How to create better Instagram Reels

october 6, 2023

Reels have completely changed the landscape of Instagram, making it easier to grow your account’s reach and boost engagement by leveraging short-form video content. With multiple places to discover Reels and Instagram pushing more video content, it’s important to include creating Instagram Reels in your content strategy.

I’m Natasha from Shine With Natasha, an Instagram strategist and video content creator, and I’m here with three tips for creating better Reels—no dancing or pointing required.

Start your video with a strong hook

One of the most important elements in a short-form video is the hook—the first few seconds of the video that tells people why they should keep watching.

You can communicate your hook in three ways:

  • Written out in text
  • Say it directly into the camera
  • Record it in a voice-over

Here are a few ideas for engaging Reels hooks:

Think of this hook like a newsletter subject line or blog title.

Optimize your Reels for engagement

When creating your Reels, there are three important things to optimize:

  1. Readability: When adding text, make sure that it’s easy to read. This means placing it in the text safe zone in the center square of the screen. This ensures that whether people are viewing your video on the feed or Reels tab they can read all of the text.
  2. Length: Even with up to 90 seconds to use for Reels, you’ll want to keep your video as concise as possible. For trends, this means 15 seconds or less. For other Reels, they can be longer but avoid filler words or adding clips just to add them.
  3. Visuals: Keep your Reels visually interesting by leveraging transitions, multiple clips in your video, and editing hacks like a jump cut. These are simple things you can do to make every second of your video more engaging.

Create more original content

While trends are a great way to create quick and entertaining video content, it’s not the only way to leverage Reels. I recommend leaning into original content, which essentially means using Reels simply as short-form videos. I call these "Show & Tell" Reels.

A few of my favorite ways to leverage original content are:

  • Talking to camera videos where I’m teaching or discussing a topic 
  • Tutorials or demos where I show how to do something with a voice-over explaining each step 
  • Vlog style videos where I document a part of my day and edit to music

Show & Tell Reels can be used to visually show a story or tell it with a voice-over or talking to camera. This means you can carve out your own unique style of creating Reels that feels the most authentic to your brand.

It’s time to start putting all this advice to work for you by creating beautiful, eye-catching Reels. Start with a video template from Microsoft Create and then customize it to be the perfect fit for your followers.

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