Instagram Reels: A complete guide to skyrocket your engagement

Instagram is one of the most popular video marketing platforms for creators, small businesses, brands, and individuals. It has helped individuals, creators, and businesses grow over the last few years.

3 things that work for you when you’re including Instagram as a part of your social media strategy are-
1. Consistency
2. Video content
3. Engagement

What are Reels?

Video content has taken over the usual photo album Instagram feeds that businesses and individuals focused on in the years before the pandemic hit the world.
Slowly, social platforms started to build features that encourage more people to create video content.

Also when Instagram switched its focus from a square photo-sharing app to video content,  the platform has only seen an increase in the number of creators and small businesses too.

Reels are short-form 15 seconds – 90 seconds videos that you can create within the Instagram app.
You can also explore other apps that are available on the Play store and App store to create Instagram Reels.

How to create Reels within the Instagram app?

Before creating Reels, I strongly suggest you first fire the Instagram app on your phone and explore the Reels feature.
Just scrolling through Reels will help you understand the different kinds of content that are posted by people and how they do it all on Instagram.  This also gives you a fair idea to help you be inspired

I also suggest you save audios as and when you feel like you can create content with your own personal touch or relevant to something you can create in your own niche. You can also look for audio with a tiny arrow mark that indicates its audio that is trending.

Once done, you can follow my 7-step guide to creating Instagram Reels

How to skyrocket your engagement using Instagram reels?

1. Consistency is the key

Be consistent. The most organic way to grow to increase engagement is to show up and show up often to stay on top of your viewer’s minds.
Create fresh, relatable, and most importantly valuable content for them. to consume.

To accommodate Instagram Reels as part of your content strategy, the only right way to do is to do it consistently. You will see the results in different ways.
When you post inconsistently, it may seem like Reels are not working for you. But, the moment you do it consistently, it gets recognized by the algorithm and rewards you as soon as one of the many videos you post goes viral.

2. Think like an individual, not a brand

When you create content for Instagram reels put yourself in the viewer’s shoes.
Understand what kind of content would you love to consume from a brand like yours.
Would it be informative? Educational? Funny? Or a mix of all?

Once you get the knack of understanding the content that is more likely to be consumed, you can sit with it, create a content plan, film, edit and then batch schedule reels for your Instagram account.

3. Test and learn

Reels are forever versatile and one of the fastest consumed content in today’s time. It also encourages you as a brand to have fun with the content.
So, don’t be afraid to try something different, even if they may seem cringe or crazy at times.

Just go for it!

4. Less is more

You do not need any fancy software or special skills to be able to start creating reels.
Instagram’s native app has all the features for you to make Reels using your mobile app.

You do not need to create lengthy videos too.
Since most of us are embracing short form of content, the first 5 seconds of your video is super important.
It’s noticed that crisp, direct, and short videos are more effective and gain more engagement than a long form of video.
So yeah, go ahead and create teeny tiny videos for your social accounts!

5. Niche-focused content

You must first understand and identify a niche for yourself and your business.
This is important so that you can classify your audience.

Once done, ensure you’re planning content that will mostly be consumed by your target audience. This makes it easier to boil down to ideas and only think straight about a specific set of audiences.

There is also a possibility you might have two different sets of audiences.
In this case, you must plan content for both of them individually.

6. Leverage trends: Audio and effects

You can schedule some time to scroll through the explore page and understand the reels that are trending. This allows you to see what’s new on Instagram- The types of videos, specific sounds, and effects.
Then, you can go ahead and create posts in a way you can fit them or content that resonates with the nature of your brand or niche.
This will not only help you with more exposure but also boost engagement.
The trick is to jump on the trends as soon as possible.

7. Always share reels to feed and story

If you publish your reels without posting them to your feed, it adds an additional step for anyone viewing your profile to tap the reels icon and view your content.

Also, with Instagram’s algorithm changing each day, when you publish a reel, it’s unlikely it’ll reach all your followers. Only a fraction of them would be able to engage with it.
To be able to reach a wider audience you must ensure you share all your reels to your feed as well as your stories for anyone scrolling to be able to tap, view and engage seamlessly.

8. Create replay and share-worthy content

There may be moments you run out of content! That is when you can rely on tools that help you to create reels without recording a single video or you can re-create previously shared long form of content into a short video as a reel.

This way, you’ll always have something to post, repurpose your content, and have content scheduled ahead of time.

9. Best time to post matters

It does! It is possible to understand your best time by sitting around Instagram analytics and digging deeper to check which posts do well at what time and on which day of the week.
When you know the best time, you can schedule or publish all your reels according to the best time for your Instagram account.

Alternatively, you can also save this time and put it to better use by using a tool like Crowdfire that helps you schedule your Reels. 
All you have to do is post consistently using the “Best time” option and with every passing day, the tool knows it better.

10. Collaborations

When you create reels in collaboration with other creators and brands, it simply widens your reach and allows your content to get more exposure than it would have from your account alone.
Another way here is to remix reels from creators, brands, and businesses.

11. Reward your audience

Who doesn’t like Freebies? 😝
Rewarding your audience by announcing giveaways is one of the nicest ways to let your audience feel special and also win something.

It’s always a good idea to give your followers/users that helps your Instagram account get love in form of engagement and a bag of organic following!
As a brand, you can collaborate with other brands to host giveaways or you can go solo. Whatever works✨

12. Hashtags are super important

Hashtags are a game changer. You must add a hashtag or two to your Instagram Reels to be able to make it to the explore feeds.

Audiences who relate and look up for the hashtag will stumble across your Reels when using Instagram’s search function. These pieces of copy will help Instagram understand more about the video you’re publishing.

13. Frame it for Sound off

If your video content is mainly dialogue, the only way to communicate it without sound is by adding captions.
You can use a video editor to add text as an overlay on your running video.
However, platforms like Facebook and Instagram now have auto-captioning tools integrated to help make this process seamless.

14. Thumbnails need attention too

Thumbnails or cover images play an important role in decision-making for a viewer to stop scrolling and tap to watch your content.

Though these thumbnails won’t be visible in the explore feed when people are viewing your Instagram profile, custom thumbnails will make it easier for them to find relatable videos, answers to some questions they may have, and to get an overall feel of the content you post without having to scroll through all of your reels.

You can use apps like Canva that have the dimensions of an Instagram reel cover image. All you have to do is simply lookup up “Instagram reels”, pick a theme, or create something new from scratch, add colors, and text, and you’re done.

When you create a new Instagram reel, you get an opportunity to choose a thumbnail — the still shot that will be seen on your profile. You can either select a frame from within your video or upload a custom image. By creating a title template in your favorite graphics editing program, you can create a cohesive, branded look for the Instagram reels on your profile.

Quick Do’s and Don’ts

  1. Always use videos that are shot vertically
  2. Film for off-sound videos too.
  3. Your first 3 seconds should make a viewer want to watch the whole video.
  4. Go ahead and use filters, effects, text, and music. Also, be updated with the latest trends.
  5. Always ensure your content only reflects yourself and not what someone else is doing. Be unique.
  1. Cross post from TikTok to Instagram
  2. Overdo text over your video as a layer
  3. Go against any of Instagram’s guidelines or create reels that may get reported.
  4. Publish low-quality video
  5. Be monotonous and repetitive. Instead, bring fresh content with a new touch

Wrapping it up!

Now that we’ve gotten into the details of what Reels are, how to create them, and a guide on how to use Instagram reels to skyrocket your engagement.
Let’s go create some reels? 😉

That’s it, folks! 🙌
Let me know if you found this helpful in the comments below!

With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports.  Try it for free.

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