Everything you’ve heard about how great video is for growing your business is absolutely true! It’s one of the best tools in your arsenal. Great videos captivate, inspire, educate, and entertain. But if you’ve never made a video for business use, it can be an intimidating prospect. There is one tool that is extremely beginner-friendly and can help you get started making videos with not much more than your smartphone.
I’m talking about Instagram Reels, of course! This is built into the Instagram app already and is so simple to use. We’ll go over everything you need to know below…
What Is Instagram Reels?
Instagram has some pretty cool features, but Reels is one of the most useful for businesses. Video is a must for any marketing campaign, and this can help you take it up a notch. There are lots of editing options, an AR feature, a music library, and lots more!
At its core, Reels is a simple concept. It allows users to record 15 – 60 second video clips to entertain and inform their audience, similar to Tik Tok. You have the option of recording directly from the Instagram app or uploading a video you’ve already produced.
There are many different applications this can have for your business. You can make product demos, show behind-the-scenes exclusives, spotlight community businesses, give stellar employee highlights, host contests, give your audience creative ideas about how to use your products, and the list could go on, but you get the idea. Instagram Reels is a powerful tool that you should be utilizing for your business!
Planning Out Your Reel
Having a plan for what you want your video to be before you start trying to record will help you produce a much higher quality end product. You should consider:
- The background music you want.
- The speed you want your video to go (think fast forward or slow motion).
- Whether you want a filter or any special effects.
- Whether you want to do anything fancy that might require multiple clips stitched together. (we’ll get into how to do that in a moment!)
No matter what type of promotional video you want to make, you can do it with Reels! Sit down and write out your video in increments. For example, it might look something like this:
10 seconds – Introduction
5 seconds – Music shift/crescendo
10 seconds – Product views
5 seconds – Exit/goodbye to the audience
And there you have it, a 30-second video planned out. Simple, right? Of course, you can get as detailed and specific with it as you want, but the important part is knowing what you want to do before you get started.
Recording A Reel
The first thing you want to do is get a tripod, or at the very least some way to stabilize your phone. Above and beyond all of the cool stuff you can use in the Reels camera, you still need to keep general video basics like having a steady shot in mind.
To get to the Reels camera where you can record/upload, tap the ‘+‘ symbol at the top of your home page in the Instagram app, then tap Reels at the bottom. This will take you to a camera with lots of editing options.
Before you start recording, you can select your audio track, how long you want your video to be (15, 30, or 60 seconds), and the video speed. If you need to get yourself into position, there’s also a handy timer feature that will let you record on a delay. You should also go ahead and check out the filters to get an idea of what you want the end result to look like.
Once you have all of this set up, hop in front of the camera and do your thing! It will automatically stop recording at the video length you selected, or you can start/stop recording by tapping the shutter button at the bottom. Once you’ve recorded your video, you can have some fun playing with the editing options.
If you’ve already recorded a video using your phone’s basic camera (or any video camera for that matter) you can upload and edit it here as well. This is helpful to give a refresh to any previous attempts at video marketing, or if you’ve commissioned a video from someone.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the awesomely cool videos of people posing or dancing around while their clothes or props magically change seamlessly. This is called a transition video! Reels makes it super simple to do with their ‘Align Tool’.
Before you start recording, decide where in the video you want the recording to start and stop. You can mark in the timer function where you want the transitions to happen before you even start recording. For example, you can have it pause recording at 7 seconds in, then again at 15 seconds, and again at 18 seconds. It’s up to you! This goes back to the ‘planning out your video’ section from earlier. Writing out your video second by second is extremely helpful here.
When you start recording the first clip, it will automatically pause, giving you an opportunity to change clothes, switch props, or do whatever other transition you want.
ProTip: Have a mark on the floor where you’re standing to help you get back into the same position for the next clip. This will make it much easier to seamlessly merge the clips together and will produce a smoother end result!
Once you’ve recorded the whole thing, head to the ‘Align’ tool in the Instagram app. This will let you merge the end of each clip with the beginning of the next one. This method of recording Reels is one of the most popular. With a little creativity on your part, you can produce some stunning results.
Editing Your Reel
Once you have your video recorded and all your clips merged together, you can tap the arrow in the bottom left corner to start editing. You can edit the length, add text to appear at specific moments, add stickers, emojis, and GIFs. There’s even a drawing tool! Feel free to let your creative flag fly!
Adding an Augmented Reality (AR) filter is a bit more complicated than some of the other features, but it can really take your video to a new level. If you didn’t know already, Facebook owns Instagram, so they do a lot of the development of these features. They’ve made a tool called Spark AR that you can use to create stunning AR filters. You can download it here.
There are many other tools out there you can use, but we’re recommending this one because Facebook developed it with Instagram in mind, and it’s completely free to use. It also has a huge library of pre-made AR objects for you to use, so you don’t need any coding or design experience. It’s pretty much drag-and-drop!
Here’s a great YouTube video tutorial on the basics of Spark AR.
Putting It All Together
Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. There is so much you can do with it, between Reels, Stories, and your regular feed. If you’re not directing at least a portion of your marketing efforts towards Instagram, you’re missing out!
I know you’ve got it in you to create gorgeous Reels to captivate your audience, but the regular everyday posts are a huge time commitment. If you want some help with this, $99 Social is here for you! We can create daily posts for all your socials to complement the videos you’re doing. Take a look at our plans, then reach out with any questions you have!