How To Create Engaging Reels: Creative Tips for Great Videos

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 21, 2024

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We’re all a little guilty of scrolling through Instagram Reels for hours. We get caught up in videos that make us laugh, cry, and reflect on life—and we love it. But it’s only when you see especially impactful Reels that you stop mindlessly scrolling and leave a like or comment. Making Reels like those that command both attention and interaction is an art every content creator wants to master. So today, we’re going to teach you how to create engaging Reels.

There are many easy ways to engage your audience on Instagram. You can spark conversation with them through your Story posts or publish polls to hear feedback from them. But if you want to engage your followers with short-form video content, even more creative juices need to flow.

Do you want to elevate your Reel game? Keep reading this blog post for content strategy tips and creative tools to engage your fans with bite-sized video clips.

Someone filming a video of a man using a phone while his friends are laughing behind him.

Instagram Reels Statistics Show They’re More Engaging Than Other Formats

Fun fact: recent Instagram Reels statistics show that short-form videos are more engaging than any other type of content.

According to Social Insider, these video clips are significantly more engaging than photos and carousel posts on the feed. The average engagement rate of Reels is 1.23%. Meanwhile, the average rate for images and carousel posts is 0.72% and 1.02%, respectively.

And it’s not just against photos and carousels that Reels perform better. These bite-sized videos also fare better than long-form videos that people post on the feed. In an experiment by Billion Dollar Boy in 2020, Reels indicated a higher average engagement rate than regular feed videos. In that study, Reels got an average rate of 2.7%, while that of main feed videos sat at just 2.2%.

There are many reasons why Reels are the golden child of Instagram content formats, at least where engagement is concerned. One is that they’re quick and easy to consume, so it can get super addictive to watch them throughout the day.

But it has also become arguably the most versatile content format on the platform. Users typically post aesthetic content and life milestones on the feed. But on Reels, the possibilities are endless. People use it to post funny skits, heartwarming stories, life advice, practical tutorials, and more. Whatever your interests are, there are Reels that will resonate with you and get you to engage.

It may seem that Reels are inherently more engaging than other content formats. While that might be true, it doesn’t mean that creating engaging Reels is effortless. On the contrary, content creators work extra hard to ensure that their short-form videos stand out and drive positive interactions.

How To Create Engaging Reels: Our Top 5 Tips

The idea of creating engaging social media content is intimidating for some because it’s so different from brand awareness posts. Aside from making high-quality, aesthetic content to show off your brand, you also have to spark conversations and likes.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help you master the art of making exciting video content your followers will want to interact with. Here’s how to make engaging Reels on Instagram with five tried-and-tested tips.

1. Publish Them at the Best Time To Post on Instagram Reels for Your Audience

No one’s going to engage with your Reels if you post them when your followers are offline. If you want lots of likes and comments on videos, determine the best time to post on Instagram Reels. To do that, head on over to Instagram Insights and check your followers’ most active times of the day.

Not only does posting when your followers are active boost visibility for your Reel, but It also increases your chances of getting lots of engagement. And when the algorithm detects that plenty of users are engaging with your Reel, it prioritizes it on the feed. This leads to even more views and, consequently, interactions like likes, comments, and shares.

Someone adjusting and looking at the watch on his wrist.

2. Create User-Generated Content Featuring Trendy Brands

Another way to boost engagement in your Reels is by featuring trendy labels and brands relevant to your target audience. Show off your fave dresses from fashion brands, tech products for work, and even food brands for your daily recipes. If people recognize the products you use as those from their fave brands, they might interact with your post.

But here’s the crucial part—tag the brands you mention and feature in your Reels. Many brands will repost user-generated content that puts their products in the limelight. This exposes your Reel to a wider audience, boosting its chances of getting more interactions.

This is also a great strategy if your goal is to get brands to notice you. If they like your user-generated content, it’s not impossible for them to tap you for future influencer marketing campaigns.

A female content creator recording a video of herself talking about a makeup palette.

3. Use Niche-Related Hashtags for Reels To Boost Visibility

Adding hashtags for Reels in your caption helps increase your video’s visibility on the platform. By using tags relevant to your niche, it will start to show up on your target audience’s Explore pages.

This ensures that the people who see your Reel are those who find your niche interesting in the first place. That way, the chances of them liking and commenting on your video are higher. It’s an easy yet strategic way to reach a specific audience or community without paying for targeted ads.

A letterboard with the hashtag #Music on it on a computer desk.

4. Write Compelling Captions That Encourage Likes and Comments

It’s a strong visual start in your Reel that will catch people’s attention when they come across it. But what will get them to stay and dwell longer on your video is an interesting, captivating caption.

Take the time to write a relevant, compelling caption that people will be interested in reading until the last line. It can be anything from a personal anecdote to a list of tips and tricks on a certain topic. If you want to drive plenty of comments, add a call-to-action or a question to your caption to spark conversation.

5. Join Instagram Challenges That Are Currently Going Viral

When users in the Instagram community find a challenge they love, they can’t get enough of it. They gobble it up and engage with any piece of content related to that challenge.

So, if you see an Instagram challenge that aligns with your niche, join it and post your “entry” on Reels. It can be anything from a dance challenge to a before-and-after transformation video. Don’t forget to use the challenge’s hashtag if it has one! This helps boost visibility for your Reel, speeding up the process of getting engagement on it.

By tapping into something trendy and viral, you’re practically assured of more interest in your Reel. This can result in more engagement than usual on your video post.

A man recording a video of himself taking on a game challenge with an elaborate set-up.

Content Ideas for Reels: Creative Inspo for Your Most Engaging Videos Yet

Are you stumped about what kind of Reels you should use to drive engagement from your target audience? We all have days when our creative juices won’t flow as much as we want. But we’re here to lend a hand. Here are some engaging and shareable content ideas for Reels to draw inspiration from:

  • Funny skits showcasing relatable moments focusing on dating and relationships or friendships.
  • Storytime videos where you spill the tea about ridiculous real-life situations.
  • Share your opinion on something and encourage a friendly debate in the comments.
  • How-to videos and hacks that give people ideas on how to live life more efficiently. This type of content fits well with niches like beauty, fashion, fitness, and home improvement.
  • Parodies of movies, songs, books, and other media.
  • Day-in-the-life videos of how you manage your time each day. This is especially effective if your followers seem to respond well to content focused on career and productivity.
  • If you’re a food influencer, try making seasonal food recipe videos. This includes indulgent grub during the Superbowl season or festive snacks and hearty dishes for the holidays.
  • Easy workout programs for fitness lovers to follow. Users might save these videos to go back to later when it’s time for them to exercise.
  • Travel guides that show the best places to visit in a specific city or country.
  • “Expectations vs reality” videos.

A woman recording a video of herself preparing food in the kitchen.

5 Trendy Instagram Reels Editing Tips To Spruce Up Your Videos

Creative ideas are important for successful, engaging Instagram Reels. But they only do so much. What’s more crucial is how you edit Reels to execute your ideas effectively and make the impact you want.

The way you edit your Reel is what makes or breaks its storytelling and visual appeal. Knowing how to edit every piece of content well is key to engaging your audience through Reels.

Are you not confident in your editing skills just yet? We’ve got you. Here are some Reels editing tips that will transform your videos from plain and boring to exciting, stimulating, and engaging.

1. Insert Trendy Instagram Reels Music

Using popular Instagram Reels music in your videos instantly makes them timelier and more relevant to those who see them. It also sets the mood for your Reel, adding to its brilliance of storytelling.

Are you not sure what songs people respond to well? Check out what songs are at the top of the music charts. Current viral Instagram songs like “Blue Monday” by New Order or “Magnetic” by ILLIT might get you extra engagement!

Oh, and don’t forget to make sure the timing of your Reel’s background music aligns with your video clips. This makes for a more seamless and entertaining viewing experience, which can potentially boost replays and engagement.

A woman looking at her phone while listening to music with her earphones.

2. Use Fun Transitions for a Dynamic Viewing Experience

Editing your Reels using transitions adds a certain pizzazz to your video content. Whether it’s fade-outs, swipe-ups, or other twists and turns with your camera, transitions make video clip cuts look more seamless. They make videos feel a bit more cinematic without being overly high-brow or using advanced creative tools and equipment.

One popular transition style for short-form video today is the subject pretending to swipe the screen with their hand. Then, the next clip shows a completely different scene. It’s awesome for videos showing different outfits, must-see spots when traveling, and more.

3. Inject Humor by Using an AR Face Filter

Augmented reality (AR) filters can make any Reel more entertaining. These filters can change the way your face looks or perhaps add extra 3D elements to your environment. Most of the time, using filters like these makes for a funny video post.

One AR filter type common in today’s Reels is gamified Reels. People turn on the filter, try to play a unique game and film themselves trying to get a high score. There’s everything from trivia games to moving your face muscles to get a character to complete a mission. It’s silly, entertaining, and heaps of fun to watch!

4. Get Creative With a Green Screen

Elevate the background of your Reels by experimenting with a green screen, also known as a chroma key. The idea is simple—film a video against a green screen. Then, replace the green areas with whatever background video or photo you want. There are many different apps and creative tools that allow you to edit videos with this feature easily.

Many users use green screens to create a realistic-looking setting for their parodies and skit videos. It’s like transporting yourself to different places, depending on the scene!

People also use green screens for reaction videos. They show a photo or video in the background as they react and give their two cents about it. It’s much more engaging than merely posting a photo and writing your reaction in a caption.

A man wearing sunglasses and a hat standing in front of a green screen.

5. Add Text Overlay to Your Video Clips

If your Reel is information-heavy or has a voiceover, consider adding text overlays to it. Text overlays refer to captions or “subtitles” on the video itself. Having these captions makes longer, denser Reels easier to absorb, boosting their engagement. It also helps when people scroll through videos in public and can’t listen to your Reel’s voiceover at full volume.

Text overlays are also excellent for setting the scene for a skit or funny video. Instead of explaining the context in the video’s caption, text overlay at the video’s beginning can do the trick.

Expose Your Reels to a Wider Audience by Growing Your IG Page

When trying to create engaging Instagram Reels, focus on the quality and relevance of your video. Leverage trends, write interesting captions, and use hashtags to boost reach. And, of course, show off your editing skills to create the most dynamic and seamless Reels!

Now that you know how to create engaging Reels, it’s time to focus on getting people to see them. The key to getting more views on your Reels is growing your audience.

Path Social can help boost your following and push out your short-form videos to a wider audience. We use AI to find the best audience for your brand and promote your page and content to them. You’ll gain more authentic followers that will happily devour your Reels. Not only do you grow your community, but you drive engagement for your videos, too. Gain more followers and grow on Instagram today!