After the rise of short-form content on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram entered the playing field with its own take on the trend: Instagram Reels. These ten-to-sixty-second videos allow users to share quick-but-engaging pieces of content. Unlike Instagram stories, these videos remain on your feed and won’t expire after twenty-four hours.
Instagram already has limitless marketing potential for the aesthetics industry–the platform alone attracts nearly 3 billion visitors each month, with 90% of users following at least one business account. Instagram Reels represents a new shift for the app, and many creators are embracing it as one of the best ways to grow.
In recent years, changes to the platform have led to a noticeable drop in engagement and growth, even in the popular niches of beauty, skincare, and medical aesthetics. Instagram Reels offers content creators an opportunity to get ahead of the algorithm. Using Reels, any brand can dramatically improve reach and engagement. The right reel could even go viral!
Even if you've already explored the marketing potential of Instagram, static feed posts and stories might not be enough in 2022. Here’s everything you need to know about Instagram Reels, including how to leverage them to take your practice–and your platform–to a whole new level.
What is an Instagram Reel?
As the algorithm constantly evolves, many creators are asking: What’s the secret to growth on Instagram right now? In 2022, the answer is simple. From businesses to influencers, creators are reporting explosive growth with the use of Instagram Reels.
But in order to see the best results, it takes an effective strategy. That means knowing how to use all the different features Reels offers. Before we get into how Reels can build your brand and increase your following, let’s break down what exactly a Reel is.
Instagram Reels are short-form, vertical videos that are under a minute long. Users can record and edit their videos on the platform itself, or edit them on another app and upload them to Instagram. Just like with Instagram posts or Stories, there are options to customize each reel. This can include incorporating creative effects and backgrounds, tap into trending audio, or add text and stickers to enhance the video.
Once uploaded, users can share them to their feed, Stories, and the Reel Explore page. Accessible by tapping the Reels icon at the bottom of the screen, users can access a scrollable tab full of popular and trending videos—just like TikTok's For You page.
Why make Instagram Reels?
Since they were first introduced in 2019, Instagram Reels have been making waves on the platform. While they’ve been immensely popular with brands and casual users alike, Reels are more than just another form of addictive entertainment.
Instagram Reels have the potential to revolutionize the way the aesthetics industry operates on social media. With the rising popularity of content in the beauty and skincare niche, Reels offer a creative way for practices to increase their reach and promote their services.
What sets Reels apart from Instagram’s other content options—feed posts, stories, IGTV, and lives—is that videos won’t be seen just by your followers. People who use the Reel Explore page can see Reels from all Instagram accounts, making it easier to reach new eyes and clients.
Most importantly, Instagram has been known to promote Reels over other forms of content. Many accounts report that algorithmic changes have caused their reach to plummet, with their photos only reaching a small fraction of their audience. As a new and engaging feature, Reels are boosted in the algorithm, which could help revive a stagnant account.
With so many similarities between TikTok and Instagram Reels, why even bother posting Reels? One study found that while influencers perform their best on TikTok, Instagram Reels lead to the best results for brands. It doesn't hurt to expand your social media marketing presence into TikTok as well, but Instagram Reels offers a unique opportunity for businesses to thrive.
How to make an Instagram Reel
There’s a reason why so many creators and brands are investing their time in Reels. Not taking advantage of this feature could mean a missed opportunity to grow views, engagement, and follower count.
Whether it's showcasing client before and afters or sharing skincare tips, Reels might just be the next big thing for your practice. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make an Instagram reel:
1. Decide on a concept
If you’re not already experienced with video editing and TikTok-style videos, Instagram Reels can have a steep learning curve. For that reason, planning your videos before filming them is especially important.
A great place to start is by consuming as many Reels as possible. Start engaging with brands and creators in the medical aesthetics industry. Study their videos and think about what makes them work. Both Instagram Reels and TikTok cycle through trends quickly, so this is an excellent opportunity to start making note of the trends that are most popular in your niche.
This isn’t just a time to plan video ideas. It’s also a time to decide what kind of visuals, fonts, and aesthetics should represent your brand. From color palettes to visual styles, every part of the video makes a statement. Even the language and tone used in text, voice-overs, and captions matter!
Here are a few video ideas to spark inspiration:
- Create a before-and-after video of a client's beauty transformation (with their permission, of course!)
- Make skincare education videos covering topics like product application order, your favorite formulas, products that address popular concerns, etc.
- Offer tips on what clients shouldn’t do with their skincare, like which products never to mix or common mistakes people make in their routines
- Take a behind-the-scenes tour of your practice and introduce each staff member
- Do a “Day in the Life” series, including your morning routine, working with clients, and other day-to-day office responsibilities (this is great for authentic connection!)
- Walk through some common cosmetic treatments and what each of them does, like a breakdown between a muscle relaxer such as Botox® and dermal fillers like Restylane® and Juvéderm®
- Make a video based on a popular trend and put your own spin on it
Once you have a clear direction, it can help to write out a quick storyboard. Think about which clips are needed to make the concept come to life, or even try sketching them out to build a picture in your mind.
To make sure filming goes as smoothly as possible, try practicing each shot. If you're going to be talking in the video, practice is everything. Try writing down a few bullet points and going over the phrasing to make sure the point is coming across in a concise and entertaining way.
2. Record the content
Now, it’s time to actually shoot the Reel. Through the Reels tab, Instagram home screen, or the Instagram stories camera, open up the recording screen. From there, you have two options:
- Press and hold the button to record footage
- Upload video footage from your camera roll
If recording through the app, you can record a series of clips and patch them together or make a video by filming everything all at once. Before recording, go through some of the in-app tools to enhance the video. Tap “Audio” to select a complementary sound from the music library, from songs to trending sounds and voice-overs. Tap on “Speed” to change the speed of the video or “Effects” to apply special effects from the app’s library. Finally, select “Timer” to decide how long the video will be.
When ready, press and hold the record button to start recording. For hands-free recording, just tap the button, and a countdown will start.
When you’ve finished recording a clip, release the record button (or tap it again for hands-free recording). Then, tap it once more to start a new clip. If you’re filming more than one clip and splicing them together, the “Align” button will show up. This allows you to line up objects between clips, creating a smooth and seamless transition.
3. Add songs or trending sounds
While you can select an audio before you start recording, it's also an option to add audio during post-production. Just search for a song or trending sound from the platform’s in-app library and pick which part to play over the footage.
Many Instagram Reels feature an original voice-over, which could be pre-recorded or simply recorded with the video footage.
4. Put on the finishing touches
Once you're satisfied with the clips recorded, then it’s time to head to “Preview.” While there are some effects, like filters or interactive backgrounds, that you can use prior to recording, you can also add effects during the editing process.
Here are some of Instagram’s effects that can help bring your video to life:
- To add more context—and increase the time each user spends watching the video—try layering text on top of the video, in the font of your choice
- For some extra flair, use the draw tool to create original designs or draw the attention to a particular part of the video
- Add fun images, GIFs, captions, or location tags using one of the many fun stickers in Instagram’s library
- Search through the gallery of Augmented Reality (AR) filters to create an immersive effect
- Adjust the mood of the video by swiping left or right to add a filter (if uploading pre-recorded footage, try using an app like VSCO)
5. Get it ‘post’ ready
Now, it’s time to prep the footage for posting. On the app, tap the “Next” button. On this page, the platform will prompt you to pick the cover photo. This is how it will appear on your feed, so make sure to pick a clip from the video that catches the eye and blends well with your overall brand vision.
Then, it’s time to craft a caption. Just like with feed posts, the caption should offer more than a brief description. This is an opportunity to elaborate on your content, infuse your brand personality, and draw in potential followers or clients. The longer someone stays on the video, the better it will perform within Instagram’s algorithm. To capture the viewer's attention, be sure to write a descriptive caption that they’ll want to read in totality.
On this page, Instagram will also offer a toggle determining whether or not the reel will be shared to your Instagram feed. To maximize reach, make sure this is set to “Share.” Don’t forget to add a location tag and mention others featured in the video, if relevant.
For the best results, remember to drop a few effective hashtags, either in the caption or in a comment below the video. Avoid using too many hashtags or vague hashtags like “Instagram” or “explore page,” this is an opportunity to build credibility and zero in on your niche following. Instead, pick three to ten hashtags that are relevant to your Reel. Try to strike a balance between larger hashtags with more reach and smaller hashtags with less competition.
Mastering Reels to Boost Your Practice
Instagram Reels might be a new feature to the app, but there’s no question that they’re here to stay. That means there’s never been a better time to start crafting powerful videos that can increase following, boost reach, maximize engagement, and even get your practice on the map in a viral way.
Even if making videos feels unfamiliar, practice makes perfect. Keeping an eye on your analytics will tell you which ideas resonate more with your audience. Then, you can replicate them to reinforce those relationships and continue to foster new ones.
To learn more about marketing strategies that can help you build your business, contact a Portrait specialist today.