Incorporate Reels into your Instagram account

1. Define your Instagram Reels goals, how you’ll measure success, and your target audience on Instagram.

Reels are good for entertaining concepts that are not a hard sales push, or for stitching multiple clips together into an under 60-second video. Unlike Instagram Stories or Feed posts, Reels are discoverable and appear on the Explore and Reels pages, even for accounts that don’t follow you. Example goals include: Increase brand awareness. Engage followers. Grow Instagram follower count. Showcase a product. Create educational, top-of-funnel content.

2. Create a list of 5-10 product awareness, brand awareness, or educational topic ideas.

Examples include a unique way to use your product, behind-the-scenes brand footage, a product tutorial, or an influencer reviewing your services. To help brainstorm topics: Ask sales or customer service teams for their FAQs. Monitor brand mentions and questions using a social listening tool like Mention or Sprout Social. Type a keyword from your SEO strategy into Answer the Public for long-tail keyword ideas. Look at your top-performing content to find ideas to repurpose into the Reel format, especially listicle formats like HubSpot’s 3 Ways to Make Meetings Mean More Reel. Analyze your competitors’ Reels for content gaps or inspiration.

3. Use hashtag research tools and the Instagram Explore and Reels pages to look for trending sounds, hashtags, and ideas for Reels to leverage popular trends or find inspiration.

To find trending sounds, hashtags, or formats: Use hashtag research tools, like Hashtagify or Keyhole, to find trending hashtags. Look at popular Reel or TikTok creators on the Explore page for format ideas. Look through industry or competitor Reels to see what’s trending in your industry. Click on a sound you like to explore more Reels with that sound, or go to the Instagram music library to explore sounds. Consider taking one of your topic ideas, like a behind the scenes brand personality video, and mixing it with a trending sound, format, or hashtag, to leverage the trend’s popularity and discoverability, like People’s Revolt’s Reel that mixes a trending sound and format with their brand’s creativity and personality.

4. Outline the concept, shots, and supplies needed for your 15, 30, or 60-second Reel.

Although Reels typically have a conversational, casual style and only require a smartphone and natural lighting to create, still plan your Reel production by: Deciding who, if anyone, will appear in the video. If you’re sponsoring an influencer’s Reel, give them content guidelines. Gathering or creating props. Choosing a location, like inside your office for a behind-the-scenes video or in a kitchen for a kitchen product demo. Discussing or sketching needed shots. More formal storyboarding is useful when working with an influencer or guest collaborators or for time-sensitive shoots.

5. Open the Instagram app, click the Stories icon > Reels, and film a new Reel or upload edited clips.

Follow Reel best practices: Choose a 15, 30, or 60-second video. Film and edit the clips before uploading to the Instagram Reel editor if you want more editing control, like Mission Recruit’s Reel that uses a graphic template, or work directly inside the Reel editor to fully use Reel’s features, like the timer and AR filters. Use vertical video. Shoot with a smartphone or camera for a high-quality image. For maximum reach and discoverability, do not recycle your TikTok video with the TikTok logo for Instagram Reels because the algorithm will not push your video. However, many brands still choose to recycle TikTok content anyway to reuse short-form content without taking more time and resources.

6. Use the on-screen prompts to add special effects, on-screen text, and music to make your Reel more eye-catching and engaging.

For example, use filters to make your on-screen colors more vivid, use on-screen text to ensure your marketing message is accessible if the viewer’s audio is off, and use music or sound clips from the Instagram music library for more discoverability because users can browse by sound. Make sure on-screen text contrasts from the background for the whole video. Keep on-screen text close to the center of the screen to avoid it getting cropped out on the feed.

7. Select a compelling cover image that has 1080 x 1920 dimensions, and write a short caption with a few related hashtags and call to action.

Scroll through the video to find a frame to use as the cover image, like the frame that includes an on-screen text title and the featured influencer, or upload a custom cover image if you want to keep your feed consistent or make it more eye-catching. Only about 25 characters of the caption is visible when scrolling through the Reel page, so include the most important information first or display your call to action and important information with on-screen text instead. Include relevant hashtags related to your Reel’s content, industry, and trending topic. If working with a collaborator, tag them in your caption.

8. Share your new Reel to the Reels Tab, your feed, or Story.

Post it to the Reels tab for discoverability across Instagram, including accounts that don’t follow you. Post it to your feed for followers to see, and post it to your Instagram Stories to spread your reach across multiple Instagram viewing methods. If your account is approved for Instagram Shopping, tag products in your Reels by tapping Tag Products > selecting the products or collections you feature in the video > Done > Share to publish your Reel.

9. Add new Reels to your curated, thematic Highlights by clicking the Highlight icon and selecting the Reel you just shared to your Stories.

Creating Instagram Highlights to categorize your Reels into specific topics or interests helps your followers quickly find and watch related Reels, like a curated and saved playlist of your Story and Reel content. For example, you could have Highlights about product announcements, product sales, and customer education.

10. Use your Reels analytics through Insights > Reels to replicate popular Reel topics or styles, and to test new Reel ideas.