6 Top Tips For Instagram Reels

October 1, 2021
Harness the power of Instagram Reels with these 6 Top Tips.

Looking for top tips on Instagram Reels? You’re in the right place!

Reels have higher reach, more engagement and offer you the chance to go viral on the explore page… If you do it right. We’ve put together 6 Top Tips for Instagram Reels to make sure you get off on the right foot to start reelin’ in the benefits!

Instagram was created by a graduate from Stanford Business School who wanted to launch a platform to share his love of photography. Many updates, features and millions of users later, Instagram reels were born, adding an extra layer of opportunity for businesses and followers to connect.  But, if you’re new to Instagram reels there are a few things you need to know. So we’ve compiled some basic tips to help you get  started or improve your reel making. 

TLDR  Don’t have time to read the full article? No problem, here are some of the key takeaways to help you get started with Instagram reels;

  1. Place important content at the centre of your Instagram reel 
  2. Vary your content by using the green screen feature
  3. Add trending audio to your Instagram reels
  4. Choose a cover image for your Instagram reel 
  5. Remove watermarks on content recycled from other sites
  6. Add subtitles to your Instagram reels

Instagram reel App

So You’ve Come to Learn More about Instagram Reels? 

You’re thinking about expanding your social media marketing to include making reels on Instagram. Are you wondering if it’s worth it? Are you wondering where to start? 

We’ve got a few answers for you. Making the time to create Instagram reels is a great way to connect with your audience and grow your business. Instagram reels generate better audience engagement, greater brand awareness and the potential to go viral. Who doesn’t want all that?  To help you get started we have a few basic tips on creating Instagram reels, using Instagram’s features and making sure your content is set up to succeed on Instagram.  

What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram has been around since 2010 and it’s no wonder the social media giant has lasted so long despite the emergence of new platforms and changing trends. Instagram stories are a feature we’ve become so accustomed to that we might easily forget that Instagram adopted stories following the success of picture-chatting app snapchat. 

It’s no surprise that Instagram launched Instagram reels to rival the soaring popularity of the quick, short and simple video content creating app, TikTok. Since being launched in 2018, social media giant TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times and was the most downloaded app in the world in 2020 (read more about that on our blog here)

Why Should you use Instagram Reels? 

So now you know what reels are, why exactly should you use them? Well, you only have to look at the facts…  Reach.

Reels allows you to be discovered by multiples of the followers you have due to the explore feature, which highlights trending content.  Put simply, video content is just more engaging and as you’ll see below, reels is packed with loads of features to help you create engaging content.  Instagram is favouring reels in their algorithm at the moment, so using reels ups your chances of being featured on the explore page. An Instagrammers dream, as this rapidly increases your brand exposure to potential followers. 

image showing instagram insights for reach and engagement


How Do You Make the Most of Instagram Reels? 

1. Place Important Content in the Centre of your Reel. 

A guaranteed way to lose your followers interest is by having important content missing from your reel.

For example the top of your head being cut off in a video, or having important text being cut short is distracting to viewers and may have them scrolling on.  An important thing to know is that Instagram varies the size of your reel depending on where it’s displayed. Whether that’s on the grid, in your feed, or open in reels each of these features display your reel in different sizes. To avoid accidentally chopping off text bubbles, a beautiful view or the top of someone’s head, make sure that the important content is in the centre of your reel.  Want to be absolutely sure this doesn’t happen?

Create your reel and save it to your phone, then open Instagram and upload it as if you were posting to your grid to double check everything fits in! Perfect… no missing eyebrows for you! 

Important content centred on a screen


2. Vary your Content by Using Green Screen

It’s good to change it up every once in a while. And the green screen filter offers a really simple way to do just that. 

Want to remind people what it’s like to have a drink in their favourite pub or go to a gig? Simple, you can use photos from your gallery to do just that! Want to add a fun wallpaper to your video? Easy, you can talk to your audience from a tropical beach or another galaxy using one of Instagram’s filters. You can also add a video as your green screen and narrate to your audience! The options are endless, a simple and effective way to switch up your content. 

To use green screen, start a reel, click “add effect”, slide across for green screen and then “add media”. 

Example of a tropical island backdrop for green screen feature


3. Add Trending Audio to your Instagram Reels 

Adding music to your reel is a great way to bring it to life. But an even better and more effective way to use audio in your reels is to use trending audio. 

You may have noticed when you’re scrolling through Instagram reels that certain audio keeps coming up again and again. Whether it’s a voiceover, a sound or a song, using audio that is trending on Instagram makes it more likely that your reel will reach more viewers. Instagram’s algorithm recognises trending sounds and favours videos following the trend! 

So, how do you find the trending audio? When you see a video using the trending audio, click on the audio which is located at the bottom left of your screen. This will bring you into the audio and give you the option to save it. Then when you’re creating your reel, click add audio and choose from ‘saved’ at the top of your screen.

Audio inside the instagram app


4. Choose a Cover Image for your Instagram Reel

You’ve put so much effort into making your Instagram reel, so don’t forget to polish it off by selecting the perfect cover image. Selecting a cover image keeps your reels looking nice and tidy when you’re sharing your reels to stories and on your grid.

A carefully selected image will help the viewer identify what they’re watching. Another tip is using branded imagery, this can help you build your brand awareness and make your reels instantly recognisable.

Instagram grid showing cover photos for instagram reels

5. Remove Watermarks on Content Posted from other Sites 

Instagram and TikTok are fighting it out for a share of the same market, so no surprises here that Instagram does not like content recycled from TikTok.  Always use original content and remove watermarks from content posted to other sites. We’re looking at you TickTokers! The Instagram algorithm will push down content that has been recycled from other apps so make sure you lose the watermark before posting a TickTock video to Instagram reels.

Image with TikTok watermark displayed on the screen


6. Add Subtitles to your Instagram Reels 

Fun fact – 80% of consumers are more likely to watch a video with subtitles or closed captions. We’d take a guess that you’re probably one of those people too?

That being said, it’s best to try and adapt your videos to cater to users’ preferred watching habits.  Adding subtitles to reels makes your content accessible to everyone, no matter what they’re doing. Subtitles also help your content rank better within Instagram.  On a practical note, make sure when adding subtitles that you aren’t blocking any important imagery that is key to your message.

Add context to your subtitles by changing the colour or text if there is more than one person speaking in the reel! 

Image spelling out subtitles

Before you go…  Remember, above everything else consistency is key. Make sure you plan and prepare for Instagram reels like you would any other posts on your grid. The only thing worse than not having Instagram reels is half-having Instagram reels! Happy creating! 

Image with FAQ written in lights

Here are some FAQ’s about Instagram Reels: 

1. What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram reels are a new and easy way to share content with friends and followers by creating short and simple videos on instagram using a host of fun effects. 

2. What’s an Instagram Reel vs Story? 

An Instagram story doesn’t appear on your grid and disappears after 24hrs. Instagram reels appear in your feed, can be added to your grid permanently, and can be shared to stories as well! 

3. Who can see my Instagram Reels?

If you’re on private, only your followers can see your reels. If you’re on public anyone can see or share your reel. 

4. How long can Instagram Reels be?

Instagram reels can be up to one minute long. 

5. When were Instagram Reels Launched? 

Instagram reels were rolled out from April 2020 and are now available globally.