The power of Instagram Reels has been buzzing around ever since the feature was launched as a way to compete with the ever-popular video app, TikTok. Both provide a platform for sharing short-form video content to educate and entertain.
While TikTok remains a top-ranked app for sharing content, many brands prefer to stick with Reels for one big reason: they already have a following on Instagram! Rather than build a new community from scratch on TikTok, business owners recognize the value of targeting their existing followers on Instagram as a way to nurture pre-established relationships with their audience.
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If Instagram Reels is still a foreign concept to you, don’t worry—it’s never too late to harness the value of video content on social media. Plus, it can be a lot of fun producing bite-sized content for your audience. Here’s a guide to getting started with Instagram Reels and how to embrace video storytelling to get your message across effectively.
Understand the parameters of Instagram Reels.
Instagram has a lot of elements for a user to take advantage of—from one’s feed and their Highlights to their Stories and, now, Reels. While Stories is a video-sharing feature, Reels lives on your profile for as long as you want instead of disappearing after 24 hours. Stories are a great way to share in-the-moment glimpses, whereas Reels are more of a production and can serve as mini commercials for your brand.
When creating a Reel, you can edit the video in-app to add special effects, adjust the audio, alter the speed, and create a professional-looking clip. Reels can be up to 30 seconds long, so use that time wisely—otherwise, consider IGTV for longer-form content like tutorials and webinars.
Decide what you want to create and share.
Once you understand the “how,” the big question becomes the “what.” Knowing what to post is a common challenge for those new to Reels, but one can easily overcome that with some strategic thinking. In general, Reels are created to serve one of three purposes: to entertain, to educate, or to inspire. A great video can do all three.
Consider these ideas for each category:
- Entertain: Show behind-the-scenes snippets of your team having fun, tell your wildest event stories, or share a silly take on the biggest misconceptions about planning an event.
- Educate: Give a rundown of an event planning timeline, break down the average event budget, or explain how you help your clients bring their vision to life.
- Inspire: Provide an insider’s look at your brand experience, show off some of your favorite designs, or suggest creative event ideas that aren’t seen often.
If you already have a content strategy, use it to create your Instagram Reels approach. What kind of content resonates with your audience best? Which blog posts have the most views? Which social media topics garner the most engagement? You already have a lot of information at your fingertips to inform your Reels strategy, so dig into what already works for your audience.
Plan it out in detail.
Unlike Stories, your Reels will take a bit more forethought to get right. I recommend approaching each Reel with a storyboard to lay out how the production will go. No, you don’t need to be an artist with expert shading techniques. All you need is an idea, a piece of paper, and a pencil.
Think of your storyboard as a framework for your video and break it down into three-second shots. If you’re using pre-existing content, divide it into equal segments and assign each one to a shot. Then, decide where you’ll shoot each segment.
Here’s a rough framework to follow:
- Clip 1: You introduce the topic with a smile.
- Clip 2: You share the first tip, with an action that aligns with it.
- Clip 3: You share the second tip, with an action that aligns with it.
- Clip 4: You share the third tip, with an action that aligns with it.
- Clip 5: You wrap it up with a final statement that leaves an impact.
The great thing about Reels is that you don’t even need to speak out loud. You can build out all of the captions in text instead. Adding in text, effects, and audio will come after you record, so don’t worry too much about that just yet. For now, you just want to know what you’ll do in front of the camera.
3, 2, 1—action! It’s time to film your Reel, so get yourself ready and grab a stand for your smartphone. If you have a ring light, bring that out as well. Then, head into the Instagram app and record your first three-second clip based on the storyboard. There is a three-second or ten-second countdown (your choice) so don’t worry about rushing into the scene.
Once your snippet is done, you may redo it, trim it, or save it to move onto the next three-second clip. Keep up this cycle until you have your whole Reel recorded! Then, you can move onto the editing stage where you can optimize the video until it’s just right.
Post it for all to see.
Once your Reel has the seal of approval, go ahead and publish it! Add a punchy caption about the content and include a few relevant hashtags to help it get found easier. You can also select a frame to be the cover image or upload your own. If you’re not ready to share it right away, you can save it for later use—just don’t share it to your Stories first, as it won’t appear in the Explore Reels tab for others to view!
Once it becomes clockwork to record a Reel, you can start batch producing videos so you can get a month’s work of content from only one day of setting up your studio, perfecting your hair and makeup, and going through the motions.
If you’ve been hesitant to pick up Instagram Reels because it’s been saturated, I encourage you to simply give it a try. You can bet that your existing audience will love seeing your content, and you’ll be positioning yourself on the screens of new, prospective customers who will appreciate your ability to entertain, educate, and inspire!