It’s fair to say that trying to stay up with the latest Instagram trends is almost a full time job in itself. You also have to stay up to date with algorithm changes or updates. Questions like “how many hashtags are best?” or “how do I get followers?” keep us busy almost daily however, when we want a break from puzzling over these questions, we like to play around with the new features. Our current favourite is Instagram reels. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that we need to post a variety of videos, images, graphics etc. we would just play with reels all day long. But what is it about reels that is so fascinating and why are they the hottest content on Instagram right now?

Why Are Reels so Popular?

There are many reasons why Instagram reels are proving so popular on Instagram and why they get so much visibility. Let’s take a look at just a few of them before you start creating Instagram reels for yourself:

Instagram Reels Are Engaging

It’s all about engagement when it comes to social media. We aren’t called Engage Digital Media for nothing. There is so much content out there that businesses and individuals have to fight hard for their share of the audience. Reels, like TikTok videos, let you create fun and engaging content that is between 15-60 seconds in length and allows you capture the attention of your audiences being shared on Stories, the Explore Feed and the Reels tab on a user’s profile.

Instagram Reels Let You Get Creative

There’s only so much you can do with an Instagram image – you can edit it, brighten it, keep it as it is or frame it with graphics etc but aside from that it’s fairly flat on the page. Don’t get us wrong – Instagram was invented to showcase the best images of landscapes, stunning sunsets or cute product pics however, even the most interesting accounts can get a little “stale” if you don’t mix it up. Creating Instagram reels allows you to play around with images, create slideshows with a series of images, add voiceovers, text to speech, music and other elements.

They Are Discoverable

What does this mean? Well, if you want to just scroll through various reels looking for inspiration, all you need to do is click the reels option once you have carried out your hashtag search. Let’s say you want to do a search for “vegan recipes”. Just enter this as your hashtag option and then search the reels. Based on the content you like, you will also get presented with reels you might like in your feed. The reels that do well tend to end up doing really well. We know an influencer with 50k followers who has picked up manty followers simply from her reels doing really well. Not every reel will take off, but those that use the right music and capture the imagination of people certainly will. If there was ever a form of content that was going to get your business discovered, it’s reels.

Helps to Grow Your Following

We were discussing reels with an associate the other day and how they had managed to get 50k+ followers on their account. they we’re quite open and stated that most of them came from creating Instagram reels. They had created a couple that had gone viral and reached a million people. The number of followers that these reels picked up was impressive. Of course, not all of your reels will have this much success but you never know.

Important Things to Consider

Before we get into the finer detail of how to creating Instagram reels for your business, we give you a couple of important things to note:

Credit Where Credit is Due

It’s fine to share other peoples’ reels, and many people do, but be sure to give credit tot he original creator of the reel. Imagine if you had put lots of efforts into creating great content only to have someone else steal your thunder. A simple credit in your caption will ensure that you won’t get challenged for using the reel on your own account.

Business vs Personal Account

Before we get into the whys, wherefores and features of reels, we should point out that business accounts don’t have access to the commercial library of music that personal accounts do. You may want to consider converting to a business profile if you can actually manage with a personal account although you won’t get the same benefits with insights etc.

User Activity

The most important signal when it comes to recommending reels to your audience is user activity. It will look at what reels someone has ganged with previously and the interaction they had with the content creator. It’s important therefore to engage with those that comment, DM, tag etc. Encourage the conversation and ensure you are shown more in peoples’ feeds.

The next consideration is information about the reel. Popularity, audio used (has it been used by many others – a good signal) and how high is the quality of the reel. Watermarks and low quality resolution will not help your reel to be shown.

After that, Instagram looks at information about the video itself and information about the content creator. It will also look at information about the creator – how much interaction they have, who they are, how many followers etc.

The Various Elements of Reels

You don’t have to use every element available to create your reel. Sometimes a nice video or slideshow and some good music is enough however, there are lots of features that you can use to bring your content to life and make it more appealing to others.

The Main Content

The main content of your Instagram reel post will be the video that you use. Now, you can either shoot in-app which means you film the video live or, you can add video footage from your phone library. You can add one video, video clips that follow on from each other, one still photo that remains on the screen or a series of images to make a slideshow.

A reel can be up to 60 seconds in length but you can actually use longer content by selecting to speed up the video. As well as speeding up your content, you can opt to slow it down too. Want a short video? Choose from the options on the left hand of the screen. Select whether you want your reel to be 15, 30 or 60 seconds long. The full 60 seconds is great for recipes, showcasing various products or a how to video. Don’t just try and fill the time for airspace though.

creating Instagram reels

Audio

There are 3 topics to cover in Instagram reels audio – music, voiceover and text to speech. You can actually use the original audio of the video too if you would prefer.

Music

Choose from a whole library of popular and original music. As mentioned above, the popular tunes that you want to use won’t be available in a business profile. There are remixes of popular music for commercial accounts if you can find them. Usually you do this by discovering them in a reel you’ve seen and saving the music. You will need to ensure there is enough music or audio to cover the length of your video. If the audio is longer than you require you can select which part you use.

Top tip – if you see music/audio you like be sure to save it! You may want to use it in the future and it saves you trying to find it.

Audio can be selected from the options along the top of the screen along with all the other features – graphics, text etc.

instagram reels

You will notice in the above image that there is an option to edit clips at the bottom of the screen on the left hand side. This means you can shorten clips and swap them around. It may be that you need to change the timings to fit the music clips you want to use or that you want to shorten image timings to fit the beat of the audio. Playing around with the clips means you have more control over the end result.

Voiceover

You can record a voiceover to use in your reel either in your own voice or by choosing the effects available. For example, you record the voiceover then select if you want helium, announcer, robot, giant etc. If you don’t like the sound of your own voice, these voiceover tools are great for hiding it.

Text to speech

Released on November 12th, 2021, this is a relatively new feature and one that is growing quickly in popularity. We actually had a graphic that we wanted to post and decided that it would sit too flat on the page. Instead,  we bought it to life using a library video on Canva, added text over the top and changed the text from static to appearing. As the text came up on the screen, the speaker that we chose, relayed the text in the spoken word. The results were great. All you need to do is click on the bubble at the bottom of the screen that relates to the text and choose your text to speech option. You can see how it worked below. A simple and effective reel that was used to share the fact that was Walk Your Dog Month.

 

 

 

Text

If you don’t want to use text to speech, you can just add text to your screen. You might want to describe something, ask a question or just make a statement. You can select which parts of the video that you want the text to appear – it doesn’t have to be throughout the whole reel. just set the slider for where you want to it to appear and end.

Graphics, Stickers and Other Elements

Like Instagram Stories there are a whole host of graphics and other elements that you can use to bring your reel to life. Just spend some time searching for keywords relevant to the topic of your reel to get some ideas. Have a play around and find animations that work with your reel to give it even more traction.

Filters

Like Snapchat, there are also a selection of filters you can use to enhance your reel. Using the slider at the bottom, you can choose from a number of filters. Scroll through and find the ones that you like. If you are familiar with Snapchat, you will know how this works.

Sharing Your Reel

When you are ready to share your reel, hit share – then you can add the elements that go with the standard posts. With a business account, select where to share your reels – if you don’t want them to appear in your main Instagram grid, you can select that they just appear under your account’s reels tab instead. This feature is not available with a personal account.

Hashtags

When you have created your reel, you will still need to go through the other steps of creating an Instagram post including writing an eye-catching caption and using the right amount of well-chosen hashtags. There are a number of theories on how many hashtags you can use. Some posts won’t feature any hashtags, others will have up to 30. 30 is actually the maximum that you can use on a single post and you can either include these in the main body or reserve them for the comments. Comments tend to make your post look less busy.

Caption

A good Instagram caption should be straight to the point and should get people’s attention straightaway. Asking a question is a good start however, make sure you don’t try and say to much in that opening statement. Ask a question and include emojis for the best response. Consider how you respond to things and what gets your attention. That may be capital letters, a fancy type that you can install on your phone or simply a well written question.

Practise Makes Perfect

The best way to get to grips with something is to practise it. There are a few ways in which you can access reels and create them from your own account. From the reels tab, click the camera in the top right of the screen or click to add a new post and select reel. Take your time and practise with a few things. Before you do this though, explore reels from your own account. Have a look at what others are doing, see what inspires you, take a look on apps like Canva for stock footage that you can use and see what you can come up with. Most of all, have some fun creating Instagram reels.