By Lauren Hilger
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by Instagram’s new REELS feature, or have played around a bit with it but aren’t really sure what to do, this post is for you.
When it comes to Instagram’s new Reels feature, I know most of us are like “Ugh, I just got good at IG Stories & IGTV, now I have to figure out something ELSE on the ‘gram?!” Believe me, I get it. The last thing we wanted at this point in 2023 was for Instagram to drop this bomb on us. The good news? It’s actually the plot twist we all needed.
As we know, Instagram has been plagued with controversy around its effect on our communal mental health, and has even gone so far as to remove “likes” from the majority of the platform. Netflix’s documentary “The Social Dilemma” has done nothing but stoke that fire. So how does Reels factor into this? In my opinion, it’s bringing entertainment, authenticity, and personality back into a platform that desperately needed an infusion of, well, FUN. Reels are fun to watch, and once you get over the initial hurdles of how to make them, pretty fun to create too.
If you’ve been holding out on creating Reels in the hopes they’ll just go away, or the hype will die down, I hate to break it to you — but Reels is here to stay. The reason? It all comes down to TikTok. Instagram rolled out Reels in an aggressive move to compete with TikTok, which has rapidly amassed a monthly user base of 100 million here in the US – just 50 million shy of Instagram’s audience – & was downloaded more than Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger in 2019.
You may have noticed Instagram has even been testing out new updates where Reels are more prominently featured, including the replacement of the “explore” page in favor of a dedicated Reels page. If you’ve noticed a drop in your post reach & engagement, now is definitely the time to experiment with Reels, since the algorithm is highly favoring that format.
If all that info has you feeling more inspired to take on Reels, you’re in luck – here are a few of my top pointers to get you started!
Don’t overthink it.
If you can post on IG Stories, you can post to Reels! Seriously – at the end of the day, it is just a :15 – :30 second container for video. If you have a sweet video you think your audience would like, consider posting it to Reels instead of to your feed or Stories.
Don’t recreate the wheel.
An easy place to begin is by looking at your top performing content, especially value-focused & educational content. Better yet, look back through past IG Stories (found in the “Archive” section), or your camera roll for existing content that could find new life as part of a Reel.
Batch your Reels.
Reels can take a bit to get the hang of, especially in the beginning. Do yourself a favor and set aside time to film a few of them at once. Make sure to spend a little time brainstorming the day before, so when it’s time to film you’re ready to rock. Bonus: batching content cuts down on the amount of times you need to get “camera ready.”
Don’t stress if you don’t have music!
I get asked this question all the time, and I actually think you are ahead of the game. Plenty of the top trending videos on TikTok just feature “talking to camera” style videos, just like what many of us are already doing on IG Stories. One of my predictions is that we will begin to see a shift away from strictly music & dancing videos towards these more selfie style talking or voice over videos.
Use the same post Best Practices you would for IGTV
Pick an appealing cover photo, use hashtags, tag any relevant handles in the caption, and make sure any on camera text bubbles won’t get cut off in the newsfeed view.
Okay, hopefully by now you’re getting as fired up about Reels as I am! If you’re ready to dive in, click here to download my FREE Instagram Reels Starter Guide for 10 Reels Prompt Ideas that will actually help make an impact on your business.
Looking for more social media strategy advice? Say hello to Lauren on Instagram @goldminedigital where she shares tips on how to grow your business on the ‘gram, even when you’re a busy AF entrepreneur.
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