Instagram Reels – short-form videos that last not more than 30 seconds – are everywhere. The tool was launched in more than 50 countries in August 2020 and there has been no turning back since then. Its popularity was such that it stirred the folks at Google out of their slumber and forced them to sit up and note the influence bite-sized videos have today. Soon after, in September 2020, we witnessed the birth of Reels’ rival, YouTube Shorts.
Why use Instagram Reels
Given its wide acclaim, you would be imprudent to ignore the Instagram tool that can help you explode your reach and get incredible results. Besides the increase in likes and comments, you can expect to see an uptick in the overall engagement with your target audience with its use. Not only is it great for growing a fan base, but for engaging with your existing audience as well.
How to use Reels
You can choose to create a video directly from the native tool within Instagram or pick an existing video from your phone gallery. If you opt for the former, know that there may be limited features available to you. These features, however, are useful. The features include audio, speed, effects, and timer (length of the clip).
Tips to up your game and wow your audience
Do not reinvent the wheel
Keep a keen eye on the kind of videos that are shooting influencers and viral folks to fame. Duplicate their efforts by adding your own spin to it and changing the context based on your niche. Besides YouTube Shorts, you could also leverage viral Tik Tok videos for such content. Scout for videos you would like to replicate and go for it.
You probably have a strong social media presence already, which means you have your own content on a podcast, blog, or another such social channel. Use them as anchor points from where to create new content. For example, you could make Reels from your photos.
Script out your ideas and know your angles in advance. Doing so will eliminate the need to procrastinate and put off recording your Reel and save much time.
Grab attention and keep it
Keep your Reel as short as possible. Ten seconds is ideal as this ensures that your audience will rewatch your clips to understand the context. Your view count increases each time the clip is viewed, and this number serves as a testimony to the popularity of your video.
Start the Reel with a question, a statement, or an entertaining facial expression. Viewers have the attention span of a goldfish nowadays and you must grab them by their eyeballs as soon as you can.
Speaking of grabbing your viewers by their eyeballs, the preview – the first time your target audience will see your Reel – should be attention-grabbing. The preview is what will make people click on your Reel. There is a catch here, however. Your Reel is the same size as your regular Instagram story i.e., 9:16 (1080 x 1920), but the preview is the same size as an Instagram post (4:5 in dimension). How do we circumvent this? Simple. To view how your Reel will appear on the main feed (the Explore page) draft an Instagram post – this is the size of the preview.
If the text has been cut out in the preview, there is a possibility of the audience missing the context and this would affect your views and rate of retention. Fix this by keeping text somewhere close to the middle of your video.
A cover image is the first thing visible on your preview. You can use Canva to create a custom cover image. If you don’t create a cover image, Instagram will create a default one by taking a screenshot from your Reel – not necessarily one that you were hoping for. Rather than leave your image to chance create your own and be intentional about all your content. The cover image should entice your target audience to stop, click and view your content. As an eye-catching element, add text to your cover image for visual appeal and immediately tell what your Reel is all about.
Transitions (outfit change, scene change, or introduction of a prop) keep people engaged. You could play around with different angles, stopping your video and beginning recording again, repositioning yourself in the video, and zooming in on yourself or an object.
Music’s a crucial role in the likeability of your clip
The right music makes all the difference. Always pick royalty-free music. Instrumental music i.e., music without lyrics never fails. When choosing music ponder over the effects of the selected music on mood, whether it is acting as a distraction or lending zilch energy to your content.
Instagram users don’t always have the sound on so ensure your caption or subtitle grabs their eyeballs and makes them want to turn on the audio to hear you.
Relevant value-based captions
A caption can include a call-to-action (CTA) to create more engagement. The CTA, which can be put at the end of your Instagram Reel, can be used to direct your viewers to go to your website or the next Instagram reel. The Instagram algorithm will notice an uptick in the engagement of your Reel and push it to the front page of Explore.
Good quality content in abundance
More content equals a bigger footprint; the bigger your footprint, the higher your chance of being picked up by the Instagram algorithm. Batch create your content (It will make life so much easier) and schedule posting at least once a week.
Once, you are done creating your Reel, it is time to share your clip with the world. In other words, publish it to the Explore page and your stories.