertaining Reels to boost your brand’s visibility.
Planning Instagram Reels Content
For most of us, making an impromptu Reel won’t work, so we have to take a moment to plan and incorporate it with our overarching social media strategy. Start by creating a list of ideas you have for Reels that are timely, relevant to your brand, and relevant to your audience. Then, you could start brainstorming ideas by simply viewing other Reels in Instagram’s newsfeed.
If you plan to use trending audio or participate in a viral challenge, create and post this type of Reel rather quickly so that the trend doesn’t overturn before you can participate. Also, ensure the Reels you want to make aren’t too off-brand for your business. Just because an idea is funny or entertaining doesn’t necessarily make it lucrative – keep the tone and voice of your social media in mind. Likewise, never sacrifice your audience’s needs or what your own data tells you to follow a trend that may not necessarily work for your brand.
Once you’ve made your idea list, schedule it out on a content calendar. By pre-planning your captions and hashtags on a content calendar, you can create your Reels as their post date approaches. Or you can do them in bulk on a dedicated content-making day. Whichever works best for your business!
Creating Instagram Reels
Now for the steps! Follow these quick tips for creating your first Instagram Reel in your Instagram app:
1. Starting a Reel
Go to your Instagram account and navigate to the profile page. You will see a plus (+) button on the top right of the screen. Click the button and select Reel. Alternatively, you can swipe left to access your Instagram camera. At the bottom of the camera, you will see a Reel option. Select it and move to the next step.
2. Uploading or Recording your Reel
You have two options to create a Reel: record a clip by pressing and holding the Record button, or upload video footage from your camera roll by clicking on the bottom left corner Library icon and selecting the images or videos you’d like to use.
Pro Tip: if organizing your pre-existing images or clips, much less cutting them together in perfectly timed snippets, isn’t your forte, then you can utilize the Templates feature under the Record button to use a cut-sequence, style or music that someone else has already created.
Also, be aware that in the sidebar Reels editing tools, there is one pre-editing option that will disappear when your first recording/upload is complete:
Length: use this feature to alter the length of your clip. Your video can be 15, 30, 60, or 90 seconds long.
3. Editing your Reel
Reels editor offers built-in creative tools that allow you to edit from one interface. The first set of these features is used while creating the Reel content itself. The following is a brief explanation of each recording feature you’ll see on the side of your screen:
- Audio: this feature allows you to choose audio from the Instagram music library. You can also use this feature to import audio from your device and add it to your clip. This tool also allows you to save your favorites in case you want to reuse certain audio for a Reels series or use branded audio like a company jingle.
- Effects: this feature includes visual filters you can apply to your Reel to give it a particular look or vibe. You can use what’s trending and save your favorite filters in this tool. (You could also utilize this before recording by swiping through the suggested filters next to the Record button)
- Speed: you can use this feature to change the speed of your video. If you want to slow it down, choose .3x or .5x. To speed it up, select 2x, 3x, or 4x.
- Layout: this feature allows you to adjust the layout and add an extra recording to the frame within the different grid option’s spaces. It then also lets you scale the camera frame within the grid option’s spaces.
- Timer: this feature allows you to set a timer that goes off before recording and choose a preferred time limit for the following clip. So, this is both a pre-recording and mid-Reel-creation tool. This feature can benefit users who need or prefer to record hands-free.
- Dual: both a pre-recording and mid-Reel tool, this feature allows you to record from both your outward-facing camera and your front-facing camera simultaneously.
- Align: use this feature to line up objects from the previous clip, so they start in the same place when recording subsequent clips in the Reel.
Once you have successfully recorded or uploaded your clip, click the Next button. This part of the Reels editor allows you to add stickers, filters, music tracks, voiceovers, text, captions, drawings, or even AR effects. All of these can be found at the top of your screen, and if you’ve made Instagram Stories before then many of these options will look familiar to you.
4. Adjust your Reel’s settings
Navigate to the bottom right corner of your screen and tap Next. You will get several options to adjust your Reel’s post and reach settings. You will be able to:
- Edit Reel cover
- Add a caption
- Tag followers or products in your Reel
- Enable a message button
- Select up to three Topics to help match your Reel to viewers
- Rename your audio
- Add location
- Attach a fundraiser
- Enable your Reel to share on Facebook
In the “Advanced Settings” tab, you’ll also be able to select whether this is branded content, which adds a paid partnership label and enables automated captioning for accessibility.
5. Post your Reel
Once you are through, tap the Share button at the bottom of your screen to post the Reel!
If you want to wait and build up your Reels drafts ahead of when you want them posted, Instagram has now implemented an in-app Reels scheduling feature. This allows you to schedule your Reel to post at an ideal time, up to 75 days in advance. This will be handy for brands looking to schedule posts without integrating costly third-party tools. Plus, this feature is available for both business and creator accounts. Here’s how to do it:
- Tap “Advanced Setting” before you share a post
- Tap “Schedule this Post”
- Choose your preferred date and time you want your Reel to go live
- Tap “Schedule” in the post composer
Instagram Reels is one of the most effective ways to get your brand in front of your target audience. However, success doesn’t come automatically. It takes effort and planning to create Reels that effectively promote your brand, reach new prospects, and engage your audience. If you have questions or need help creating Instagram Reels that are both engaging and entertaining, contact us to schedule a consultation or training.