Instagram Reels 101: A Small Business Guide to Capturing Attention

Instagram reels 101: A small business guide to capturing attention 

9 MINS
Diana Alcanzar

Video content has increasingly taken over social media. Instagram reels are one example. If you have an Instagram account, then you’re probably familiar with this. With features like music, AR effects, and editing tools, reels have taken the world by storm. Businesses like yours can showcase your creativity and personality while driving brand awareness and engagement. Delve deep into this guide by exploring its key features and significance in digital marketing strategies and adopting our tips so you can leverage them effectively.  

What are Instagram reels? 

Instagram reels are succinct video clips that serve as a versatile platform for users to unleash their creativity. This innovative feature not only empowers Instagram users to craft compelling stories or narratives but also plays an important role in Instagram’s broader transition towards focusing on video-first content. This change is evident in the platform’s algorithm, which favors video content, as well as the integration of IGTV for longer videos. Additionally, video content is prevalent in Instagram stories and live streams. All in all, this shift reflects their acknowledgment of their users’ growing preference for dynamic video experiences. 

How long can IG reels be? They have a limit of 90 seconds. You can take advantage of this length to highlight the most compelling features of your products or services. 

Instagram reels offer a lot of features designed to facilitate creativity and engagement: 

  • Duration. The maximum length is 90 seconds. This encourages you to create concise and impactful storytelling. 
  • Editing tools. A robust suite of editing tools allows you to enhance your videos with effects, filters, text overlays, and more, which gives you polished and professional-looking content output. 
  • Music integration. Seamlessly incorporate music tracks from a vast library into your reels, which can help add depth, emotion, and personality to your videos. 
  • AR effects. Augmented reality (AR) effects provide you with interactive and visually captivating elements to enhance your reels. This helps foster immersive experiences and creativity. 

Why do Instagram reels matter for small businesses  

You may be wondering what Instagram reels can do for your small business. Take a look at these factors and how they positively affect your brand: 

  • Engagement potential. Video content is highly engaging. They often capture the viewers’ attention more effectively than static images or text posts. Reels, with their dynamic and visually appealing nature, offer you a powerful tool to captivate your audience and drive engagement. 
  • Visibility and reach. Within the Instagram app, reels enjoy heightened visibility by appearing prominently on a user’s Instagram feed and the Explore page. This increased visibility provides your business with valuable exposure allowing you to reach a broader audience and attract new followers. 
  • Impact on brand awareness. By consistently sharing engaging reels, you can effectively increase brand awareness. Reels offer an opportunity to showcase products, services, and brand personality creatively and memorably, which can leave a lasting impression on viewers. 
  • Enhanced customer interaction. Reels enable direct interaction with your audience through comments, likes, and shares. You can leverage this interactive nature to foster meaningful connections with your audience, gather feedback, and build a loyal community of followers. 

How to make engaging reels on Instagram for your business  

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make a reel on Instagram: 

  1. Open Instagram. Launch the Instagram app on your mobile device and log in to your account. 
  1. Access the camera. Tap on the plus icon located in the middle of the home screen. This will open the camera interface within the Instagram app. 
  1. Select reels. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see various options such as “Post,” “Story,” “Reel,” and “Live.” To start creating your reel, tap the “Reels” tab. 
  1. Choose your settings. Before recording, you can customize various settings. You can adjust the Instagram reel length (up to 90 seconds), choose whether to use the front or rear-facing Instagram camera, and enable or disable audio capture. 
  1. Record your video clips: 
    • To start recording, tap and hold the capture button. You’ll see a progress indicator at the top of the screen, showing how much time you have left. 
    • To record multiple clips for your reel, lift your finger off the capture button to pause the recording and then tap it again to resume. This allows you to create seamless transitions between clips. 
    • You can also add videos from your camera roll. Just click on any video clip from the camera interface in Step number two.  
  1. Enhance your reel. After recording your video clips, you can enhance your reel with various creative tools: 
    • Add music. Tap the music icon to access the Instagram music library, and choose a track to accompany your reel. 
    • Apply effects. Explore Instagram’s collection of effects, filters, and AR features to add visual flair to your reel. 
    • Add text and stickers. Use the text and sticker tools to overlay captions, hashtags, or graphic elements onto your reel. 
  1. Edit your reel. Once you’re satisfied with your footage, you can edit it further: 
    • Trim clips. Use the trim tool to remove any unwanted footage from your clips. 
    • Adjust speed to change the speed of your clips. 
    • Rearrange clips. Drag and drop your clips to rearrange their order within the reel. 
  1. Finalize and share. When you’re ready to share your reel, tap the arrow icon in the bottom right corner. Here, you can add a caption, hashtags, and tag other users before posting your reel to your Instagram feed or story. 

6 tips for creating a captivating Instagram reel  

To create reels, you need to have careful consideration and creativity. Check out these tips to enhance your reels’ effectiveness: 

  • Focus on authenticity. Authenticity resonates with audiences. Showcase genuine moments, real experiences, and behind-the-scenes glimpses to humanize your brand and connect with viewers on a deeper level. 
  • Keep it concise. Attention spans are shorter than ever, that’s why it’s crucial to keep your reels concise and straight to the point. Focus on delivering your message or story efficiently within the 90-second timeframe to maintain viewer engagement.  
  • Inject personality. Infuse your reels with your brand’s personality and unique voice. Whether it’s through humor, wit, or a distinctive style, letting your brand’s personality shine through can help you stand out and leave a lasting impression on viewers. 
  • Encourage interaction. Encourage viewers to engage with your reels by asking questions, inviting comments, or encouraging them to share their thoughts or experiences related to the content. This fosters a sense of community and encourages active participation. 
  • Stay consistent. Establish a consistent posting schedule for your reels to maintain momentum and keep your audience engaged. Consistency not only helps to build anticipation among your followers but also reinforces your brand presence on the platform. 
  • Monitor performance. Pay close attention to the performance metrics of your reels, like views, likes, comments, and shares. Analyze which types of content resonate most with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly to optimize engagement and reach. 

Content types that work well with reels: 

  • How-to guides. Create educational and instructional content that provides value to your audience and showcases your expertise in your industry. 
  • Behind-the-scenes. Offer a glimpse into the inner workings of your business, such as behind-the-scenes footage of your team, processes, or events. 
  • Product showcases. Highlight your products or services in action, such as by demonstrating their features, benefits, and uses. 
  • User-generated content. Encourage your audience to create and share their own content that features your products or brand. This can help foster community engagement and authenticity. 

3 strategies for maximizing reach and engagement  

Maximizing the reach and engagement of your reels involves a strategic approach tailored to your audience. Optimize your reels’ visibility and interaction with these strategies: 

  • Harness the power of hashtags, captions, and CTAs: 
    • Incorporate relevant hashtags in your reels’ captions to increase discoverability among users interested in similar content. 
    • Craft engaging captions that complement your reels. This provides context, stimulates storytelling, and encourages interaction. 
    • Include clear calls-to-action (CTAs) that encourage viewers to like, comment, share, or visit your profile or website for further engagement. 
  • Engage authentically with your audience: 
    • Actively respond to comments and messages from your audience to foster meaningful interactions and strengthen relationships. 
    • Participate in trending challenges, viral trends, or community-driven initiatives relevant to your brand to stay connected and relevant within the Instagram community. 
  • Optimize scheduling and frequency: 
    • To effectively schedule Instagram reels, experiment first with posting times and frequency to identify the optimal schedule for reaching your target audience. 
    • Use Instagram insights to analyze when your audience is most active, and adjust your posting schedule accordingly to maximize visibility and engagement. 

How to measure your Instagram reels’ success  

To gauge the effectiveness of your Instagram Reels, follow these steps to help refine your strategy: 

  • Leverage Instagram Insights: 
    • Use Instagram Insights, a powerful analytics tool provided by the platform. This will help you gain insights into your reels’ performance. To access Insights, go to your profile, tap the menu icon, and select Insights
  • Track key metrics: 
    • Monitor essential metrics such as views, likes, comments, shares, and save rates to measure the impact and engagement of your reels. These metrics provide valuable feedback on your content’s effectiveness and resonance with your audience. 
  • Refine your strategy: 
    • Analyze the data from Instagram Insights and identify trends or patterns in your reels’ performance. Use this feedback to optimize your content strategy and focus on the types of reels that resonate most with your audience. 
  • Adopt continuous improvement: 
    • Don’t be afraid to experiment with and repeat different content formats, themes, and styles based on the insights gleaned from analytics. Embrace a data-driven approach to content creation, and refine your strategy over time to optimize performance and achieve your business objectives. 

Instagram reels real-world success story    

A popular case study of the effective use of Instagram reels was by Adidas in July 2021. Adidas Originals launched the #OpenForum campaign to promote the revival of their classic basketball shoe, ‘Forum,’ through Instagram Reels.  

The popular campaign involved 50 creators from diverse fields to generate engaging content by highlighting the shoe’s versatility and style. Pre-launch activities included Instagram Live sessions, and the launch saw a synchronized release of content by creators. This strategic use of Instagram reels led to a reach of over 7.6 million users and an average engagement rate of 5.4%. This significantly boosted Adidas’s visibility and follower count on Instagram. 

Lessons and tips from Adidas  

  • Leverage diversity in creator collaborations. Engaging a broad spectrum of creators allows your content to appeal to different demographics. This enriches your campaign’s relatability and reach. 
  • Implement a multi-format content strategy. Use a mix of Instagram reels and live sessions so you can create a dynamic and engaging narrative. This builds anticipation and maintains audience interest throughout your campaign. 
  • Coordinate content releases for maximum impact. Synchronizing the launch of content across various creators’ profiles can amplify the campaign’s visibility, creating a wave of interest and engagement that captures the audience’s attention. 
  • Foster community engagement. Active engagement with the audience through comments, shares, and likes builds a community around the brand. This enhances loyalty and encourages user-generated content, which can further amplify your campaign’s reach. 

Launch your viral moment today 

Instagram has now become a part of a lot of business’ comprehensive social media strategies. It’s how you use it effectively that makes a difference. Of course, you don’t get to be an expert in using Instagram reels overnight, but this guide can help you out. Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes, because that’s how you’ll make progress. On the other hand, feel free to explore Web.com’s Pay-Per-Click Services on top of your compelling Instagram reels to cover a maximum audience reach. Get unparalleled online visibility and engagement today! 

  • Diana Alcanzar

    Diana is a Technical Writer at Web.com. She's dedicated to creating compelling and impactful web content that empowers online businesses from around the world. Outside work, she enjoys trying out new foods and visiting different places. She's always eager to experience something fresh and exciting.

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