When it first came out, people dismissed Instagram Reels as a TikTok ripoff. Since its introduction, though, the powerful tool has proven to have some serious brand power.
That’s because, unlike disappearing Instagram Stories, Reels stick around. The content you create will live in your account’s Reels tab for… well, as long as you want.
If you want to increase engagement and awareness, Reels can be a game-changer. But coming up with video ideas and then creating content takes a bit of work and advance planning.
Struggling to come up with Instagram Reels ideas for your business? Check out our list of Instagram Reels ideas or skip straight to the end for hooks to jumpstart your creativity. You’ll be creating vertical videos and converting new business partners in no time!
Bonus: Download the free 10-Day Reels Challenge, a daily workbook of creative prompts that will help you get started with Instagram Reels, track your growth, and see results across your entire Instagram profile.
15 Instagram Reel ideas that will boost engagement
1. Show off your work
The most obvious Reels idea is also one of the most effective – show off your work.
British clothing manufacturer Lucy and Yak do this well with their ongoing #InMyYaks campaign. They use this hashtag as the hook for Instagram Reels where they display new items. Lucy and Yak fans have also adopted the hashtag to show off their outfits.
Come up with a hashtag that showcases your products, then use it. Your fans will probably follow suit.
2. Display your skills
Reels that showcase the talent it takes to create your product or service are always a great idea.
Jewelry brand Cleopatra’s Bling use Instagram Reels to offer a glimpse at the craft behind their beautiful pieces. They even include a must-have coffee break.
3. Invite participation
The more engagement you get, the better your Reels will do. But you don’t have to wait for comments to roll in on their own. Instead, create Reels that encourage interaction.
Type-oriented home goods company Letterfolk nailed it with their St. Patrick’s Day Reel. An eye-popping animation shows off their product. It also prompts viewers to engage with the Reel by tagging someone they’re lucky to know.
4. Go behind the scenes
Go on, show off a little behind-the-scenes magic. If you’re setting up a shoot anyway, take a few moments to create some loose B-roll footage.
That’s what the activewear brand Bliss Club did in this Reel. They introduce their models as BlissFaces, with a relaxed approach that invites the viewer in. It makes their whole ad campaign feel more accessible.
If your brand is passionate about its practices, share them! Maybe you’re all about ethically sourced materials or sustainable packaging. Why not tell the world with a Reel?
Here’s a great example of how Kay Carter Homeware did just that. Their Reel offers a glimpse at the company’s sustainable studio practices. With content like this, they’re inspiring potential customers and fellow small business owners.
6. Reel Vs. reality
If you’re already going behind the curtain, take it a step further. Get a little vulnerable about life as a business owner. People love original content that shows off the human side of your brand.
Take this Reel from You’re the Bomb, where founder Luana shares the triumphs and trials of running a brand.
The Reel itself is vague enough to be playful and engaging. Still, Laura uses the caption to share more about the difficulties of life as an entrepreneur. Sure, most of us may not know what it’s like to operate a vegan bath bomb company in New Zealand, but we can relate.
7. Tell it like it is
Brands that aren’t afraid of a little authentic expression always find an audience. The Reels format is a perfect venue for this.
In this post shared by brand consultant Namrata Vaid, she uses a trending audio clip to share an unfiltered take.
In your own Reels, you can use audio, text and facial reactions to debunk myths, share hot takes and express yourself. It might feel too specific, but these posts tend to do well.
Customers and clients will appreciate your honesty. You might earn some extra engagement from peers in your industry.
8. Use filters
Sure, being raw and real is one way to get the message out. Still, that might not feel like the right fit for your brand. If so, you can explore the world of augmented reality (AR) Instagram filters.
Integrate AR filters into your Reels toolkit, and you’ll be able to create some super-futuristic posts.
9. Count it down
You’ve got a full minute to fill on Reels, and that’s actually a solid amount of time to count down your top faves.
Here, Greg of Greg’s Vegan Gourmet delivers three mouth-watering recipes, but that’s not all. He also includes plenty of jokes and organic calls to action for viewers to check out his page. All that content, and he doesn’t even hit the one-minute mark!
It’s a perfect example of what you can do with tightly edited countdowns.
10. Show a before and after
There’s nothing better than a makeover montage, right?
If your work involves any type of transformation, Reels might be the perfect opportunity for your business.
Here, the professional organizers at Organized Dwelling transform a chaotic workplace mess. After some simple editing, it becomes a soothing and functional cupboard.
11. Get musical
The internet will always love dancing videos (remember the OG dancing baby ?!), and Instagram Reels are no different. Just make sure you’re dancing to this week’s trends, not last year’s.
Rather than hop on a trend far too late, you can keep up with all things musical by following Instagram’s official @creators account.
They offer weekly updates on trending songs and dances, so you’ll never end up behind the times.
12. Play around with style
On a visual platform like Instagram, sharing fashion just makes sense. (And the #ootd hashtag will probably outlive us all.) So if it makes sense for your brand, why not try to capture a little of that magic for yourself?
Show off your WFH looks or share what your team’s wearing to the office. Capturing a week of outfits can be a fun, easily edited Reel that gets a surprising amount of traction.
13. Create a tutorial
The internet is still the main way people learn how to do, well, anything. So using social media to share your expertise, no matter what it’s in, is always a good idea.
Here, Adobe shares cool ways to use its products to create thoughtful, personalized gifts for family and friends.
It’s the kind of thing that someone might watch over and over again – or share with their friends – to master the skill.
14. Get silly with it
Playing it cool will only get you so far online. Sometimes, it’s okay to let your hair down and engage in some good old-fashioned goofing around.
Boldfaced Goods does just that in this Reel. They poke fun at an oblivious partner who comes home from the store with paper towels instead of their eco-friendly dishrags.
The Reel is simple, but it’s visually arresting and funny. It’s also exactly the kind of thing their followers will enjoy.
15. Repurpose evergreen content
If you’ve shot promo videos for other platforms and had some success (or, honestly, even if you didn’t), try repurposing them as Instagram Reels. Consider Reels an opportunity to give your YouTube videos new life!
You might need to reconfigure your edit to fit in the 9:16 aspect ratio, but it’ll almost definitely pay off. After all, in a sea of front-facing camera rants, a professionally shot video stands out.
7 Instagram Reels hook ideas
As a general rule, you have about three seconds to grab your viewer before they scroll past your video. Every good Instagram Reel starts with a hook that grabs attention right away.
Need help coming up with a hook for your own Reels? We’ve got seven ideas to help you stop those thumbs in their tracks
1. How to… Before you share your expertise, tell the viewer what they’ll learn after watching your Reel. Instagram’s built-in text editor works great for this!
Source: Bon Appetit on Instagram
2. My top three… Numbered lists are always great hooks (you’re reading one right now!), And three items usually make for a snappy Reel. List anything from your favorite lunch spots to your desert island albums.
3. Three tough lessons I learned… Get vulnerable by looking back at the learning curve specific to your business.
4. Four tips for… Bring that niche expertise to your Reels! Share facts or issues from your industry that only you would know.
Source: Domino on Instagram
5. Don’t start your day without… Does your local coffee shop make the best cappuccinos? Maybe you’ve got a great note-taking system that helps you stay organized. Whether you’re sharing a day-in-the-life guide or an industry-specific tip, this hook is a great way to keep your fans watching.
6. Five things you can do right now to improve… Whether you’re discussing scheduling, business development or even mental health, adding “right now” gives the Reel a sense of immediacy that will draw viewers in.
7. You need this… Whatever you’re plugging, this hook almost guarantees your audience will be drawn in.
Source: Real Simple on Instagram
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