You might know the basics of how to make a Reel on Instagram, but do you know how to make Reels like a pro? If you’re trying to build a commercial brand or make a name for yourself as an entertainer or thought leader, a bit more knowledge might be all you need to up your Instagram game. 

Whether you’re just getting started or have known how to post a Reel on Instagram for years, brushing up on a few tips and tricks is your key to better content, increased engagement and growth. Keep reading for all that and more.  

Instagram Reels 101

Reels are short Instagram videos designed to attract and entertain viewers. They can’t be any longer than 90 seconds, and you have a large range of editing and enhancement options. You may share them as regular posts to your profile or as stories that disappear after 24 hours. 

As on other social media platforms, this sort of video content is increasingly popular and key for your profile’s growth and engagement. Figuring out how to make a Reel on Instagram isn’t difficult, but a few tips and tricks will speed your understanding of Reel creation, editing and posting. 

4 Steps for Creating an Instagram Reel

Creating and sharing a Reel is, technically, as easy as hitting record and then the Share button when you’re finished. However, the easiest way to make a Reel isn’t always the most effective. A little thought and a few extra steps will make your Reels more competitive and interesting.  

1. Develop the Storyboard Concept

Having a plan not only makes your Reels better—it also makes creating them more enjoyable. You don’t need to have every Reel mapped out in detail, but an overall strategy can guide you for weeks, months and even years to come. 

The storyboard itself might be a list of ideas, specific video parameters or a rotation of content types. Figure out what system works best for you and stick to it. 

Think about these key points as you develop your storyboard and strategy:

  • Set a main topic (or group of related topics) to reflect who you are and target your goals.
  • Select a style, such as a tutorial, humorous or stunningly visual. 
  • Think about your audience and what they really want.
  • Decide if you’ll participate in trends, ignore them completely or sprinkle them in.    

2. Record the Instagram Reel

Create your Reel in one of the following ways: 

  • From the Reels tab (tap the camera icon at the top right)
  • From your home screen (tap the “+” at the bottom of the screen) 
  • With the Stories camera (swipe left from the home screen and hit “Reel”)

You can record your whole Reel in the app and share it immediately, or you can gather existing footage and images from your device and combine them into something new. 

When recording your Reel internally, simply press and hold the record button at the bottom of the screen. After recording, you can add music, location, effects and captions. 

To use external, existing videos and images, tap the “+” in the bottom left corner. Then you’ll be able to align, reorder, trim or add clips to the Reel. 

3. Preview the Content and Apply Effects

Once you’ve finished, preview your Reel and decide about enhancing and editing. Depending on your style, you might not edit your videos at all, or you might employ every feature Instagram has to offer. 

If you’ve put separate clips together, you can tap “Edit Clips” at the bottom left to shorten, move or delete clips. You can also edit Reels made of singular clips for size and length.

The real fun begins with the enhancing effects. From writing Instagram captions to face filters to audio, you can add elements that draw attention to certain details, flesh out ideas, increase accessibility or add humor:

  • Text
  • Drawing
  • Filters
  • Stickers
  • Music
  • Voiceover 

Augmented reality (AR) effects are virtual images superimposed on real images, such as face filters and computer-generated backgrounds. You can use these while recording, and enhance them in the editing process.  

4. Share the Instagram Reel on the Platform

Sharing your Reel can be as simple as tapping “Share,” though you can customize how your Reel appears. You may also add details about places and people in the Reel. Make your shared Reel more enticing with information like:

  • The right cover photo, selected from the frames of your Reel
  • Location, which you can edit in the Share process 
  • Who’s in the Reel with tagged names
  • Further explanation in a caption
  • Tagged words for main ideas and better reach

When you’re ready to share, choose whether or not to share the Reel in your feed. Generally, sharing to your feed means the Reel will reach more viewers. If you think you might want to do more editing or publish at a later date, save the Reel as a draft or schedule a delayed publish time. 

Perfect Your Reels’ Quality and Design

Once you’ve published a few Reels, peek at your analytics to see how they’re performing. If certain tools and tactics seem to work better, stick to them and perfect your approach.

For the best way to make Reels, the top editing tips suggest you:

  • Edit your Reel using Instagram’s Reels Editor.
  • Use various editing tools, such as filters, effects and music.
  • Add captions for accessibility.
  • Trim, reorder and adjust clip speed. 
  • Enhance your Reel with Stickers and GIFs.

Once you’re incorporating these methods into your Reels regularly, you can tweak them to drive engagement. 

Tips for Creating Engaging Instagram Reels

Creating successful Reels isn’t just about making them good as individual pieces, but about building our brand over time. Use these tips consistently to drive ongoing engagement.  

  • Begin by hooking your audience: You have seconds to grab their attention with a song, question, joke or visual.
  • Offer consistently valuable content: Keep viewers returning with substance–know what your audience wants and deliver it. 
  • Capitalize on current trends: Trends are like inside jokes; keep an eye on what people currently love and tweak it for your brand.  
  • Foster creativity: Don’t be afraid to try new things with your Reels, not only to be memorable but to best relate to your followers. 
  • Utilize trending sounds and hashtags: Support your original content with popular sounds and hashtags to increase the chances of being seen. 
  • Craft a compelling narrative: Hold attention over time with stories, such as how-tos and before-and-after shots. 
  • Maintain authenticity: Don’t rely too heavily on trends and filters–people want to see the real you with unique content that no one else can provide. 
  • Employ editing tools: Use editing tools to enhance your content, make attractive cover photos and solidify your brand.  
  • Evaluate your performance results: Monitor Instagram’s analytics to learn which Reels perform best and which ones aren’t driving engagement. 

Start Growing Your Audience With Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels that make you stand out and invite engagement are within your reach, but they take some know-how. Whether you’re new to the platform or a long-time user, a little innovation can always bring new life to your content. 

Skillshare is your source for the perfect Instagram Reels tutorial and experts who can help you get to the next level. Check out numerous classes on how to use, and market yourself on Instagram, and create the Reels that make you look like a pro.  

Written by:

Katie Mitchell