The Ultimate Social Guide: Instagram Reels

By Simone Sandler

Share on: 


Why are Instagram reels important?

Instagram is constantly rolling out new ways to drive more engagement with reels for brands and individuals alike. The aim is to offer a more immersive, full-screen experience for consumers.

You’ll be reaching more people, creating the perfect opportunity to reach new audiences, increase engagement, and build a community and general business growth for your e-commerce or blogging website. But just because you’re creating Reels doesn’t mean you’ll automatically engage with audiences and generate higher engagement. Making a splash with such a creative medium is not an easy task.

For example, if you own a dentist, then a form of marketing for cosmetic dentists would be to make reels as a creative and fun way to get engagement within the industry and from your desired customers. If your Reels are not getting views, you’re likely making mistakes that are limiting your reach. Here’s everything you need to know so you can fix that.

What Are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels are short-form videos displayed in a vertical format for a potentially endless scrollable feed. Reels were first introduced as a competitor to TikTok, allowing users to create fun, engaging videos that reel in audiences. These videos are typically 15 to 90 seconds in length, but recent updates mean you can share video posts shorter than 15 minutes long as Reels.

But first, you must understand the Instagram Reels algorithm.

Generally speaking, you’ll see Reels from accounts you follow in your main feed. That said, Instagram allows users to discover Reels from other brands and creators through:

  • The Reels Tab – Located front-and-center on the homepage, the Reels tab creates an endless scrollable feed that's unique to every user – basically, it's the Instagram version of Tik Tok For You page.
  • The Explore Tab – Reels are also discoverable on the explore tab alongside Instagram Posts and Stories.

The algorithm suggests Reels to users based on their interests and the people they follow. It prioritizes videos it thinks people are going to like. You can also reach a targeted audience using Instagram Reels ads. These ads can help you reach greater audiences and increase engagement as users are allowed to like, comment, share and even share Reels ads.

What Type of Content Works Best on Instagram Reels?

The casual format of Instagram Reels removes some of the pressure associated with producing and editing long-form video content or presenting live videos. But because the Reels algorithm promotes videos based on what a viewer is most likely to interact with, it’s important to understand your audience and the kind of content they resonate with and when they watch.

Let’s look at a few tips for working with the Instagram reels algorithm.

1. Create quality content

The most obvious Reels idea is also one of the most effective – show off your work. Whether it’s a little behind-the-scenes magic about your brand or a home décor DIY video, audiences resonate when you display your skills and the talent it takes to create your products.

People expect content that’s funny, entertaining, educational, or interesting. So share your values. If you're all about ethically sourced materials or the zero-waste life, share what you care about, and you're bound to attract audiences with similar values.

Simply put, do your best to make your viewers laugh, entertain them with a cool trick, or pull at their heartstrings with an adorable or heartfelt story.

2. Make your Reels visually appealing

The Reels algorithm clearly favors videos with visual panache. So, you’ll want content that pulls viewers in immediately. At a minimum, you’ll want to avoid repurposed videos and low-resolution videos.

Here’s a Tip: Use native Reels tools to create your content. The algorithm has a penchant for prioritizing content that’s made in-app. Fortunately, Reels has editing tools and music options to make your content really pop.

3. Use creative edits and transitions to keep viewers engaged

The best reels are engaging right from the start. You might think 15 seconds is short enough to keep people engaged, but you'd be wrong. A recent study concluded that the human attention span has dropped to a mere eight seconds. Interest fades fast, and there will always be a viral meme, interesting story or shocking video vying for people's attention. So, you have just a few microseconds to engage users enough to keep them watching to the end – edits and transitions can help you achieve this desired goal.

Whether you use a bold statement, a catchy tune or an exciting transition, keep your video fast-paced and fun.

4. Use the right hashtags

How does an AI know what’s in a video?

You guessed it – hashtags.

A staggering amount of video content is shared online every second. Make it easier for the Instagram algorithm to understand what's in your video and its intended audience by using hashtags. The key is to be efficient with your hashtags. Just because you can include up to 30 hashtags in your Reels doesn't mean you should. Do your research, understand your audience, and use hashtags that reflect what your video is about.

It’s important to mention that algorithms are evolving to understand what’s happening in videos for themselves.

5. Give the people what they want

Instagram Insights exists to allow content creators to access analytics about their audience for improved targeting. You can see what kind of content your audience gravitates towards by analyzing performance metrics like reach, comments, likes and shares.

Reels are a great way to offer valuable tips and answer questions on practically any subject. There's no shortage of the amount of content you can create. All you have to do is understand what your people want and cultivate an active community that will respond to and engage with your content.

How to Create Effective Reels Ads?


It’s possible to promote Reels on Instagram for business. And you don’t always have to create new videos just for advertising as you can promote your existing videos.

Setting up reel ads on Instagram is easy enough but ensuring people engage with your ad is something else entirely. Ultimately, the success of your Reels ads will be determined by the actual content and how well you understand your target audience.

Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Think through the script

Reels are rather short videos, making it incredibly difficult to grab user attention and communicate a message. However, if you make your ad too long, you might lose user attention. Script your ad to fit the 30-second limit and use content that feels informative and organic. In other words, your ad shouldn't feel like an ad. Focus on producing authentic content that will humanize your brand and will blend in with organic Instagram content.

  • Create content your audience wants to see

Don’t make any guesses! Instagram Reels Insights exist primarily to help you understand your audience.

With the right insights, you can write a captivating caption and a CTA that will convince users to go where you want them to go. Remember to apply a zero-pressure approach. You want to be persuasive, not pressuring.

  • Make sure your landing page connects to the target audience for a higher conversion rate

Think of your landing page as the more detailed version of your CTA. As such, you want to ensure that it matches your ad messaging. Give people exactly what they expected. For instance, if you're promoting your Instagram account, make sure the CTA leads to your feed. You can even use Reels ads to retarget consumers and ask for reviews or promote similar products they’d be interested in.

Reels ads offer excellent lead generation opportunities, whether you want to promote a product launch or direct audiences to your blog. Depending on what your reels are targeting, ensure you are tracking KPIs on your website all the way through to checkout, which will allow you to monitor if users came from Instagram and monitor general business growth.

Get Into the Reels Spirit

As much as the purpose of promoting your Reels on Instagram is to generate traffic and introduce your audience to new demographics, be sure to keep your videos fun as you risk alienating your audience with salesy content.

Reels can breathe new life into your Instagram presence, expose you to a new audience, and increase your engagement rates. The good news is that Reels are an easy feature to learn and integrate into your existing feed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are Reels do’s and don’ts?

The do's: use hashtags but only those relevant to the content and your audience, take advantage of all the editing tools available to you on Instagram and do share your reels to your feed. Observe what's popular and get in on the trends. However, don't repost from TikTok, even if it's your own content. Edit your video and make it native to Instagram, or it might be dinged by the Reels algorithm.

  1. How do I add music and effects to my reel on Instagram?

You can record a reel with your own original audio, music from the Insta library, or use audio from other creators. If you can’t see the music sticker in Reels, chances are your app isn’t updated to the latest version.

On that note, anyone on Instagram can use your original audio to create their own reels if your account is set to public. Also, all licensed audio must be attributed to the original artist.

  1. How can I see info about my reel on Instagram?

Reels analytics are part of Instagram Insights and will be included in your Instagram reports. These data analytics provide data that can be used to create a digital data warehouse and inform key business decisions. Tracking the performance of your Reels can help you identify opportunities to improve your Reels’ performance over time. With Reels analytics, you’ll be able to understand:

  • What kind of content your audience wants to see
  • What your audience likes and dislikes
  • Which edits and effects resonate with your audience
  • When you should post your reels for more engagement

Learn more about Social Hire

The Social Hire team don't just do social media.

Our team are a company that assists our customers further their digital footprint by giving digital marketing on a regular basis.

You might like these blog posts How to Work With Difficult Team Members, Four Common Instagram Myths for Business, 8 Best Practices for Social Video on Facebook, and 4 Things College Grads Want in an Employer.

  Back to Small Business blogs