Six Must-Know Best Practices for Instagram Reels
As social media continues to evolve, we’re seeing short-form video everywhere! This traction is especially apparent on Instagram, where Instagram Reels have taken off.
In fact, Reels get 22% more engagement than other types of Instagram posts. “Since TikTok came onto the scene, everything has shifted to short-form video content, and it’s no secret that Instagram favors Reels,” says Creator and Reels aficionado Chelsea Henriquez.
To optimize your content to make it more successful, here are our top six best tips for maximizing your Instagram Reel reach and engagement.
1. Turn your beautiful images into a Reel
For Creators who’ve specialized in editorial photography, Reels can feel like a particular challenge. Do you just…turn your photos into videos? Well…yes!
Think of the video format as an opportunity to showcase your high quality imagery in new and exciting ways. For example, “I found a way to incorporate my creative photography into a Reels format— think BTS videos, the moment v. the photos, etc.—and it’s helped a ton in terms of reaching new audiences,” explains Henriquez.
2. Tease your video on IG stories
Do you have a social media growth hack you want to share? A new recipe you’ve perfected? Have you discovered a pair of sandals that never give you blisters?
Create a Reel and tease your incredible discovery on your Instagram Stories before pushing it live!
Social media coach Brittany Worthington loves this trick, and uses a “secret formula on stories for hyping up my upcoming Reel by discussing the topic prior, doing a mini-training or getting my audience to participate in polls or quizzes.” The tease primes the audience to want answers once the Reel goes live.
3. Find a “hook” that grabs and keeps your audience’s attention
The most effective Reels videos all have a “hook” that gets you watching, keeps you engaged through the end of the video, and promises a payoff. The hook can be something like, “watch this video to learn the easy way to make $10,000 in one month” or “you won’t believe the results of this new, 3-second contouring hack!”
Need some great “hook” ideas? Here are 5 ideas from Worthington herself:
After grabbing your audience’s attention, “cut the fluff and get straight to your point!”, explains Worthington. Here are her additional tips for holding on to that attention:
- Ensure that your concept is easily identifiable by someone that has followed you for a while and also someone that knows nothing about you.
- Use dynamic editing to hold your viewer’s attention for longer.
- Expand on the concept by directing viewers to the caption, which continues to hold their attention.
- Add a Call to Action to generate impactful and important conversations.
4. Keep your Reels video short and sweet
Like your Reels should be, we’ll keep this tip to the point. “Shorter is better for watch time and complete watches—the algorithm tracks this!” says social media strategist and Media A LA Carte founder Amandina Altomare.
It’s true; the algorithm prioritizes the video when a Reel is watched till the end.
Altomare also believes editing is key. “Cut out all the dead air. If you think it’s done being edited, edit it again! I assure you it can move faster or something else can be cut out,” she says.
5. Always, always, always add captions and trending audio
“Use captions and always use trending audio when possible,” recommends Altomare.
Consider how and when you watch Instagram Reels–are you always at home, alone, surrounded by silence? Or, are you swiping through Instagram with the audio off while half-watching old episodes of Friends?
“Apparently, more than 80% of Instagram users watch videos without sound, meaning that adding text and captions “ensures no one is swiping past when their volume isn’t on,” says Worthington.
If you need help finding trending audio, Altomare’s Media A La Carte agency posts a monthly recap of their favorite trending audio, like this:
6. Find a posting schedule with the ideal mix of quantity and quality
While there may not be an exact posting schedule that works for all Creators, Worthington believes Creators should “post as often as you can whilst maintaining impactful value and high quality.” Of course, that schedule is different for everyone. “For some people, that’s three days a week, and for others, that’s 10. Once you know your audience inside and out and you nail your unique messaging strategy, generating ideas and content should become faster, meaning you can start to increase your output.”