Move over TikTok, Instagram Reels are here—and they’re looking to make a splash.
Launched in late-2019, Instagram’s answer to TikTok has received mixed responses from creators, influencers, and brands. But big name businesses such as Sephora, Walmart, and Beardbrand are already on board.
What does this mean for you? Instagram Reels is another great way for your brand to increase engagement and awareness on an already popular network. By creating Reels now, you have an opportunity to take advantage of its potential early.
We want to help. Below are some of the best Instagram Reels ideas to help jump start the creative process.
Tip: Instagram Reels are still pretty new on the scene. Make sure you know exactly how they work with our article Everything You Need to Know About Instagram Reels
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.
10 Instagram Reels ideas to boost engagement
Here are just a few Instagram Reels ideas to help you get started. Feel free to get creative and make them unique to you and your brand.
Also, if you come up with some new ones, leave a comment below and we might add it to the list!
Create a how-to (bonus points if it’s oddly satisfying)
How-to videos are the tried-and-true method of generating engaging content. And Instagram Reels are a perfect place to implement them.
Here’s a great example of a creator showing us how to level up our ramen game:
Here’s another great example now from a creator who shows viewers how sunflower seeds are harvested:
Not only is it informative, it’s also oddly satisfying in a way that draws in tons of viewers.
Think about how your brand can create an educational how-to for your audience as well.
Go behind the scenes
This is a close cousin of the how-to Reel. One great way to engage your audience is by showing them what goes on in your business behind the scenes.
This both humanizes your brand while giving your audience an interesting look at how you create a product or provide a service.
Show an animal doing literally anything
It’s no secret the Internet loves cats and dogs. After all, what’s not to love?
A perfect way to capitalize on this is by showcasing a cat or dog doing literally anything. Seriously, they don’t have to do a lot, and people will eat. It. Up.
Have an office dog who always begs for food when you eat lunch? That’s a reel. Have a cat that always jumps on your back while you’re filming yoga tutorials? That’s a reel.
Here’s an example of one daring feline who’s not afraid to get her paws wet:
Tip: Involve an adorable baby somehow and you have the ingredients for a fantastic Instagram Reel.
This is a perfect opportunity to show off your office pets too! And don’t they deserve a little bit of love from the Internet?
Do a prank
Prank videos get a bad rap—and for good reason. The cruel ones are mean and nobody really enjoys them.
However, there’s nothing wrong with a harmless prank. In fact, not only is it a good way to have some fun with those around you, but your audience might find it funny as well.
Here’s a good one of a friend giving his buddy a hard time:
Warning: Do not perform the prank if it’s malicious and cruel! It might elicit the opposite effect. Nothing is more embarrassing than screaming, “It’s just a prank, bro!” as you get your butt kicked six ways to Sunday because of a prank gone wrong.
Enhance the FOMO
FOMO stands for “fear of missing out,” and it’s a powerful way to get your viewers watching and liking your videos.
And you can enhance people’s FOMO in a lot of ways. For example, you can show off some unique (and delicious) eating experiences:
Or you can take them to new and exotic locations (as long as it doesn’t involve you breaking any local COVID-19 restrictions):
Think about the ways that you can do the same with your Instagram Reel. Does your business require you to travel a lot? Maybe you’re able to go to a lot of cool museums or buildings? Or maybe you’re able to meet some big name, famous people who you can include in your Reel?
Show off your talents
Instagram Reels and TikToks are filled with niche accounts where people are able to show off their incredibly unique and specific talents and interests. And you can do the same!
They typically showcase a work in progress. For example, there’s this creator painting a portrait:
Or this creator drawing strangers on the subway:
It certainly doesn’t have to be art either. Here’s a creator who has some crazy good gymnastics skills:
Maybe there’s somebody in your office with a cool talent you could show off. It’s another great way to humanize your brand while providing engaging content along the way.
Hit the slow mo
Like TikTok, Instagram Reels gives you the option of choosing your video’s speed setting. It ranges from slow (.3x speed) to fast (3x speed).
Oftentimes, though, the most eye-catching videos are the ones that take advantage of the slow-mo feature. For example, here’s this creator showing off their crazy cool snowboarding skills:
This also offers a lot of opportunities to be creative too. Here’s a great example of that from a creator showing us what it would look like if humans could just fly everywhere:
Of course, this comes with a caveat: Not everything should be slowed down. Only do so when there’s something uniquely cool that can be enhanced when you slow it down.
One video trend that is all over Tik Tok and Instagram Reels are outfit changes set to music. Not only is it fun to watch, but it also gives you a chance to show off your amazing style.
These videos are also cut very cleverly as shown here from the University of Iowa’s Instagram Reel:
Notice how multiple people got involved in this one? Maybe it’s a good way to get your team involved in an Instagram Reel too!
(Disclaimer: We are not held responsible if your team resents you for making them do a bunch of outfit changes for a single Instagram Reel.)
Show the bloopers
Let’s be honest: Mistakes happen … a lot. This is especially true when you’re trying to record audio and/or video.
Instead of getting upset when those mistakes happen, embrace them! They can actually be great fodder for new Instagram Reels ideas.
Here’s a great example from a creator who showed us what happened when one video filming didn’t go according to plan:
The lesson here: Good content can be found everywhere—even in our “mistakes.”
TikTok and Instagram Reel dances are some of the most tried-and-true video ideas out there. It gives you an opportunity to jump on trends, and you get to show off your mad dance skills.
Here’s a great example:
Or this example from a creator from the Cree nation giving viewers a glimpse into his culture:
There are a ton of different viral dances you can do too. Spend some time going through both TikTok and Instagram to find some dances you can do.
And if they’re all too complicated or you can’t find one you like, just make one up! Who knows? You might be the one to start an entirely new Instagram Reel trend.
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