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4 Tips for Making Good Reels on Instagram
Jul 12, 2022
Hakeemah Cummings
contributing writer
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Hakeemah Cummings
Hakeemah Cummings
contributing writer
The name of the game on social media these days are reels, and sometimes it feels like everyone else knows how to make them effective. These short videos on Instagram can be some of the best ways to market your products, garner interest in your service, gain popularity on social media, spread some messaging or just have some fun. And, you don’t have to be an influencer or a content creator to dabble in reels.
Anyone can make a reel – really! There are plenty of video and reel-making apps available, and we’re not going to go into the step-by-step mechanics of how to make a reel. Rather, let’s talk about what makes for a good reel or video content, the things you should keep in mind.
The best reels are memorable because they contain educational, inspirational or entertaining messages, or some creative combination of all three. This is why you might see someone dance while teaching you about mental health, role playing while motivating you to practice self-care, or prank complete strangers seemingly for no reason at all.
It may seem like, by any means necessary, creators of video content on social media are trying to get you to do one thing with their posts – engage. That’s because they are! Reels should make you want to add your commentary, tag a friend, share the content to your story so that your own audience can see it as well, save it for later (recipes are great for this!), or at the very least, like the video to let the creator know you saw it and are encouraging them to keep creating content that you enjoy.
All that is well and good, but how do I make a good reel? Good question, and I’ll break that down for you here. There are some fantastic Muslim women on IG creating some great reels. I encourage you to check out Bellekissu or Speakpureislam for some great reels. I personally have made some pretty popular reels on my Instagram page but have only gone viral a couple times. However, I’m not motivated by the potential to go viral, but I am motivated by the ability to spread a message. So let’s start there.
Step 1: What’s your message?
Decide on what you’d like your content to convey. Are you presenting a recipe of how you cook a delicious ingredient? Showing the world how beautiful your vacation spot is? Whatever your message, make sure it’s clear. Take, for example, this reel I created for the Haute Hijab #LikeYouMeanItHH campaign last December: It sends a strong message that inspires others to set their intentions for wearing hijab in 2022 by relaying my own hijab intentions for 2022
By transitioning to different hijabs according to the beat of the trending sound while also captioning my intentions in a way that was slow enough to read each word, it made for a beautiful reel that shared an important message, inspired others, and thus became a memorable reel with high engagement.
Step 2: What’s your sound?
Take some time to scroll through your Explore page and watch other creators’ reels to get some sound inspiration. The reason why I say “sound” is because the audio that you use may be your own voice, a clip of music, someone else’s voice, or a combination of voice and music. If you come across a sound that seems like something you’d be up for using, save it! When you’re ready to make your Reel, you can easily search through your saved sounds to convey your message.
Sometimes, finding the right sound may be your Step One. This might mean that you’ve been thinking of trying to convey a message, and you bumped into just the right sound for the job, or that you heard a sound first and it inspired you to convey a message. Just make sure that your message and your sound align in your content.
Reels oftentimes have a point of view (POV) – a spin on the sound from that person’s perspective based on the message they’re trying to convey. Because people have so many different lifestyles, one sound can have thousands of points of view. That’s why you’ll often see – when a particular sound is trending – the sound applied to a variety of reels that are probably different from each other.
One popular reel that I created for HH that is a perfect example of harnessing excellent sound use is this entertaining (but also informative one) I posted to announce the release of HH’s Pavé Crystal Hijab Magnets. People found the combination of sound, my acting, and my POV to be pretty entertaining, and it has garnered almost 50k views!
Step 3: What is your mood?
This one is surprisingly very important. Instagram is all about aesthetics, and people love to see videos that draw them into the mood of your corner of the internet. If the mood on your page is dark and aloof, you can most likely post a reel with a dark filter on a nature scene with a simple text overlay, and it will perform well. If the mood on your page is funny and comedic, your reels that make people comment laughing emojis will be your best ones.
This reel that I posted about the new summer colors from the HH woven collection is very much my account’s mood. I post vibrant content, I smile a lot on my page, and I’m a mother who posts content that’s entertaining for moms but is also kid-friendly. My page is full of color, joy and fashion. So when I took my kids cherry-picking at the farm, I decided to bring all my new HH summer Wovens with me, changed a few times and got some cute clips in each color to splice together. I edited the clips to transition with the beat of the song, and the message was clear – these colors are perfect for a summer day.
Step 4: Can this be shorter?
Okay, this final step is going to be the part that drives you crazy. You got about 15 minutes of footage, and now you have to edit it down to 60 seconds. Well, less if you really want high views. It’s annoying, but a seven second reel (meaning, the shorter the better) that conveys a message, has an addictive sound, and aligns with the mood of your page will most likely perform better on your page.
So, it’s worth the 15 minutes of footage you end up deleting from your phone. No one is really watching long-form content anymore on Instagram – that’s just the facts. So, even if you have to scrap the sound you were going to use for a different sound or condense your message to just the best parts, do it for the ‘gram.
Take for example this reel:
I spent an entire day prepping, filming and testing HH’s Silk-Blend Satin Underscarves when they were released to see if they would still create oil stains on my chiffon hijabs. I filmed clips throughout the day. In editing the reel, I had to speed up parts where I was talking, take out entire parts that were not necessary to the message, and I used some gifs to relay the fact that time was passing. By about 15 seconds into the reel, you get the point - no oil was soaking through. That’s all people want to know.
Chatting is really for IG lives, so package your reel content in a concise little box and deliver it to your audience for them to enjoy.
I hope this really helped anyone confused on how to make great reels. And hey, I’m no expert, but these are tips that have definitely worked for me.
If any of these tips helped or if you have any tips on how to create a great reel, share with the rest of us in the comments!
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