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  • Writer's pictureJamie Campbell

The Key Steps in Creating a Successful Instagram Reel

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know social media platforms are prioritizing video content within their algorithms.

Basically, videos are the GOAT of social media right now.

Despite their popularity, there's still a myriad of questions and confusion about the length, orientation and type of content you should capture.

We've been around the block with video content this past year, so we're here to help.

For this case study, we will focus on Instagram Reels and the key steps you should take to get more eyes watching and more thumbs engaging with your content!

Instagram Reels are short-form videos introduced in 2020 as a competitor to TikTok. You can edit photos/videos together, incorporate effects/ filters, and add music to create a video that's up to 90 seconds long. They are an amazing, bite-sized way to engage with your followers. Reels can live permanently on your Instagram feed, or you can "hide" them from your main feed and only have them show up in the reels section.

Now that your crash course in Reels is complete, that begs the question, how can YOU up your reel game and capture successful content?

How To Capture Content -

  1. You can shoot footage in the Instagram app by holding the record button in the middle of the screen. OR, you can pre-shoot footage in your camera app and upload it directly to Instagram reels.

What Type of Content to Capture -

  1. Create videos that have quality content. For example, something viewers can learn from, laugh with or be challenged by. Make sure you "hook" them in quickly!

  2. Avoid low-resolution photos and videos and shoot ALL content in a vertical orientation. See below for information on reel dimensions and specifications.

  3. Regarding the number of videos, you can add as many clips as you like until you reach the time limit for reels, which is currently 90 seconds.

  4. Avoid reposting TikToks. Although it may seem like the easier route, visibly recycled content makes the reel instantly less satisfying.

  5. Use #hashtags that relate to the content within your reels.

  6. According to a test by Hootsuite, reels featuring people performed better than those that didn't. You should probably test it out for yourself.

  7. Use trending audio. Remember, if you have a business account, you're limited on what audio you can use due to copyright restrictions.

  8. Be aware of what type of content your audience is engaging with by regularly checking your analytics. Instagram prioritizes reels on what it believes a viewer will most likely interact with.

Instagram Reels Sizing, Dimensions & Specs

The Best Instagram Reel Size

Your Instagram reel should have an aspect ratio of 9:16.

Instagram Reels Dimensions

The dimensions of your reels should be 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Instagram Reel Resolution

The ideal resolution for your reel should be 1080 x 1920 pixels.

Instagram has a helpful recommendation guideline on what type of content they WON'T post within their algorithm.

"We work to avoid making recommendations that could be low-quality, objectionable, or sensitive, and we also avoid making recommendations that may be inappropriate for younger viewers."

What To Avoid -

Content that promotes the following -

  1. Repeatedly posted vaccine-related misinformation that leading global health organizations have widely debunked.

  2. Repeatedly engaged in misleading practices to build a following, such as purchasing 'likes.'

  3. Have been banned from running ads on our platforms.

  4. Recently and repeatedly posted false information as determined by independent third-party fact-checkers or specific expert organizations.

  5. Are associated with offline movements or organizations tied to violence.

  6. Discuss or depict suicide and self-harm in the account name, username, profile photo or bio (with the exception of accounts focused on providing support, raising awareness, and recovery.)

Don't worry, they aren't as scary as they seem. Reels are a fantastic way to showcase brand personality and humanize your brand all around. In this day and age, followers want to connect with the accounts they follow, and reels are your one-way ticket to creating these relationships and building trust.

If you need help with content creation or want someone to manage all of these rules and recommendations for you, we've got you covered. Book a call today to learn how we can take all of this off your plate!


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