Instagram Reels are a great way to get your brand in front of people who don’t already follow you, but what’s the secret to their success? Business coach and social media strategist for the NRL, Emily-Rose Hills, breaks down the Instagram Reel secrets you needed to know yesterday.
You’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t heard the term Instagram Reels being thrown around – this is a sure-fire way to grow your account. Reels is Instagram’s answer to Tik Tok. They are short, vertical videos that are used for education and entertainment and getting incredible reach.
If you’ve already been dabbling with Reels, but posted without the results you expected, then you’re going to want to keep reading.
In this article, you’ll get a better understanding of how best to use Reels and learn some great practical Reel hacks you can apply to your own feed.
Brainstorm for ideas
Every great blockbuster movie started with just one concept. Grab a pen or pencil, or sit down at your computer with blank word doc and simply start jotting down ideas. If you need inspiration, visit your scroll hole and spend 30 minutes watching Reels, looking at the captions and hashtags used, and how you could put your own spin on it.
You could do a storytime, demonstrate a product, create a how-to tutorial, take on a dance challenge, or do a skit (comedian Jimmy Rees does some hilarious content on Tik Tok, which you could replicate for Instagram Reels).
Keep it relevant to your content pillars.
@jimmyrees Yeah … I dunno either 😭🐀🥴 #straya #theguywhodecides #jasonjasonjason ♬ original sound – JimmyRees
Storyboard like Spielberg
Part of every Oscar-winning movie is the storyboarding. You’ll need a new piece of paper and a pen (or an iPad and a stylus) to map out the different scenes that need to be filmed. Ask yourself what the ultimate goal is of your Reel? Is it to entertain, inform or educate? Do you want to build awareness of your brand or drive sales?
For example, if you want to drive brand awareness, you might want to walk a prospective client through your range of services. Perhaps you could showcase the different styles of haircuts and styles which transition with a shake of the head – new hair style, new client. Think about the angle you want it to be filmed (wide lens, close-up, aerial footage). Jot down the dialogue per screen and keep in mind the timing. You’ve got 15-60 seconds to communicate your story in an engaging way.
Every story has a beginning, middle and end. The beginning could be a client entering your hair salon and being greeted with a glass of wine, then the process in time lapse, or before and afters. When you’ve mapped out your dialogue and you’ve roped in your colleagues, family or friends to star in your production, it’s time to start filming.
Now that you have the finished video footage. It’s time to upload your Reel.
Uploading your Instagram Reel
Use the plus sign in the top right corner of your Instagram app. There are plenty of after-effects you can use to jazz things up. You can use the text feature to add additional context, swipe left to add filters, use AR effects, and even choose your favourite song or audio.
HOT TIPS! If you have a business account and want access to Instagram’s full suite of audio files, switch to a creator account. When you’re done, change it back to a business account. It can help your reach if you use audio that’s trending. Look for the little up arrow beside the name of the music to predict what’s popular.
More Instagram Reel Secrets
Producing quality Reels takes some time, but the end result is often worth it.
- Originality matters
Be uniquely you. Be authentic. Take inspiration from others, but try not to copy them. If you want to stand out in a scroll hole of Reels, be yourself and post consistently.
- Sharing is caring
When you share your Reel, you’ll get more reach if you allow it to be shown in your Instagram Feed and also share it to your Stories.
- Reel captions
You only have one sentence to capture someone’s attention. Keep it simple, as those first 3-4 words are everything. Here are a few examples:
- ‘Celebrity hairstyles you’ll love’
- ‘Professionally straighten your hair’
- ‘One thing turning girls bald’
- ‘How to ______’
- Ask a question. e.g. ‘Should I wear … ?’ or ‘Which looks best … ?’
Use relevant hashtags to describe your video content. Don’t try to be cryptic or funny; you need to think about the things you search for. If you can think of up to 30 relevant hashtags, you’re kicking goals and should get some good engagement. Research to see what others are using in your niche.
- Don’t forget to tag others
This is crucial if you want more eyes on your Reels. The more likes, comments, shares and saves your Reel gets in the first couple of hours can help determine the overall performance. If no one engages with your Reel, then Instagram isn’t likely to show it on the Explore page.
- Avoid the TikTok watermark like the plague
Instagram doesn’t give priority to apps created and shared by other networks. It might seem easier to hit the share to Insta button on TikTok, but believe me, you’re not doing yourself any favours.
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