Instagram Reels Best Practices

Last updated: September 6, 2023

I just got off the phone with an Instagram representative at Meta.

She called me after I was selected to have a free consult within the app as part of their Instagram Creators program.

Here are all the best practices she shared with me on the call. These are my raw notes.

The Meta representative also sent me a PDF called “Reels Masterclass.” You can email me to [email protected] if you want it.

CONSISTENCY

  • Stick to a schedule: post your content on the same days and same times.
  • If you’re going to post daily: Choose a TIME to post every day, and stick to that.
  • If you’re going to post weekly: Choose a DAY and TIME, and stick to that
  • Doing this retrains the Instagram algorithm. When you post Reels on a regular schedule, it signals the algorithm that you are committed to providing valuable content and that could mean your content being showcased to a wider audience.
Pro tip: Once per day is maximum. She told me not post more than once per day because you probably cannot keep up with this cadence.

TRENDING AUDIO

I was surprised to hear that using trending audio is recommended. I never use it now, but I guess I should!

Follow me on Instagram here to see my Reels now.

  • Use Less-But-Popular Audio: You can also use an audio track with a lower usage count.
  • Finding a good one: Explore the Instagram Reels Audio Library or hashtags and look for usage counts around 10k or less. These are likely to be less “saturated” and allow more visibility to your content.

But what to do about my Reels which have narration? Almost all of my Reels have me narrating a story.

“You can still add Trending Audio. Just adjust the volume of the trending audio that you added. Drag the volume slider down to as low as 5% to 10% or even to 1%.”

HASHTAGS

I have no good hashtag strategy. Before this call, I was using 3-5 hashtags on each post, and often picking the most popular hashtags that I could find.

  • Avoid Popular Hashtags: Refrain from using hashtags with high counts such as those over 1 million. Your post will get lost.
  • Limit the use of hashtags: You can use a combination of  3-8 specific hashtags with counts around 500k, 100K, 50K, or 10K.
  • Researching Hashtags: There is no good tool for researching hashtags, however look at other creators within your niche — see what they’re using.

CREATIVE TOOLS

Now I’m using CapCut for all of my editing. But based on the advice from the Meta rep, I’ll try adding captions within the Instagram app on my next few Reels.

  • It is best to do editing within the Instagram App whenever possible.
  • Instagram is going to get better Reels editing features soon. TBD.
  • The use of in-app tools and features can enhance distribution and reach. The algorithm will prioritize posts that make more use of their internal editing tools.
  • Check out the Reels Masterclass: this can help you learn about creating effective Reels content.

Pro tip: Don’t use watermarks EVER from on your videos. These come when you export videos from TikTok and YouTube. The Instagram algorithm picks those watermarks up and then deprioritizes your video.

LENGTH

Not much here: She just said to make short, snappy content under 30 seconds.

“That is probably best to catch the attention span of viewers. But experiment with it and you could try some longer ones, too.”

The maximum length of Instagram Reels is 90 seconds.

COMMENTS

  • Monitor comments within the first hour after posting.
  • Check your post every 15 minutes to stay on top of incoming comments.
  • Like the comments: it shows appreciation to your viewers/ audience.
  • Reply to the comments: not only do you acknowledge your viewers, but it will also foster engagement.

REPUBLISH

Is this allowed? I had to ask: and I’m happy to hear it is not only allowed, but encouraged.

  • You can republish your best videos to Reels.
  • You will not be penalized for this.
  • Try to do it perhaps every 3-6 months .

CALLS TO ACTION (CTAs)

My most recent viral video said: “Share this to a friend!” Should I do that in all my videos?

  • CTAs are OK to do on Instagram Reels. They don’t penalize you…
  • UNLESS you try to get people to leave the Instagram app with your CTA.
  • DO NOT try to get people to leave the Instagram app.
  • Bad CTA examples: Go sign up for my newsletter! Go follow me on YouTube!
  • Good CTA examples: Send this to a friend! Share this to your story! Follow me!

CONCLUSION

Thanks to Meta’s Media & Community Partnerships department for selecting me for a call and giving me this advice.

Follow me on Instagram here to see my Reels now.

Here are some of the best tips they gave me:

  • Consistency is key
  • Use trending audio
  • Use not-saturated but popular hashtags
  • Try using their in-app tools more, especially for captions
  • Reply and like comments within the first 1 hour

The Meta representative also sent me a PDF called “Reels Masterclass.” You can email me to [email protected] if you want it.

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