The Guru’s Advice on Instagram Reels
Sometimes the stars just aline and you are graced with the presence of brilliance. On Friday, fellow VO coach Diana Birdsall and I were lucky to have the amazing voice actor and personal brand strategist Jonathan Tilley in our Clubhouse room. Many know Jonathan from both his courses League of List Builder at nd My Content Calendar, and if you don’t know Jonathan you should. He is both a generous soul who gives his best to help everyone he talks to and a creative genius. From voice actors to models to photographers, working creatives who know Mr. Tilley simply do better! Jonathan himself uses Instagram Reels and was able to book $12,000.00 in new business from one Reel, and if he can do it, so can we! So, if you missed our Clubhouse or if we covered so much you couldn’t get it all down, here are some of my notes on what was covered:
Why Did Instagram Shift to Reels?
We started our chat on this topic. If you think Reels are brand new, they aren’t. This shift actually came in the summer of 2020. The folks at Instagram saw how popular TikTok was. There used to be IGTV. As Reels came into the picture, that went away.
Some of the Best Features on Reels
Jonathan enlightened us to some features that take reels to another level. He loves the timer. The timer allows you to set the button and have 3-10 seconds to wait before filming starts. Jonathan suggests using the 10-second option so that you are tulle camera ready at the start. Next, Jonathan loves the speed settings. He talked about how using 2x can just add a little more energy to your reel. Jonathan also chatted about aligning and how taking the time to align your reels really takes them to the next level.
Should We Be Sharing Our Posts Across Platforms?
Put simply, no. Jonathan explains that just like you don’t go to Tokyo for croissants and to Paris for sushi, do not create your reels on TikTok simply because crossposting is an option. While he hates playing to the algorithm. The algorithm prefers content produced within the app.
What is the Difference Between Videos and Reels?
If you’re like me, you might be surprised to know that there are still BOTH videos and reels!! A reel is a sub-genre of a video. As mentioned before, IGTV, which was the YouTube of Instagram, is gone now. Videos are vertical. Reels do have certain characteristics:
- They use trending audio
- They are fast
- There is no introduction
- This is your chance to bring your own style/authenticity
One of our Clubhouse attendees, Jen Greenfield, made the insightful comment that current TV commercials are actually using both trending audio and dances from Reels, so being savvy to these nuances is important to understanding current advertising trends.
The Deal With Hashtags
I learned so much from Jonathan’s discussion about hashtags. He explained that early in 2021 we were allotted 30 hashtags. Then it changed to 8-15 in the Spring of 2021. Then, it shifted again! First, I had no idea that if you use a hashtag in your stories, it is only seen or reached by those who follow you, so it in no way increases your following. Next, in general, in your Reels, Jonathan suggests using three to five hashtags. He personally always includes his name amongst them. Beyond that, he said it is no longer necessary. I can share that in the 10 days that I have been posting reels, I have increased my reach by more than 400% and I am rarely using hashtags. As Jonathan says, it is more important to create good content.
Do You Need Full Makeup for Instagram Reels?
Jonathan said 50% of your Reels should be show stopping. For me, I am more likely to be show stopping when my hair and makeup is done than when I am in my gym clothes. He also emphasized that it is important to show up, have fun, and be yourself.
How Do We Keep Up With current Trends?
Jonathan said it is most important to learn the 5 steps to Reels. Finding and saving trending audio is essential. Aligning is key. Knowing how to edit your Reel matters. Post them from the app without stickers. Once you have mastered the 5 steps, play and have fun! Jonathan says find your own style. Consider creating a series.
Does the Position of Instagram Reels Matter?
The position matters very much. Jonathan says we all need to stop putting that camera way up above our heads. Whatever we think it is doing, it’s not doing that. Instead the phone needs to be parallel to the back wall and we really just need our head and shoulders. Jonathan also suggests that if you have good light by a window this is always wonderful.