Instagram Reels for Small Business

Are Instagram Reels like TikTok? Pretty much yes BUT…


It’s a fact TikTok is aimed at the younger market – over half are under 24 years old (Hootsuite, 2020) but there are some oldies on there and Instagram will definitely have the millennial gang kicking around getting into Reels rather than TikTok. What I’m saying is that it’s a great tool to help your business get out there on Social Media and reach new people on a platform you are already familiar with.

So I’m not a teenager and I created a Reel and it went viral! Scroll to the bottom to see my ‘genius content’ and my thoughts on becoming an internet sensation!

If you strip it down to the format, not the content you might think differently about using Reels on Instagram. They are 15 second videos with the ability to cut them into several short clips and overlay with music, text and effects. You can share to your stories and your grid, helping form part of your overall content.

Have you heard the term ‘content marketing’? Well this is another great was to get your message across in a  different way to new people, talking about the same thing that will lead you to your goals. Step away from the standard image and caption for a minute – could you get your message across in short video?

How do you create a Reel?

Here’s my Reel on how to make a Reel! >

Ok, so 15 seconds isn’t enough to do a full demo (You might want to use IGTV for longer form videos) so here’s some steps:

  1. Go to the top left hand corner where you would create a story
  2. Choose some music if you want (they do work better with a great tune or some relevant lyrics

Using prerecorded videos

  1. Bottom right – choose your video. You can trim it here and then press the tick to add. Repeat until you hit the 15 sec time limit or you have the content you want. press the > button.
  2. Add text and choose  where you want it to show at the bottom by changing the length of the editing bar. Press the > button
  3. Write a caption. Use hashtags, change the cover and you can choose to share to the reels feed, your stories and main feed

Live Recording

  1. Add effects if you want – a filter, a countdown clock anything that you think could enhance your video.
  2. Use the countdown timer if you need time to prepare!
  3. Choose whether to speed up or slow down and also the align tool to make sure the next clip is in the same place as the previous – think of the videos where people change outfits or click fingers to show a new scene.
  4. Press the reels button and record your clip!
  5. To trim the clip, press the < button and move the bottom bar to edit. Repeat until your time is up
  6. Repeat steps 2 & 3 above

So thats the tech, what the bloody hell do you without feeling a bit silly or without amazing editing skills?

Firstly, Just give it a go and practice. You don’t have to post it, save to draft. Have a bit of fun and get the family involved – you might need a camera person to help you get the right shots especially if you are featuring.

Simple ideas

Short clips with word captions! So I offer Facebook Ads as a service. I filmed a few clips of my screen showing why it is good to use Ads Manager to track your ROI. I also appeared on camera myself explaining why you shouldn’t boost posts whilst pointing at words! All layered with my favourite genre of music – Drum and Bass!

A demo – Have you got a product that you could show step by step how it works. For example a kids crafts kit, showing how parents might get 5 minutes peace, a cooking demo or something being delivered.

Behind the scenes – Could be as simple as you and your staff waving and saying hello or a day in the life of the office pet (people love that shit!) But see my caveat/warning below for more ‘personal’ videos.

Once you get the hang of it, go in the explore tab and get some inspo – Some will have had a professional touch but with a bit of practice and imagination you can make some really cool videos that your audience will love and engage with.

The Caveats

  1. Be careful with your content and who it is for

I have been testing reels for a few weeks and seeing what the impact is on my account.

So with anything on Social Media, start off thinking about your audience. Who do you want to follow you so they will potentially support you, collaborate with you and hopefully buy. As small businesses we don’t want random followers to make up the numbers as whats the point in posting to people who couldn’t give a shit about us? It messes with the algorithm.

Lots of followers, no engagement = shit reach

The right followers, good engagement = people see our stuff!

So I posted a video basically of a horse that we look at everyday outside our window, scratching its arse on a post (or shaking it at people passing by) and put some Flo Rida music on and posted. Nothing happened for two days then I left my phone somewhere for a bit and I got a few notifications of people watching and liking by video. 48 hours later I got probably 200+ new followers, loads of likes and I got to the dizzy viral heights of 1 million. Here it is>

I deleted it. Why when I was getting so many people following me?

  • The notifications were doing my head in
  • The people who were following me will never ever buy from me. They just liked the video and probably wanted some more hilarious content from me and I don’t have it in me to become an internet sensation unfortunately.

So the moral of the story here is… Keep it really targeted on your business account. It’s honestly going to be a great way to reach new people from all demographics, not just the kids. Use your niche hashtags so it has the opportunity to show up in the feeds of your ideal customer.

2. Time

Social Media can be a right time drain at the best of times. Reels are addictive – watching them and making them. It probably took me a over an hour to make my first Reel! I have got a bit quicker with a bit of confidence and practice. 

If you are making them, try not to obsess about perfection. If it’s part of your strategy to make high quality videos then that’s a different story but if its you making them and you can’t outsource then weigh up the faff/cost benefit. Is it worth your time and are they going to help you get to your goals? If not don’t stress – use them to supplement your main content when you have a great idea.

I’m going to continue using Reels for my business to test and see what works and doesn’t!

Follow me on Instagram or a bit of inspiration and tag me in your Reels!

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