Short-form video is growing more popular by the minute. Social media apps like Instagram and Facebook have made updates to prioritize this type of content. Here are five steps to help you master Reels.
1. Plan, plan, plan
If you are the type who can switch on a camera unprompted and make gold, we’re jealous. The fact is that video content often requires planning. If you are new to making short-form videos, here are a few things to keep in mind before you get started:
Seek inspiration. A good way to get to know Reels is to watch them! Follow your favorite creators. Get a good idea of trending sounds or video formats. Think about the things that make you want to engage with a video.
Consider lighting and other necessary equipment. Video quality can go a long way when it comes to keeping eyes on your content. Make sure that wherever you plan to film is well lit, and that your footage will appear clearly. A tripod and ring light can be super helpful and won’t break the bank.
Know your editing tools. Reels includes a great array of editing tools built into the app. Getting familiar with them can help you avoid very basic mistakes. There are also many other great tools to use for editing short-form videos, such as CapCut and InShot.
2. Serialize your video content
As you’re brainstorming, consider a series or episodic format for your videos. It’s a great way to capture interest and potentially hook viewers for the long haul. Your topic should be something about which you have a lot of information to share, but that is also easy to explain briefly at the beginning of a video. Mention the episode number to prompt a viewer to look at your page and search for the other parts. Make sure to think about what kind of serialized content your audience would want to hear from you. (Perhaps you know some easy recipes for afterschool snacks, or twenty writing tips for fellow authors?)
3. Experiment with sounds and video formats
Now it’s time to start shooting your video. Remember to film vertically. A trendy song or sound can help your video be seen by more people. The same goes for video formats. Reels allows you to copy the format of another video, so the sound and video cuts are the same. This feature is great for keeping up with trends in Instagram’s fast-moving algorithm. Or, if you see a trend you like, re-create it!
4. Optimize your Instagram bio
We know this sounds counterintuitive: This is about Reels, why are we talking about bios? But your profile is an important part of self-promotion on Instagram. Viewers who are interested by your content will be curious about who you are, and they should be able to find out at a glance. This makes them more likely to follow you and to know what to expect from your content. A seamless bio also makes it easier for Instagram to promote your content on the Explore page. In a few words, explain what you want a potential follower to know about you. Mention the title of your book and any other projects you would like to promote.
5. Cross-post on Instagram and Facebook
Cross-posting, which allows users to post content on Instagram and Facebook at the same time, has been around for a while for regular photo and video posts. Meta has recently launched a feature that allows users to post Reels to Facebook and Instagram simultaneously. This feature is really underrated. It’s a great way to grow your audience across platforms, but it’s especially helpful for growth on Facebook. Little known fact: Not as many people post Reels to Facebook, so if you post them there, you have way less competition for viewership. Cool, right?
Video creation can be taxing at times, and involves a lot of practice and trend awareness. If you need a break, take one. If you’re concerned about burnout and have evergreen video content pre-recorded, you can employ scheduling tools to post videos for you while you take a breather. Either way, prioritize your own sense of energy and enthusiasm. The best videos feature someone who is passionate about their topic. Finally, remember to have fun! Do what brings you joy and your community will respond in kind.