Instagram is the perfect platform for businesses to expand their reach and encourage engagement with their audience. As a visual platform, it can help to form more personal connections with your consumers, serving as a valuable marketing tool for your business.
Like many social media platforms, Instagram has evolved with the times and kept their features as up to date as possible. When the video social media platform TikTok really started to take off at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Instagram saw their opportunity to integrate a similar feature within their platform. Instagram reels were first launched on the app in August 2020, allowing users to create and merge numerous videos with added sound between 15-60 seconds to be posted as a reel on their profile.
What are Instagram reels?
By definition, Instagram reels are short, entertaining videos, where you can express your creativity and bring your brand to life. Instagram users use Reels to participate in cultural trends, collaborate with the community and discover new ideas.
On Instagram there is now a Reels tab, and just like TikTok, instead of only seeing Reels from accounts you follow, it’s filled with Reels from other popular and trending accounts on Instagram.
Music is a huge part of reel making. Instagram has a library of music available or you can add your own audio, voiceover or special effect sounds to the clips. Searching a particular song will show you other reels using the same music, giving you a little bit of inspo!
Note that choosing music that is ‘trending’ is a great way to increase views and also using music that others in a similar space have used. For example, is there a song snippet commonly used by the fitness industry to overlay on workouts? If so, you stand of chance of reaching more of the right audience since Instagram users can browse other reels that use the same song as one they just stumbled on!
How to use Instagram reels for your business
Knowing how to create engaging and informative reels on Instagram is only the first step to success. You might use a platform like like Canva to design your reels and schedule them to make sure that your reels are visually engaging, but the real key to success with Instagram reels is understanding how to connect with your target audience through them.
Three ways you can use Instagram Reels in your marketing strategy to encourage brand engagement:
- Create authentic content
- Share educational content
- Showcase products/services that you provide
Here are some of our top tips for creating engaging Instagram reels:
- Follow Instagram Reels trends
- Share insider content
- Start strong
- Storytelling is invaluable
- Share useful information
- Make use of your captions character allowance
- Choose your music wisely
Top Tip - don't dive in and create a tonne of content that you think will send you viral without posting a couple of pieces and tracking the results.
For social media management, you could use a platform like Semrush to track engagement or HubSpot Marketing Hub to get insights from your channel.
What types of reels to create on your Business Instagram channel
We’re going to jump into 15 great ways that businesses can use Instagram reels. If you’re a newbie to reels, give this video a watch to get to grips with some of the basics before diving in with the creative side:
1. Introduce yourself and the team
This is a great starting point for your business to enter the world of reels - ask each team member to wave at the camera saying their name and their job role at the company.
You can make this kind of video super fun, with all sorts of transitions, an upbeat song and lots of cheesy grins!
Example: @thegownbridalboutique @thegownbridalboutique
2. Share your business’ products or services
A super simple business reel idea is to create a video of you pointing to imaginary spaces around you, then add text to the screen to list things your business does and / or how you help your consumers.
To make the video effective, add transitions to text entrances and make sure to be extra on your facial expressions! You might even want to consider a voiceover recording as the text appears.
This is a great way to create super-fast, easy-to-digest content that showcases your exact offering, rather than sending someone to lengthy web pages that explore the nuts and bolts - of course, these pages are extremely valuable, too, but the short-form reel content creates immediate engagement which can then be complemented with longer-form content on your website.
3. Create ‘a day in the life of’
A day in the life of *your profession* tend to be really popular reels on Instagram. It helps the audience to feel a little more connected to you personally by showing them your work day from start to finish i.e. when you get up in the morning to when you go to bed.
They are super easy to create, you just need to film snippets of what a day in your life looks like. Don’t forget the behind the scenes clips, too - making your morning coffee, your lunch time routine, what you get up to after work. These are the little bits that audiences will love and can relate to the most.
They’re also a great way of showing what it’s like to work at your company in order to encourage new hires to apply for open roles or enquire about positions. It gives them an insight into what their daily routines could look like and how they’re expected to go about their daily tasks.
Example: @coffee.and.notions @beyond.agency @htmlcoding_
4. Showcase a project start to finish
Your audience might want a glimpse into some of your projects, you can use a time lapse setting to film yourself working on something from the planning stages to the final end product.
These reels may take a little longer to create just because the project could take anything from days or weeks/months to finish. But remember, an Instagram reel can only be a maximum of 60 seconds, so you’ll have to condense everything - you don’t need bags of content to make this look great!
A slightly quicker option would be to take snaps of short clips throughout the day whilst you work on projects in programmes like Adobe to share how you go about your design process.
Examples: @_cooper_creative @ui.aida
5. Explore your workspace
Whether you work from home, go into the office, or in a warehouse, showcasing your workspace is a really great way to let your audience feel more connected to you.
To show your workspace, pan over the whole room, show your favourite parts of the room and tools of the trade (anything from stationary, furniture, calendar, laptop).
Some people have some weird and wonderful work spaces, adding little features that make it unique for them! Several people have gone viral online, showcasing stand up desks with treadmills or incredible panoramic views…
Example: @cameralust @thejadetreechiro @mindonfire_ocd
6. Share quick tips
Share your top tips or quick tips about anything related to your industry, or tailored specifically to your business and your products. It might even be tips and tricks for the software you use in your business to support a DIY approach rather than DFY to your service - more below.
Younger generations are always looking for the next quick fix so these types of videos will be a hit. You can include multiple top tips in one video, or alternatively make a series of videos with one top tip in each - a great way to get a bulk of content scheduled for the month.
Quick tip instagram reels need not be long, you can have text on the screen or physically show the quick tip - for example a hairdresser might show ways you can tie your hair without damaging it - a super simple and super quick video to create!
Examples: @tatendafz @cameralust @bami.brands
7. Recommend tools or softwares
In every industry there are go-to tools or softwares that many businesses will try to keep quiet about so as not to share their secrets to success. But sharing some of your essential tools and softwares will encourage other businesses to engage with your content, as well as consumers.
You'll often see agencies, like us, recommending the platforms we use for social media management, SEO, email marketing, design, lead generation, and so on.
It also positions you as the expert and adds value to your processes. Potential clients see that they’re paying for more than just the deliverable, it’s the process, expertise, and expensive platforms, too!
These reels are one of the easiest and least time consuming to create - simply screen record or screenshot the tools, with a music overlay and text / a voiceover and there you have it!
Examples: @alimirza2k @beyond.agency @vadim.uiux
8. Unveil hidden features
Similar to the Instagram reel idea for sharing tools and softwares you recommend to use, share some of the hidden features from different tools or softwares that are not necessarily obvious when using them.
This reel idea will help other businesses in your industry to make the most out of the tools they use.
Examples: @socialtypro @alimirza2k
9. Compare and choose which is better: ** vs **
Doing a brand/tool/software comparison reel helps other businesses in your industry and your consumers to choose the right product for them.
Include key benefits and disadvantages of each one to make a fair comparison.
For example, at Beyond, we might compare Webflow vs WordPress or HubSpot vs Mailchimp.
We might even go outside of our industry-tools and recommend business softwares that help optimise workflows (like Monday.com), help to streamline communication management (e.g. VideoAsk), or provide a great way of managing projects (for example, Notion).
10. Share before and afters
Transformation reels are definitely up there as top contenders for the highest engagement rate of business reels on Instagram.
Showcase a before and after of projects you have worked on, no matter the industry this is a reel idea all businesses can make use of. Back to the hairdressing example - insert before photos or videos of their clients hair, add a dramatic transition then insert photos or videos of their hair after.
There are several trending sounds that are used for before and after transformation videos - such as:
- ‘sweet Caroline but dark academia’ from TikTok
- ‘still into you’ by Paramore
- ‘heat waves’ glass animals
Examples: @hairbylollyjaye @beyond.agency
11. Bust common misconceptions
The myth buster reel! These ones are fun to make - and yes sarcasm is allowed.
Use this Instagram reel idea to react to common misconceptions about either your role or business specifically, or about your industry as a whole.
Funnily enough, we’re back to the hairdresser example - let’s roll with it. Common misconceptions about hairdressers or individuals within the beauty industry is that they are often stereotyped as ‘dumb blondes’ - just because someone left school at 16 to pursue a career in hair and beauty it does not mean they lack intelligence!
12. Play on what people think it’s like vs what it’s really like
The great Instagram vs Reality reel!
Use this to shatter people’s assumptions about one part of your business or life.
For example, child photographers who get told they’ve got such a cute and easy job - hello, children don’t sit still!
Recreate scenarios of what people think it will be like, then show what it is really like - a great example that many people can relate to is working from home…
Show how people think your work from home setting will be (clean desk, work attire, hair done) then show the reality of it (hunched over your laptop in your dressing gown eating mini weetabix out of the box…guilty for it!)
Examples: @magnusthetherapydog @beyond.agency
13. Sneak peek
Share a sneak peek of a new project, product or service coming up. Show only snippets of the project, leaving your audience guessing what it is and anticipating the next reel.
Sneak peek reels are great for when you’re lacking content on your Instagram because of being so busy with projects, they give your audience a bit of insider insight into the creative process and are a little teaser to encourage them to come back to see the final product.
14. Share your business evolution
For many businesses, if not all, they will have started out small and slow. Showing how your business has evolved over the years to what it is now is a great reflection on your business for other businesses to take as motivation, and for consumers to see the progression.
This is where storytelling comes in - share videos of different stages of your business leading up to now, with a voiceover telling viewers about the journey you have gone on. Alternatively you could film a video of yourself now talking to the camera and share the story of your business.
15. Imitate funny things clients or colleagues say to you
Without naming names, and definitely avoiding being offensive, you can make some light hearted reels on typical things a client may ask you to do.
For example, at Beyond we often get enquiries from potential clients asking for a website design and rebranding - services that we do offer, but some will either want it complete within a day, or their budget is ridiculously small. These situations can be made into fun and quick Instagram reels!
Examples: @kperezjr @beyond.agency @loewhaley
So, are you ready to start your business Instagram reels?
Hopefully, from this article you can take some of the ideas, along with the know-how on creating a reel, and you’ll get to work on creating your first Instagram reel for your business!
There are so many tools you can use to make the process easier, and remember - don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the reel perfect. Your first few reels are to test the waters and see what your audience responds well to, this will help you to build a better picture of what your audience does and doesn’t want to see from your Instagram business profile.
Since you’re still here, why don’t you check out our Instagram profile to see what we’ve been getting up to in the reel world of Instagram!