Instagram Reels for Small Businesses: The Basics!

Instagram Reels for Small Businesses: The Basics!

If you’ve been on Instagram in the last few months, you know that reels are all the rage. I know that change can be daunting, and learning this new component of Instagram seems tricky. Lucky for you, I will walk you through the need-to-know basics of creating reels that have high impact and get you reaching new customers in no time!

  1. Understanding Trends

The first step to creating a high impact reel, is to watch reels. It’s hard to understand what audio sounds and video styles are currently trending if you never watch reels yourself. Once have the Instagram app open click on the video play button at the bottom center of the screen. This takes you to an explore page of suggested reels. The algorithm will suggest videos to you based on previous likes, and over time your feed becomes curated to your likes and interests. I typically spend 10-15 minutes scrolling through my feed looking for videos or audio samples that catch my attention.

As you spend this time scrolling through you should also been looking in the bottom left-hand corner. This is where the audio sample in the reel is listed and it will either show a musical note symbol next to it or a diagonal upwards arrow. If the icon is showing the arrow this indicates that the audio sample in the video is trending. Timing is everything with reels, so you ideally want to stick to using audio samples that have this trending upwards arrow to give you the best results. You can click directly on the audio text and it will take you to a new screen with more information. On this screen you can see how many reels have already been created using this reel, watch those videos, or you can use the “Save audio” button to add the sound to your saved list for later. This is how I pick out alllllll of my audio samples.


  1. Adapting Trends

It’s important that you’re reel has some recognizable elements and some unique elements. Using a trending audio is an easy way to get your recognizable element in, then adjust the video content to fit your business aesthetic and show your uniqueness. Your video should either educate, entertain, or inspire the viewer in some way. It’s important to think about why you are posting a reel and what your goal is by creating it beyond just getting likes and views. Do you want the viewer to know more about your brand? Are you showing off a new product? Do you have an inspiring message to share? Are you introducing yourself? What makes your reel special?

Having an idea of the “why” behind your reel makes the “how” that much easier. If your goal is to show off a new product, then the how could be recording a video of the product in use, capturing quick shots from every angle, using a photo of the product paired with text bubbles explaining why you made it, a process video showing you making the product and then the finished piece… the list goes on.

  1. Simplify

Reels don’t need to be complicated. In fact, the more simplistic the better a lot of the time. Think about how fast people scroll through content on their phones. No offense, but strangers probably won’t spend a whole minute listening to you talk or show them something. 5-15 seconds is the sweet spot. Combining videos and learning transitions can be cool, but if you’re just starting out you can just as effectively use a single video to capture a viewer’s attention. So, start recording! If I am sitting down to create a new art piece, I usually try to record a timelapse video or capture snippets of my process on video. Also, don’t be afraid to show your face! Recording videos of yourself add a personal, approachable, genuine element to your reels. It can be awkward at first, but it gets more comfortable and before you know it with practice and eventually it becomes natural.

  1. Stay Positive and Consistent

Not every reel you create will be a “success.” I can post two different reels two days in a row, and the first day reach 14K views, and the second barely graze 500. Consistency and confidence are key. Reels are honestly 90% timing. You could create a well-thought-out, captivating, visually appealing reel and it might not blow up. Accepting that not every reel will reach high levels of engagement relieves the pressure of needing it to be perfect, and keeps your expectations grounded.

But trust me, if you focus on the steps above and consistently create reels—some of them WILL blow up. All it takes is one time, and you will understand the power and excitement behind reels. To have your page seen by so many strangers on the internet because of a tiny video you made is so encouraging and thrilling. I’m already excited for you just thinking about how awesome that feeling is!

Follow me on Instagram @quirky_burp if you’re not already, so I can see what you create and hype you up! As always, if you have any further questions reach out and I’m happy to answer or dive deeper in an upcoming blog post. You got this!

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