Are you sweating trying to make your Reels look like an effortless mix of on-trend and on-brand? Spending *cough cough* way too long on a 30 second video and not seeing any results? Lucky for you, we’re here to help. Who are we? Glad you asked. We’re a female-founded creative social media agency that builds brands into relevant household names. Basically, we’re behind some of your favorite follows. The Edit’s clients alone reach 100 million+ users per day, so we know our stuff – and we’re excited to share it. Today we’re tackling tips + tricks to make the most out of the Instagram Reels feature, and highlighting a few brands who are absolutely killing it with their Reels content.
First up: let’s recap exactly what Reels are. In its most basic definition, Instagram Reels are first & foremost, videos. These short-form videos can be up to 60 seconds and are fun ways to capitalize on trending moments in pop culture, form a brand identity, and engage with your community. Like the popular Instagram Stories format, Reels can feature filters, captions, and more. Unlike stories, Reels do not disappear after 24 hours which makes them even more important in building up a content library.
Feel like you’re on Instagram but aren’t seeing many Reels? Make sure you know where to look. At the bottom of the home page, you’ll find a Reels icon. This will open a scrollable tab full of trending Reels (essentially Instagram’s version of TikTok’s “For You” page). When on a brand’s individual Instagram profile, you can click on the Reels icon to specifically view their collection of Reels. If a Reel is particularly powerful, it’s not uncommon for it to be saved to the main feed as well to maximize exposure.
If you’re already a pro at browsing Reels, you’ll see a lot of trending sounds that are familiar…and that’s probably because you just saw it on TikTok. Oftentimes, popular audio originates on TikTok and then finds its way to Instagram via recycled content shared to both platforms. However, it’s better to use original audio, and here’s why. The reason you want original audio in your Reels you uploaded to Instagram yourself is because it has the possibility to go viral. This could help your brand get discovered as other users need to credit you when using it. And just because you’re using trending audio doesn’t mean you can’t add original audio too. Utilize the voiceover tab to speak directly in your Reel. This allows you to be discovered via the background trending sound, while still adding originality to your content. Don’t want to create your own original audio, but sweating over the formalities of copyright law? While it is definitely illegal to add copyrighted music to your Instagram, you can add music from IG’s in-app library of tracks, worry-free.
So who’s really nailing the Reels game? Let’s talk about a few of our favorites.
1. Poosh: Kourtney Kardashian’s modern lifestyle website kills the Reels game with a mix of DIY tutorials and how-tos, beauty fixes, travel inspiration, and of course a healthy dose of Kourt’s sarcasm.
2. Florence By Mills: Millie Bobby Brown’s beauty brand is heavy on skincare routines and product demos, featuring tons of UGC (user-generated content) from the avid Florence fam. In the Reels below she hops on the Taylor Swift Wildest Dreams trend, which adds relevancy and relatability.
3. Summer Fridays: The cruelty-free skincare brand’s Reels feed is a cohesive mix of product tutorials, collabs, and on-brand aesthetically pleasing videos.
4. Courteney Cox: Courteney’s Reels are a fun mix of recipes, a peek into her impressive piano playing skills, behind-the-scenes of her family life, and a lot of poking fun at herself. It’s casual and effortless and dare we say it, makes us feel like true *friends*.
5. Moon: Oral beauty brand Moon heavily leans into their community for their Reels, sharing content from customers demonstrating how they use the product on their pearly whites. Their content is approachable & aspirational.
As is evident in the list above, the true benefit of utilizing Reels is that it connects brands with their community in a relatable and approachable way. Because it’s designed to capitalize on pop culture moments and quickly-passing trends, brands need to act quickly, making Reels a much less produced medium than other traditional content. Reels can be filmed, edited, and posted all within the Instagram app, so they’re a much easier lift than typical video production. Explore the above brands and see how they are also utilizing best practices, including text and original audio in their reels. Text is not only important throughout your Reels video, but starting the video with a text frame is a great opportunity to get some branding in their front and center and it’s a great preview for people scrolling through the Reels tab looking for videos that speak to their interests.
While Reels will automatically default to posting in feeds, you don’t have to share every single Reel to your main Grid. If you opt-out of adding it to your feed, it’s not gone forever or hidden; instead it’s handily categorized with your other existing Reels within the Reels tab.
Hopefully you’re feeling motivated and inspired to try to up your Reels game. Just remember, relatability is not just lip service. Really try to make your videos approachable! We’re talking simple: no professional lighting or fancy editing. Make sure if you’re taking advantage of a trend, you put your own spin on it. Don’t forget to tag the creator in your reel or mention them in your caption, to not only give them credit, but to support other content creators hustling like you are. Ready to plan and schedule your Instagram Reel? Try PLANOLY's Reels Planner. Simply upload a video on your PLANOLY Web Dashboard or Mobile App, add a Cover, then schedule. Due to Instagram limitations, you cannot auto-post Reels, but have no fear! You can also turn on notifications for PLANOLY, and we'll remind you when it's time to post.
P.S. Don’t forget your caption! Your Reel has a caption too, just like a traditional post. Incorporate hashtags and give your target audience a clear CTA (call to action) on how to best engage with that Reel. Tag a friend? Done. Create their own Reel? Even better. Keep building positive connections and empowering your community to share their own content too…but of course, remind them to tag you!