How to embrace making Reels for Instagram as a small business owner
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
When it comes to creating content, some of us just shy away or even recoil at the idea of video. And if you're an Instagram person, you probably enjoyed the photo-sharing and stayed well away from TikTok and its video content.
Then came instagram stories, and Live and finally - reels.
There's a lot of talk among freelancers I know about reels - should we use them, how, why and... the 'reels feels'.
Because creating content this way can bring up a lot of feelings. From dancing and lip-syncing to using software which can do everything from making us change our look in an instant, or shape-shift around a room in time to music, the reels feels are, well, real.
And you're probably thinking: "What the hell has all this got to do with my business?? Is it just a waste of time?"
I've been using reels for a while now and am sharing what I've learned for those who are thinking about it and not sure. I'm not a reels expert, but I''m learning how to make them work for my business. If the thought of Reels makes you run for the hills, read on.
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels are videos you create on Instagram or other apps and then load up to share information and advice. They often involve a 'transition' such as someone swiping their hand across the camera in time to music (AKA trending audio). Trending audio is often a soundbyte, either someone's own voiceover or audio from a TV programme. There are often fun audios you can use like one I used recently where it says 'In case you want to follow me, this is what I look like from behind'! I can't claim to know the algorythm behind the audio, so for that you need the next step - get some professional support and advice!
Support is crucial if you really want to go for it
I've joined a membership group called Reels Rockstars with weekly emails and a FB group where we share what we're up to, advice and so on. It's really helped! And I've met lots of new freelance friends! If a paid membership isn't for you, you could book a session with a social media coach like Pink Storm Social.
Know that your reels feels can be tamed
Recognising that you have the 'reels feels' is step one. Whether that's nerves, or anxiousness about being on screen, or not knowing where to start. For me, the 'reels feels' are more about the fact that now I've started I find it hard to stop! Taming them for me is about pausing, seeing what's worked and who has engaged with the type of reel before I just go ahead and create more.
For many people, the 'reels feels' are about beginning - just going for it and making that first one. My advice here is to practice - have a go, mess about. You can always delete it. It might just be the piece of content that sends your account into the thousands of followers.
How to begin...
I began by watching lots of reels. Scroll through what other people create, have a look at how they do things, and see what music and audio they use. You might want to save audio - I love doing this. Some have a template you can click on to add photos more easily.
But don't worry about that for now. In my experience, it's about immersing yourself more in the reels part of the app before you create. Get a feel for the kind of things people do, how they share content and what might work for you and, most importantly, your business. One type of reel might work for a freelancer you follow, but not for you! For example, I follow lots of creators but their 'making' reels or transition from making to finished product don't work for coaching.
Getting reels right isn't an overnight thing, it's definitely a work in progress, and practice makes perfect. Saying that, the imperfect reels are often the ones I find get more engagement. They're perhaps more in line with my goal to show up honestly for freelancers every day. It can also take up lots of time, if you let it! This has been a big challenge for me. I enjoy making the video, and choosing trending audio, but that tends to steal a lot of my time. I know that there are things I could be doing while I create content on Reels!
I have tried to be like other people on reels. Making videos that they make, trying to squeeze my product into their format... but I've realised that the best way to engage with my audience is to be me. Just like I am on Stories. So I've plumped for making videos of me at my desk or out and about (as well as with the dogs!), and not lip-syncing as many do (I love this but I find it time-consuming!). I try and bring a comedy element, and keep things 'Jenny'. So I recommend you do the same - find the type of reels that work for you, and you'll want to make more. Win-win!
Want to embrace reels and get over the confidence challenges they pose for you? Join the Content Confidence Workshop on Dec 6th - tickets are £10