Social Media Marketing Tips

How to Create Engaging Instagram Reels

April 12, 2024

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We’ve all lost track, scrolling the vortex that is Instagram reels. They’re just short little videos, so learning how to create engaging Instagram reels that catches your audience’s attention should be easy, right?

Well, that’s not always the case…

Raise your hand if you’ve ever put time, effort, and energy into a reel only to have 40 people watch it (and one of those views is your mom).

We’ve all been there, believe me. Keep reading to see what I tell my clients when they want to know how to create engaging Instagram reels.

How to create engaging instagram reels

Even if you have an idea for what you want to film, it’s always good to do a little research beforehand.

Scroll your feed for a few minutes and see what reels are trending. Is there a popular sound or song you can use? Do you see a cool transition from one clip to the next you’d like to try? Have fun seeing what other people create and pull inspiration from it if you can!

We want your reel to immediately catch your audience’s attention, so don’t introduce yourself or start off with, “Hey guys” or “Happy Monday.”


If you want your followers to stop scrolling, you need to make them curious or give them some sort of value in the first few seconds.

Hooks like the following can be effective:

“Don’t let ___ happen to you”

“I never expected this to happen…”

“A customer just asked me, ___.”

“Is it possible to __?”

If you’re a wedding planner, you might open with, “There’s a new trend I see at weddings that every bride is requesting now. Here’s why I love it.”

If you’re a photographer, try something like, “Don’t know how to pose for family pictures? I’m a photographer, and here are my five favorite tips.”

Or maybe you’re a boutique, so you could post, “Need ideas for what to wear at Thanksgiving? Try this.”

Pay attention to your body language and overall approach

I get it if you’re more of a behind-the-scenes person, but it’s been proven that people are more likely to trust and buy from your business if they see your face and connect with you.

How does this sound?  You create one piece of content. You then repurpose it, making over TEN more pieces of content you can use on social media–and it only took you a few short minutes to do it all. Click here to know how you can do it, too!

  1. Loosely plan out what you’re going to say/do. I don’t recommend having a script or rigorously planning out your video because it will sound staged, but it does help to have rough guidelines.
  • Uncross your arms and your feet so you don’t look uncomfortable and closed off. You want your body language to feel welcoming and comfortable.
  • If you’re talking in your reel, don’t mumble. As someone who mumbles a lot, I have to remind myself to speak up and project. Fake it ‘til you make it, right?
  • Bonus for talking reels: Right before you say the first word, step towards the camera. It shows you’re comfortable and excited about what you’re going to say.

How do you keep your audience’s attention in an Instagram reel?

We’ve already talked about catching your audience’s attention in the first few seconds of the reel. Well, how do you keep it?

If you’re providing good value or entertainment, that helps and is great, but you also have to focus on your delivery as well.

1. Eliminate unnecessary words and dead space. Keep it short and simple. (You’re not trying to reach your count of 1,000 words for your English essay, so don’t add fluff.)

2. Change up the scenery. Instead of recording with a blank wall behind you, experiment with different locations. Film in your car, at an event, or with a friend.

3. Edit together several short clips rather than one long clip; it tends to be more effective. When you film shorter clips, your reel feels like it’s moving quickly and keeps your audience engaged.

4. Play around with transitions. I’m sure you’ve seen lots of reels where someone covers the camera or snaps and then their location immediately changes. Transitions make videos more fun to watch.

5. Add music. Earlier, I mentioned that you could do a little research before you make a reel to find trending songs. Adding music (especially if the song goes with the reel well) will help keep your followers watching.

Rather than panning around the room at an event, film clips of different people and at different angles and edit them together.

Instead of long voiceovers talking about your product and what it is, show it in action and how it makes a buyer’s life better.

If you have B-Roll of you editing pictures from a photography session, put timed words on the screen (these are words/sentences that change every few seconds).

Now that you have the scoop on how to make an engaging Instagram reel, go put it into action!

And sure to follow me on Instagram at @madelynvictoriaco. I’ll be sharing videos with even more examples and tips that help you stand out on social media.

What Instagram reel tips do you have? Comment below!

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