Tonje Lilleås

3 tips on how to make better Instagram Reels

Instagram reels has gained traction since it launched, and is the best way to reach new audiences on the platform today. But if you want people to see and engage with your reel, it isn’t as simple as shooting 15 seconds of video, slap on some random music and post. Today I give you 3 tips on how to make better Instagram Reels.

Are you new to Instagram Reels? Please check out my guide for making cinematic reels!

1. Authenticity is key

Just like with Instagram stories, the people watching Instagram reels are engaging with authentic posts that stand out. You could choose to jump on a trend, and for many that will be a way to organic growth. But the way I see it, you don’t want growth because you’ve followed some trend that really isn’t your type of content.

Let’s say someone finds your profile through a travel type reel you’ve made, for instance a “What I really mean when I say I live in…” post. Well, that’s all good if you’re making travel content right? However if you’re really sharing mostly portraiture or cooking tutorials it doesn’t really make sense. The followers you gain from a reel like that will most likely unfollow rather quickly.

What you want is to make authentic content that you enjoy making and sharing over time. Authenticity is key to making better Instagram reels. To stand out among the millions of creators out there, you have one thing that is unique; you. Instagram Reels is a place to show personality. If you do that, the followers you do gain will most likely stick with you. And you will enjoy the creative process way more creating something that is authentically you.

2. Make sure to bring value

This is a tip that’s true for all content creation. However many misunderstand and think that the only way to bring value is through tutorials. By all means; educational reels can be a great way to stand out. You definitely should consider some of your reels to be educational. But you don’t have to educate to bring value.

Inspiring, motivating, educating, entertaining. As long as your reel can be described as one or the other, you are bringing value. I think most content creators should have a mix, and I’m working on getting some tutorials in the mix in my reels grid.

3. Edit with purpose

Even though a reel is only 30 seconds maximum, you have to make the edit purposeful. I rarely stick with reels consisting of only one long clip. Unless it is a very well performed one take shot where the camera movement itself is mesmerizing.

When editing my latest reel I actually made a storyboard first. Then from the storyboard a very detailed shotlist. I thought a lot about pacing. Not only to suite the music, but also to be right for the story I wanted to tell. And the story you want to tell should be the main thing you think about while making a purposeful edit.

If you’d like some tips on how to better tell a story in just a few seconds, please check out the post I made for Canon Nordics 15 second film festival.

Practice makes perfect

As with anything else you want to get better at; practice makes perfect. If you want to make better Instagram reels, you have to make a lot of them. Try to challenge yourself to make one new reel every day for a week at first, that would be a great kickstart.

I find it difficult to prioritize time to create enough to see quick development of my skills myself, as I have a job, house and family I need and want to take care of. However there’s always time to practice parts of the process. Like sketching ideas or making storyboards and shot lists. That way when I have the time to shoot, I can focus on that part of creating. I find the result is better reels when I make them, because I don’t have to just throw together something for the heck of it.

I hope you enjoyed these tips on how to make better Instagram reels! If you did, please consider subscribing to my blog, it would really make me happy. I’m also launching a new monthly newsletter, so I’d love it if you signed up for that. It will among other things offer a BTS look at how I create, as well as free cheat sheets, wallpapers and presets.

Oh, and don’t forget to head on over to my Instagram to check out my latest posts and reels! I’m posting my next reel tomorrow, so if you’ll give me a follow you won’t miss it. And remember; there’s always more to explore locally!





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