How do you feel about Instagram Reels? I believe Instagram Reels can be both an excellent tool for connecting with your audience, and they can also be a shiny object that distracts you from your primary goals. Get into the habit of asking yourself this question when it comes to Instagram: does this support the life I want to create? That’s my biggest hang-up when it comes to the buzz surrounding Instagram. It’s hot, it’s trendy – but will it be forever? Are the things I’m doing now on Instagram going to impact my business for years to come? If I’m being honest, the Instagram hype is very temporary in my eyes, but I am an advocate of utilizing it as a way to hype up your business or get your stuff in the hands of your ideal customers.
Let’s dive into how to use Instagram Reels to help your brand make a big splash on the platform. But first, I want to share a disclaimer about Instagram Reels: they aren’t life or death. This isn’t some slick marketing strategy that I’m sharing with you that’s going to change your business forever.
I recently had an Instagram Reel go viral with over 120,000 views when I shared the announcement about expecting a baby girl. But guess what? Nobody called my office, sent me an email, or tried to publish my content in Forbes or on Good Morning America because it just isn’t that deep. The Instagram Reels sub-platform, in my opinion, and various other IG gurus have recently shared, is an inflated matrix trying to make you feel the urge to do it now. Kind of like the Clubhouse app. They’re trying to create so much FOMO (fear of missing out) that you feel like you to do it to make your business survive. Nah, girl, you don’t.
If you’re reading this wondering, “What is an Instagram Reel?” here’s a definition for you. Instagram Reels are short-form video content (15-30 seconds) that are easy to enjoy and share with others. This Instagram Reels sub-platform has a dedicated Explore feed for you to watch Instagram Reels on the app, and they also are integrated into your Home feed and can be shared to Instagram Stories. This content format is Facebook’s attempt to compete with TikTok, which is especially popular for Gen Z.
Just as it does with the rest of the content on Instagram, the algorithm learns what you like by collecting data (ex. How long you watch a particular Reel, what types of Reels you like, comment on, and share, etc.) and serves you more of that. This is why, if you’re going to create Instagram Reels, you should create content that resonates with and serves your ideal customer.
Now that you know what Instagram Reels are, let’s discuss the creation process. I really wish I could use my words here while you’re reading this and give you an Instagram Reels tutorial step-by-step, but Instagram is a visual platform, and the best way to tell you is to show you. That’s why I’ve created a brand new class inside of The CEO Teacher School called the CEO Teachergram Class. It contains eight modules designed to help you skip the painful learning curve on Instagram and grow your following faster than ever before. Plus, there’s an entire module on Instagram Reels and how I use the CEO Teacher Strategy to help my brand stick out on a busy platform. If you download the CEO Teachergram Growth Guide, you’ll be on the waitlist when this program opens! In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of my process for creating Instagram Reels.
Maybe my favorite part of understanding Instagram Reels tutorials is a strategy I use a lot in my business: gathering inspiration! I love to look at what other people are doing that I like and take notes. I usually use the Notes app on my iPad or my iPhone and, if I’m ever scrolling through IG and see something that inspires me, I take a screenshot and upload it into my notes app.
Please note, I’m not talking about stealing other people’s content or ideas because I think that’s LAME. I’m talking about liking what someone else is doing and asking myself, “How can I do that my own way that could help my audience?” I probably have about 100 Instagram Reels saved right now if I ever get inspired to create a content batch. When I find extra time in my day (notice I didn’t say, I plan a day of the week to create them because, unpopular opinion, I just don’t think they are that big of a deal), then I do the next step in this Instagram Reels tutorial.
Again, inside the notes app on my iPad or my iPhone, I go to the screenshots that I took and note important things I liked. Sometimes it’s the music, and sometimes I take notes on the text and how it’s positioned on the screen, but most importantly, I try to take notes on my emotions. How did this Reel make me feel when I stopped the scroll on it, and why did I decide to save it on my phone? That magic statement is what I use to help me in creating my Instagram Reels for my brand. Here is an example of what those sentences currently look like in my phone:
Myths – Create a video using five myths teachers could have about starting a business online and share it on Instagram Reels. This reel was intriguing to me because it took coming misconceptions that many people believe, and it helps eliminate doubt in my customers. I saw this myth busters reel discussing diet plans but think I could easily use it in my business too.
I’m very serious about one aspect of my business, and although it has taken me over two years to get used to it, I believe in the power of scripts. I write out what I’m going to say, word for word, whether it’s recording a podcast, before I hit record on a class for one of my memberships, or yes, before I even record an Instagram reel. I don’t always follow my scripts verbatim, but I do have them to fall back on in case I need them. Earlier I mentioned using the notes app to screenshot reels for motivation and take notes on the things that I could do but I also, if in the zone, write down a few snippets of script to help me get started on the creation process. The great news is that the Instagram Reels time limit is only 15 or 30 seconds long, so it is easy to whip out a script. But I’m telling you, it’s worth it to take the extra time and create a script, and I recommend that you do this for all of your recorded content (okay, maybe not Instastories, but you catch my drift).
Once you click on the plus sign in the top right-hand corner of your Instagram home screen, you can jump into the Instagram Reels creation phase by swiping the bottom bar until it says reel. The Instagram Reels time limit is 15 or 30 seconds, and you can choose your time limit by tapping the top button on the left side of the screen.
If you have a creator account, you should still have the audio feature to add music or a sound to your Instagram Reel, but Instagram is constantly testing this. Some accounts have music; others don’t. Since you don’t own this platform, you can’t fully rely on it, which is why I believe your foundation should come from your website and email list. You don’t NEED Instagram Reels music or audio, and you can also create your own by talking during recording or add sound in through a video editor app later on. There are lots of options for your Instagram Reels music!
You can choose the speed you want the reel to appear to viewers, from super slow-mo to 4x fast. Making the Reel faster is especially fun when you’re dancing! Of course, you can use filters and touch up as needed, and you can set a timer so you can hit record and walk back to be in the frame. Those are the main things you need to capture a reel, but it sounds much easier than it really is. I’ll be honest; it took me hours to create my first few Instagram Reels. Once you find your groove and learn what works for you, it doesn’t take that long. But if you plan on becoming a Reels expert, make sure you schedule enough time in your day to do so!
This is probably the most challenging part of the process. It takes me longer to do this than anything else, especially if you want your text to show up at a specific time. Although you can do this using the Instagram app itself, I prefer to use InShot. InShot is a video editing app that is like having a fancy editor in your back pocket. From text fading in to transitions, InShot is one of my favorite go-to resources. Here are a few of the other features inside of InShot: trim clips, change the speed of your footage, and add filters, sound, and text.
There’s one last step you need to do before posting your Instagram Reels. And that is creating a cover image for your reel. It’s a thumbnail for your video. Adding a cover to your Instagram Reel instead of choosing a screenshot or letting Instagram pick for you lets you create a branded image that flows well with your Instagram feed, and that tells people what the Reel is all about. When people come to your profile and look at your Instagram Reels, we want them to be able to see what your Reels have to offer at a glance, so they can determine which ones they want to watch and learn from.
I create my Instagram Reels covers on Canva. Type in Instagram Reels in the search bar, and it will give you the perfect dimensions. Then you can create a cover that reflects your brand with a title or text to get your audience to tap on it. One of the epic bonuses I’m offering inside The CEO Teacher School when the CEO Teachergram Class is released is done-for-you templates that you can easily add your own branding and images to. Download the free CEO Teachergram Growth Guide so you don’t miss out on this brand new class!
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How are YOU feeling about Instagram Reels? As I mentioned above, I don’t believe they should be your main business strategy. You cannot cash your social media views (even if you go viral) into the bank. However, Instagram Reels can be beneficial for connecting with your ideal customer and serving them with short, quick content. I believe the best Instagram Reels are ones that have a specific goal in mind and that attract your audience.
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