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Top 5 Tips for Using Instagram Reels

Using Instagram Reels to elevate your brand engagement on social media for business owners, community organizations, digital marketing

On August 5th, Instagram released a whole new way to create content on the platform: Reels! These posts are short format videos (30 seconds max) that have massive potential to help you grow your brand.

(This Reel is one of my best performers on Instagram, and it has a massive typo at the end! Proof that perfections is not a requirement.)

I jumped on the Reels train on Day One. When Instagram releases a new feature, they do not want it to fail. Reels were promoted with huge tiles on the Explore page, more frequent distribution in your home feed (the one we scroll through), their own “Suggested Reels” sections in the home feed, and a higher discoverability. On my average IGTV videos receive only 10% of the views I receive on my Reels.

I would highly recommend checking out @solstudiomarketing on Instagram for her analysis of going viral on Reels, if you are interested in hearing more about the numbers!

If I’ve already convinced you, or if you are wanting to optimize your Reels-making experience, read on:

TIP 1: Use InShot

InShot is a free app for video editing. It has completely blown my mind! The things that you can do in the InShot app are powerful and will totally up your video creation game! For Reels, I love using InShot because my Instagram account doesn’t have access to the music feature (booooooo). InShot has a great selection of music, sound effects, and the ability to record voiceovers! I also find the app useful for adding text and stickers to my Reels. The Reels editor in Instagram is cumbersome for text adding, and InShot makes it easy!

TIP 2: Plan it Out

Have I told you to plan things? Do it. Plan things. ;) When planning for Reels, consider what info you can compress and distill for your audience. What can you serve them in bite-sized 30 second chunks? I also like to plan how the videos I’m recording could work for other content besides Reels.

TIP 3: Scripts & Breathing

Simple, yes. But your girl forgets these things a lot. Write an outline of what you want to cover, and breathe! Even if you aren’t talking in your Reel, take some breaths before and during filming to help you feel more natural if you are uncomfy in front of the camera.

TIP 4: One Take

I love recording videos in one shot. If I mess up, I keep filming. I would rather edit the bloopers out of one long video than try to remember which parts were the good parts of a bunch of different clips. This keeps me organized when I’m editing a bunch of Reels at once!

TIP 5: Make it FUN

Reels are still new! Play! Experiment! Make it fun! See what works for you and your brand. And, as an aside, post it even if you don’t think you should. One of my best performing Reels was one I thought about deleting immediately after posting! And another top performer has a big-old typo! See it above.

Want more video tips and 10 prompts for showing up on Instagram Reels and Stories? I’ve got you covered. Be sure you sign up for the Bad Axe Newsletter in Oct 2020 for your free download!

Have you tried Reels yet? Let’s talk in the comments!

Stay Bad Axe,


New Bad Axe Blog posts get published on Mondays weekly. I explore all things digital marketing: from websites to social media, graphic design to branding and so much more. Become a site member and never miss a post!

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1 Comment

Jenn Smith
Jenn Smith
Oct 20, 2020

I have. But I'm still experimenting with it. Lol

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