How to use Instagram Reels

The question you should be asking isn’t will you use Instagram Reels in your wedding business, but when.

I know, I know, it feels like every time you wake up in the morning there’s a new social media ‘thing’ you have to add to your list.

There’s Facebook Pages, Groups, Lives, Instagram Feed, Instagram Stories, IGTV, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok…and now we have Reels.

When will it stop?

Trust me I feel your pain. And I know from speaking to lots of wedding pros globally that not many of you are using reels yet.

Why?

Because you just aren’t sure what it is. What the difference is between Reels and Stories. Where IGTV fits into it all. Or how on earth you actually get started.

Well today, I’m going to break that down for you.

What’s the difference between Reels and Stories?

So first up we need to tackle the difference between two of Instagram’s own features because I think this is where a lot of the confusion lies.

The biggest difference between the two is that Stories disappears after 24 hours. Yes, you can save them to your Stories highlights afterwards but nobody really watches highlights. Reels on the other hand have their own spot on your profile and are there permanently, or until you delete them.

I want you to think of Reels as a micro commercial for your wedding business.

Stories are something you do in the moment. They’re not particularly produced, they show a behind-the-scenes view of your life, the bits you want to show, and you mix it up with personal and business.

So on Stories I share things about my life in France, my gorgeous border collie Lottie, my love of drinking bubbles in the hot tub and how my hubby cooks me gorgeous meals.

Now I’m not going to share that stuff on Reels. Why? Because as fun as that is it doesn’t tell people anything about my business.

Reels is your opportunity to create your own TV commercial. It sits on your profile, as I said, right next to your grid, IGTV if you use it and your tagged pictures.

Instagram Reels for Wedding Planners

Secondly, and very importantly, you can’t edit an Instagram Story within the app. You can upload a video and add some music, but you can’t actually add text, move text, add voice overlays or handwaves directly into your video. You can add gifs, polls questions etc. but you can’t edit the actual video.

With Reels you’re getting a mini editing platform complete with audio, effects, speed and timer. Now that might sound daunting, but I promise it’s not.

What Reels is doing is giving you, the amateur videographer, an opportunity to create video for your business on a platform where you get exposure.

How long are Reels versus Stories and IGTV?

So next up we need to look at the timing of everything. So currently, on Reels you can record up to 30 seconds. It started at 15 seconds, but they’ve now upped it to 30.

At the time of writing this post Instagram isn’t playing nicely and some accounts don’t have access to this or the music feature. There is no obvious reason as to why and no workaround yet either.

On Instagram Stories you can upload a video of up to 60 seconds which Instagram will then splice into 4 videos of 15 seconds each.

IGTV on the other hand is anything over 60 seconds in length. This is where you create video series and dive into mini tutorials and that type of thing.

What should I spend my time on?

In all honesty, like everything I talk about, this comes down to your ideal client. What do they consume? Where do they spend their time?

If your clients are spending large amounts of time on TikTok then that’s where you should be. But if they’re filling their time watching Stories and flicking through Instagram for inspiration then that’s where you want to do be.

The big thing to remember here is that right now Reels is still the new kid on the block, so Instagram is rewarding those jumping on it. The algorithm loves Reels.

At the moment Instagram wants to showcase Reels so users start to embrace them. This means the algorithm is favouring Reels.

Like with any other platform early adopters get rewarded. And as I said at the start, not many wedding pros are using it so it’s an opportunity.

What should you post on Reels?

What to create is the thing that stops most people. So I want to give you an easy way to think about this. Your Reels need to do one of three things:

  • Educate
  • Entertain
  • Inspire

Like I said earlier Reels are the equivalent of a 30 second TV Commercial and you need to get people’s attention with them.

So let’s take these one by one.

Educate

One of the things Reels is perfect for is quick and easy tips. This showcases you as an expert but can be fun and helpful at the same time.

This is where your blog posts come in handy. Let’s say you have a blog post called ‘5 Steps to Securing Your Perfect Wedding Venue’. This could be broken down really easily into a Reel. I’ll show you how in a minute.

Entertain

Sometimes you have to be willing to make an idiot of yourself. People love to be entertained on social media. There’s a reason we love watching silly YouTube videos of people doing ridiculous things.

Reels is a chance to use this to your advantage to showcase your personality. But it still has to relate to your business.

Now it’s no secret that I love musicals, so I used a song from the Sound of Music to talk about what I do for my clients. I used a clip from ‘I have confidence’ and lip synched. Did I feel silly? YES! Did it get over 1K views in less than 24 hours. YES IT DID.


Inspire

Use Reels as an opportunity to inspire your audience about what you do. You’re in the wedding industry so talk about it. What’s it like to be a wedding planner, floral designer, wedding photographer, makeup artist, cake maker etc.? Inspire people about what you do and get them to visualise you being a part of their wedding.

You could do ‘A Day in the Life of a Wedding Planner’ or ‘Getting Ready for the Flower Market’ or ‘How I edit your Wedding Photos’. This list is endless.

Storyboard out your Reels

Ok so hear me out here. I never said Reels were going to be quick, but I did say they could be effective. Like anything you create for your business you need to put thought behind it.

Whenever I create a video for my business of any type I storyboard it out, just like I would with the design of a wedding.

So let’s take the first idea using the blog post. Now you have two options with Reels they can either be 15 seconds or 30 seconds. When you’re first starting out I suggest going with 15 seconds as 30 is actually quite a lot of work.

So first things first. Break your content down into 3 second shots as part of your storyboard.

It might look something like this:

  • First clip – quick intro to the topic. This could be you smiling directly into the camera and nothing more because you can add in the text afterwards at editing stage
  • Second clip – Tip 1. Check the Fine Print. This could be you stood looking at a piece of paper, that looks like it could be a contract. You’ll add in the text with the tip in later.
  • Third clip – Tip 2. Know the Costs. Perhaps you could look directly into the camera counting off on your fingers, so it looks like you’re calculating costs. Maybe you could use a calculator as a prop. Again, you’ll add in the text with the tip later. In fact, you’ll do that with all of these so I won’t keep repeating myself.
  • Fourth clip – Tip 3. What’s the Capacity? Maybe here you could look directly into the camera with an expression that is questioning and then at editing stage add in a gif of people along with the text.
  • Fifth Clip – Tip 4. Visit your venue. This could be you holding a clipboard ticking things off
  • Sixth Clip – Tip 5. Take lots of photos. Either use a camera or your phone as a prop.

See how easy it is when you storyboard out your clips? It makes filming your content so much easier.

Filming your Reels

The best bit about Reels is you don’t need to speak on camera if you don’t want too. Depending on the type of Reel you’re doing you can simply choose some music, stand in front of the camera and point in different places. I’m sure you’ve seen those types of Reels before.

Using the example of the wedding venue you’re going to be using 6 shots of 3 seconds each in length. So you need to decide where you want to film each one. It might be that you’re stood in front of the camera for each one but you bring in different props for each shot.

Whatever you decide to do you are literally filming these on your smartphone. If you don’t have a stand for your phone you might need to get someone to film for you. I use my RING LIGHT because it helps with lighting and holds my phone for me.

Ring Light for Instagram Reels

As part of the storyboarding process you’ll have decided where you’re shooting each 3 second shot so it’s case of setting up the shot and just doing it.

Filming Steps

  1. Chose the length of the Reel. Are you going for 15 or 30 seconds?
  2. Choose your music. It’s always easier to do this first so you can have it playing through each shot. Once you’ve chosen your music you can decide which part of the song you want to play by dragging the soundwave backwards and forwards.
  3. Set the timer for your first 3 second clip. The cool thing about this is that each time you shoot it deducts that time off the final 15 or 30 seconds. However, you need to shoot each clip in order otherwise it will be out of synch.
  4. Set up your first shot. Make sure you have good lighting and you know what you’re going to say.
  5. Hit record. That’s the little clapperboard icon at the bottom of the screen in the middle. It will give you either a 3 or 10 second countdown, you can choose which, and then you film your 3 second shot.
  6. Trim, delete or save your clip. Once your 3 seconds is up you can choose to bin it and start again, trim it or save it and move onto the next clip.
  7. Now it’s time to edit. This is where the fun part begins. Once you’ve shot your 6 x 3 second clips you can add in text so it appears exactly where and when you want it to within your video. You can also draw and add gifs as you would in Stories, but again you choose at what point in the video you want them to appear.
  8. Publish or save to Drafts. You have the option to publish straight away or save to drafts. You’ll find your drafts in the Reels tab on your profile. I like to batch my content so I created 4 Reels and saved 3 of them to drafts to publish at a later date.

Hitting Publish

So once you’ve created your masterpiece you’re going to want to get it out there. Once you’re happy with your editing you just click the white arrow icon in the bottom right hand corner. You can then write a caption letting people know what your Reel is all about. Remember to use some hashtags to help you get found. You can also choose the cover for your Reel by creating one in something like Canva or choosing a frame from the Reel itself.

When you’re happy with the cover and caption it’s time to hit the Share button. Remember though, if you want to get found you need to share it to Reels first so it appears in Reels Explore. It will automatically save it to the Reels tab on your profile if you do this. You can then choose to share it to your Stories at a later date.

I don’t recommend sharing to Stories first as it won’t show up in Reels.

So now it’s your turn. I’m all about taking action so rather than just reading this and thinking ‘I’ll do this another day’, I want you to come up with an idea for your first Reel. But don’t stop there. I want you to:

  1. Brainstorm your Reel idea
  2. Storyboard it out
  3. Shoot your clips
  4. Post to Reels
  5. DM me with your Reel @kyliecarlson.co

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT HOW TO CREATE GREAT VIDEOS THEN YOU’LL LOVE THIS >>>

And don’t forget to pin this infographic on Pinterest.