In today’s digital world, trends change faster than ever and consumer expectations are ever-evolving. With roughly one billion monthly active users, creating Instagram Reels for your brand or business presents a great growth opportunity by turning followers into loyal customers. What’s more, as Reels are a newer feature, Instagram’s algorithm favors accounts that are regularly publishing and engaging with them. But you should also look to use Reels to highlight your brand values, personality, unique product offerings, and educate your audience. From content creation tips to posting best practices, this guide shares top tips and hacks for brands to jumpstart their Reels strategy.
Creating original content is key for discoverability. Instagram confirmed it is prioritizing “entertaining, funny, and interesting content” as recommended Reels in places like the Reels tab. Producing an original content idea can be a challenge—luckily, you don’t need to start from scratch! You can take an existing trend or idea and put your own unique twist on it.
Start by conducting research. Millions of creators have already published countless Reels. Based on your target audience, spend some time scrolling through popular creators among their demographic. It’s also worth checking what your competitors are up to. 👀
If your first few Reels don’t gain a ton of traction or engagement—no worries! Just. Keep. Going. 👏 It’s all about trial and error—such is social media. 🤷♀️ Here are some ideas to get you started:
Trends go as quickly as they come. To jump on timely trends, take a few minutes to scroll through Reels each morning. Are there any trends that continue to pop up across brands and creators—an audio clip or song, a visual trend such as dances or hand movements? If so, tap the audio to discover how many videos have been created with it and get an idea of what the trend is. Brainstorm how you can make this trend relevant to your brand. You can even try creating your own trends and asking your followers to tap in! Don’t forget to include a unique hashtag.
Instagram encourages the use of music from their library or creating original audio to increase views. Browse from music curated for you, trending songs, categories, or use the search bar to find a specific song.
However, if you have an Instagram business account, you won’t have access to use music from most recording artists—this is due to copyright restrictions. Fortunately, you can use ‘Original Music’ from users who have uploaded the song you want to use. Lookout for song titles that include the words ‘Original Music’. These are often the trending songs you want to use, just uploaded by an individual. To use original music, scroll through Reels to find the audio you want and then tap the audio and press ‘Save Audio.’ When creating you’ll be able to use music under ‘Saved.’
Hard selling is out, authenticity is in! Forget pushing your products or services, instead capture attention with unique content that positions your business as the go-to brand. The more authentic your video, the more credible your brand appears. Reels are not only used for the latest dance trends. There are thousands of informative videos that have gained virality. Providing educational content shows the value of your products or service. You’re the expert–own it!
For example, Clean Skin Club created a crash course for cleansing by sharing a step-by-step routine including tips and tricks for face washing. While they used their own products, the video acted as a ‘how-to’ for users and could be done with any facial cleansing products.
While it’s okay to share the same content on multiple platforms, Instagram confirmed it de-prioritizes videos that are “visibly recycled from third-party apps.” This means that Reels created from apps like TikTok are less likely to appear in Instagram’s Explore Page and Reels tab. You have a few options here:
#DYK 85% of video is watched without sound? Adding on-screen text and subtitles to your Reels is key to reaching more users and increasing views. Not only are subtitles useful for people watching without sound, but they make content more accessible. To add video subtitles, use Instagram’s closed caption sticker and Position your closed captions in the center of your screen to make them visible in every part of Instagram. Directions below:
The placement of your on-screen text is extremely important for your audience to read your text. If your text is not easily visible, the likelihood of users scrolling past your content increases, which can result in a decrease in engagement.
When adding text, make sure it’s within 4:5 dimensions, especially if you’re sharing it to your feed. This way, when a user clicks on your Reel in-feed, the text will be visible.
Help Instagram’s algorithm understand your content and serve it to relevant audiences by including relevant 3-5 hashtags. For example, using hashtags like #skincare101, #skincareeducation, and #skincaretips will tell the algorithm that your content is about skincare—and may increase the chances of it being served to users who actively engage with similar content.
Additionally, Instagram has recently rolled out keyword search in several countries, allowing users searching for related content topics to discover your content.
Increase views by sharing your Reels to your Instagram feed. The more views, the higher your chance of going viral. If you are concerned about ruining your feed’s aesthetic, upload a cover image that fits in more cleanly with the rest of your content. When posting, tap the “crop profile image” to preview how it will appear on your feed.
To increase reach, share your Reels to your Instagram Story. You can tease your Reel by covering your video with a gif and encourage your users to “tap to watch.”
You can also further engage your audience by adding question or poll stickers to get their take on your content. For example, if you’re a fashion brand doing a try on haul of your new summer collection, use the poll sticker to ask users their favorite color or product option, or use the question sticker to find out what they want to know about the new line.
Drive traffic and sales directly from your Reels by including a call-to-action (CTA) that includes purchasing instructions in your caption. You might write something like, ‘Tap to Shop’ or ‘To buy, tap the link in our bio!’ You can also include a CTA using on-screen text, a verbal call-out, or all of the above.
Creating Instagram Reels for your brand or business is one of the top tactics to help grow your following, reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and drive sales. With these top tips you’ll be sure to supercharge your Reels strategy. Still have questions? Click here to get in touch.
Written By: Katlyn Valenti, Senior Content Strategist