Instagram Reels – Should my business be using them?

Instagram Reels - should my business be using them?

Instagram is a huge social media channel, with 28.74 million UK users as of May 2021 and represents a perfect platform to utilise for your business. Instagram Reels landed in August 2020 – these are short videos (up to 30 seconds) which contain audio and visual effects. But are they worth pursuing for small businesses?

The simple answer is ‘Yes’ and we will tell you why. Although they may take time to master, they help create traction for your business and here are a few reasons why they are important:

1. High engagement:
Part of the appeal of Reels, is that they are more entertaining and have an endless stream. Consequently they can result in much higher engagement and help to gain your business more followers than traditional Instagram photos and static posts.

2. Algorithm:
Reels can help you be discovered by new potential followers, through the use of sound. There are a number of tips listed below to help your page be boosted by the Instagram Reel algorithm.

3. Instagram is Evolving:
Reels are becoming ever more important on Instagram. The head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, has announced that Instagram is ‘no longer a photo-sharing app’ citing the main reason people use it is to be ‘entertained’. Photo-posting will remain an important feature, but there is now a focus on different avenues like video. Content is shown to consumers, even from accounts they’re not following, based on topics they’re interested in.

A quick guide on how to use Instagram Reels:

This is the symbol for Reels in the appInstagram reels logo

Instagram has a number of creative and editing tools built in to be used when creating Reels.



1) Audio: choosing the right sound to play on your video is important as it is a way to keep people engaged. You can create your own audio by doing a voiceover (and can add a sound effect to that). An example of this is Innocent Smoothies. To access music there are a few options: if you are a business account, you can use royalty-free music (e.g., YouTube music library). Or, in order to access licensed music, you can change your account from a business to a creator account.

2) Speed: you can control the speed of your videos (either speed up or slow down).

3) AR Effects: you can add special effects from the gallery in Reels to help make your video stand out.

4) Touch Up: this effect allows you to use a cosmetic filter and you can adjust the intensity.

5) Timer and Countdown: these can be useful to allow you to record hands-free.

6) Align: this helps to achieve smooth editing when making multiple takes within a reel, allowing for transitions.

Instagram reels features

Top Tips for successful Reels:

As an Instagram user and consumer myself, here are a few tips I can share:

1. Use trending sounds and effects – this helps people to find your Reel.

2. The first few seconds really count – these are what determine whether someone keeps scrolling or not. You need to pull them in! This can be done a number of ways – use short text to intrigue them. (e.g.@themrsperdersen, says “psst come here” – pulling you in so you want to know what the video is about).

3. Editing is important: it needs to be a clean-cut video to capture attention.

4. Message: it has to be quick and easy to digest, it should educate your audience about you and your brand and make them want to engage.

5. It should showcase your brand’s personality and values – what differentiates your products or services from your competitors.

6. Practice before submitting (it can take a few takes to get the hang of it and a bad Reel can have the opposite effect for your business).

7. For inspiration see what your competitors are creating. Can you make it better?

8. Add questions in your captions – it encourages people to comment and engage.

9. Whenever you create a new Reel, share it on your story to boost exposure.

Some Reels ideas to use for your small business:

Here are some ideas for what your small business could create:

1. Successfully present your product, either through a tutorial on how you make your product or dispatch your products e.g. a ‘Pack With Me’ Reel (many small businesses have accumulated a lot of views through packing videos).

2. A transition post – film a before and after of your product.

3. Give an insight into what you are like as a human (show your personality, who runs the business, team members).

4. Film a behind the scenes clip – introducing your team on reels or film a day in the life of a small business owner.

5. Teach your audience – what is something you have learnt in your business that has value to share?

6. Tell a story – origins, outcomes, learnings, how you got a new client or order etc.

7. Take part in a trend.  Scroll through other Reels or look on the Explore page. What are the sounds or formats that keep popping up?

8. Communicate what makes you different.

Reels offer an exciting way to diversify your Instagram content, to show off your business’ personality and values. They allow a new way for your business to be found. In this digital age, attention spans are much shorter and Reels represent a clever way to capitalise on this. With Colormatic reporting, video content on Instagram receives 49% higher engagement rates than static photos. To miss out on using Reels, would be missing out on an important opportunity.

Chloe Hagdrup, Shake It Up Creative

2 thoughts on “Instagram Reels – Should my business be using them?”

  1. Good informative article on Reels , I’ve made 1 but will certainly do more.It took me ages to find the right music to accompany the cactus drawing, there isn’t a way of picking a type of music then selecting from that is there ? This would speed things up a bit. Thanks

    • Hi Sarah, so if you hear a song or background sound on someone else’s reel, you can tap the music notes icon on the reel and ‘Save Audio’, then when you go to make a reel, it will show your saved audio list at the top. If you save clips over time you’ll have a selection to use without having to hunt. You can also search trending hashtags to find popular audio and then save them. Hope that helps!

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