Ready to get real results from Instagram Reels? Then you’re in the right place. This is episode 90 of The Whin Big Podcast, and today, Katie’s taking us under the hood of Instagram Reels. It’s not all-singing, dancing and pointing – there’s so much more to using Reels as part of your Instagram marketing strategy.
In this week’s episode, Katie guides us through some strategies for using Reels for audience growth and some easy do’s and don’ts for getting started. Let’s get started!
Today's episode is sponsored by the Instagram MOT. This 20-point checklist and free training are freshly updated, so get stuck in to find out if your profile is fit for purpose or needs some attention! Click on the big yellow button below to get started right away.
Getting more out of your Reels
It’s been a while since we talked about Instagram Reels on the podcast. Our first Instagram Reels was all about the four easy steps to getting started with Reels, and Katie took you through a quick guide to make your first one. How did you get on with it back then? And more importantly – how are you getting on with them now?
There’s been a lot of talk about Reels since Instagram brought the tool out – and it’s hotting up as the algorithm continues to favour Reel posts over all other types. So we thought it was high time we look at Reels more strategically so you can use them to grow your audience.
Still not sure about using Reels?
Don’t worry if you haven’t fully embraced Instagram Reels or are not confident about making more or using them as part of your marketing strategy! Making videos can feel like a big leap into the unknown, but you’re in safe hands here!
Getting started is not as complicated as you think – and if you go back and listen to episode 56 of the Whin Big Podcast, you’ll have Katie guiding you through the four steps to making your first one.
Instagram Reels: Dos and don’ts
Do: Find a consistent visual style.
Spend time working out a style that is all yours so people can recognise them as yours easily. Think about the background, lighting, ook, the text styles, text colours, and any filters or effects you want to use.
Why it’s important: When people swipe through Reels, they’re likely to see one (or more) of your Reel posts. If they watch them, Instagram will show them more. People will start to recognise your Reels – and you – and are much more likely to hit that all-important follow button to make sure they see more.
Don’t: create Reels in poor lighting or a distracting space.
If it’s gloomy or the room is messy, the video will be unappealing – no matter what your message is. Find a clear spot to record in, and use daylight or invest in a ring light to brighten things up.
Why it’s important: Your posts – Reels or otherwise – do the job of creating an impression of who you are and what you do. A shabby, messy, or poorly lit Reel could give an air of unprofessionalism.
Do: imitate popular Reel videos and use trending audios.
Like it or not, Reels is part of the growing TikTok culture where music and memes are re-used again and again. Young people LOVE memes, and using trending audio in Reels is another version of creating a meme. The idea is that you take an established idea (both video format and audio) and apply your message to it (this usually comes in text overlays, props and settings).
Why it’s important: If a video idea or music grows in popularity, the algorithm shows more Reels with the same audio which means your Reels have a chance of being watched by even more people.
Don’t: copy other people’s Reels.
Yes – get inspired, use trending audio clips – but it’s essential to keep it to that. If you see a business owner in your niche use audio well and you love the Reel they made, resist the urge to copy it exactly.
The challenge is to take some of their Reel and add your spin on it somehow. Make a different joke, have a different message – and make sure it looks on-brand to you. If you value the content of their Reel – share it on your own Stories and talk about why you found it inspiring, rather than taking it and using it as your own.
Why it’s important: so many reasons, but you’ll feel so much better about the way you market your business if it comes from a place of integrity. Supporting others (even competitors) can only lead to good things; stealing from others will not get you where you want to go.
Do: create Reels in batches.
And don’t forget to save them to your device (as well as in drafts). It’s brilliant if you can publish a Reel every day, and even if you can’t, more frequent is better, as long as the quality stays high.
It’s not always possible to create a new Reel every day (changing clothes, tidy backgrounds, shifting angles – you know the drill!). So, making a batch of Reels videos just makes life easier.
Here are a few tips on making things go smoothly:
If you’re using other people’s audio (rather than copyrighted songs), you can save the video to your phone – with the audio included – so you can quickly find the audio.
If you use a song, you might get a message when you save the video that the audio isn’t included. To get around that, Katie turns on the audio icon in Reels and screenshot the page with the name of the song on it. She then saves the downloaded videos, with the screenshots, into a Reels folder in her photos app.
Don’t: have ‘going viral’ expectations right away.
And ignore anyone who says that one viral Reel will bring in a massive number of followers.
It all takes time. Time for the algorithm to work out who will engage with your posts. Time for YOU to learn what kind of videos you can do well and make an impact with. It takes time for people to watch more of your videos, recognise your videos, and follow you to get more of your videos.
Do: make Reels that are useful and relevant to your ideal customer.
Reels are not for selling; they are for creating first impressions and building brand awareness. Katie has talked about identifying who your ideal customers are, what their challenges are, their goals are, and their key daily experiences and frustrations.
If you’ve not taken yourself through this exercise yet (or you need a refresh) – bookmark this episode of the Whin Big Podcast so you can do some easy – and very effective – customer research.
Once you know your customers, it will be much easier to share Reels that they relate to.
Don’t: get distracted by Reel trends.
It’s easy to do – but the trends aren’t always helpful or relevant for your audience.
When you scroll through Reels, you’ll see many videos of people changing outfits with cool transitions. Katie loves these videos – and admires the skill in creating them so seamlessly, but has recognised they are not relevant to her business.
It can be a big time waste if you don’t have something relevant to say to your ideal customers – no matter how popular the audio or style is.
Guides and practical tools for growing your business on Instagram
Recently, Katie’s been sharing lots of in-depth guides and tutorials on using Instagram tools – like insights and stories. She’s still figuring out her use of Reels (see? We told you it takes time!). She’s embracing Reels more and learning as she goes – and while she does that, she wants to help you do the same.
So if you have any questions about making Reels or using them in your Instagram marketing strategy – get in touch! You can email us or send a DM over on Instagram (@thewhinco). We loves hearing from Whin Big Podcast listeners and Instagram followers and we’re committed to giving you as much insight and inspiration as possible.
Accounts to follow
Katie shares some of her favourite Instagrammers who use Reels in an inspirational and informative way.
Follow them to get more advice and inspiration for your Reels, and don’t forget to tag Katie @thewhinco in any Reels you create to get feedback!
Brock Johnson (@brock11johnson)
Brock is really good at making of simple, easy to follow Reels. His Reels feature trending audios, and he regularly posts helpful advice on making Reels and marketing on Instagram.
Pure Gallus Social
Roo from @PureGallusSocial, makes lots of bright, fresh and funny Reels with easy-to-follow tips and ideas for business owners. She’s a great source of inspiration if you’re hoping to share information and advice in your Reels as well (prepare yourself for glasses envy!)
Virginia Kerr (@thisisvirginiakerr)
Virginia is an expert on all things video and shares tips for Reels, IGTVs, and Stories. She creates lots of fun characters and has an engaging style.
[Podcast] 56: 4 easy steps to Instagram Reels