It’s been no secret over the last year or two that Instagram would start heavily pushing video content, with Instagram Reels being the star of the show. Instagram is trying to keep up with the growing popularity of TikTok, which is now the most downloaded app in the world.
Instagram Reels are known for their short, engaging video clips which can show the viewer a quick fashion transition, a home DIY or a travel vlog.
I was quick to jump on the Instagram Reels trend when it initially came out in August 2020. I loved creating videos of all my DIYs and I saw my account grow quickly with some of my Reels getting over 1 million views.
We then moved house, so I struggled to come up with enough content to create Reels. I continually posted photos of my old house to keep my Instagram account ticking over, but I saw my follower count and engagement grind to a halt.
Instagram Reels are where it’s at baby! I have spoken to many people who say that their photos still do well and when I look at the photos in question, it’s normally because they really do stand out.
Photos of eclectically bright and colourful homes or carousels with useful information still produce a lot of engagement but Instagram reports that users do not want to see still images anymore. I beg to differ Mr Zuckerburg!
Let’s have a look at an example of my insights from a recent still shot (albeit in a carousel). The first insight screenshot is from a recent carousel post I did of 10 of my favourite images of our new home.
The second insight screenshot is from an Instagram Reel I did 2 weeks prior to the carousel post, which included pretty much the same images, but as a quick video slideshow.
Photos that used to get over 20k likes on my feed, are now getting around 4k. So that just goes to show how much the reach has dropped and that Instagram is no longer prioritising or pushing images.
However, you still love taking stills and looking at them. I get it! So what can we do about it?
You can see the vast difference in likes and engagement on the same image.
Create Instagram Reels out of still images
As I showed above, you don’t have to be all finger clicking, dancing and outfit changing to be successful at Instagram Reels. You can use still images to create a video. Most of my most successful Reels are still images, or a variation of it.
I see so many people say they don’t like Reels because they are too fast, or too jumpy. However, I rarely see these kinds of Reels on my Instagram Reels tab.
A lot of them are very calming with very little work. A moving picture of a window scene, a pretty view with the wind blowing through the trees or just a very slow scan of a room with the fire crackling.
The Reels that tend to do the best are ones that are under 8 seconds.
You’re going to set up the room, scene or take a photo of a view anyway. Just capture it in a 7 second video and upload. It really is as easy as that.
Don’t overthink it!
Create a video out of your most liked images
Another really simple way to create viral Instagram Reels is to create a short video out of your favourite images. I use InShot to upload all my images and then select the duration for each image. Try to use a maximum of 5 to 7 images and try to keep it to under 8 seconds long.
You can now pause Instagram Reels, so if people want to take the detail in a bit more, they can pause it and look.
I use the app InShot on my phone. I create a new video, upload the images I want to use and then select a duration for how long I want these images to “play”.
Use the “Use Template” feature on Instagram
Probably one of the most useful features Instagram has created to date, the “Use Template” feature is an amazing tool to quickly put together an Instagram Reel.
How do you use it? If you are looking for inspiration, this is amazing. Scroll through your Reels tab and find a Reel that has “Use Template” above the Reel info. Select this and then create your Reel in the template. Another really quick and easy way to make a Reel!
However, I have had quite a few people tell me that they haven’t got this option. I will never get Instagram. It is trying to compete with TikTok and says it’s a platform for content creators, but then doesn’t roll out all of its helpful and successful features to all creators?
This is why I think TikTok is by far the better app (in a professional sense). It’s a much more level playing field and in the 3 years I have been using it, it has never been glitchy or caused me any problems. Instagram? Daily!!!
Create a video directly in Instagram Reels
You can also make Reels directly in the app. Select the + sign from the top of your account and select Reel. In the bottom left-hand corner, select the square with the blue cross and then select your image.
You can edit the image and choose how long the image will play for. Add this image and then repeat the process until you are happy with all the images uploaded. Choose an audio and you’re good to go.
Lots of advice recommends you creating your videos directly in Instagram Reels. Apparently, Instagram will “reward” you for doing this and push your content more.
I have yet to see evidence of this. I have used multiple ways of creating Reels and most of my viral Reels were created in InShot. InShot is by far the best way, for me, to create Reels.
As I said above, Instagram is so glitchy, I don’t trust it as an editing tool and have lost time trying to create Reels directly in the app.
Use a third party app to create a moving image
Not all niches are made for video. What if you are a marketing expert? Or your account is about wellness and inspiring quotes? It is still easy to create videos with text as your main focus.
You can use third party apps like Canva or Adobe Photoshop to turn an image into a video. Canva has a huge range of video templates where you can upload an image and it will have moving elements in the background. Hence creating a moving image.
I have seen lots of quotes or twitter posts laid on top of a moving image that have gone viral on Instagram Reels. This shows that you don’t have to be a wizard at videography or spend weeks creating a DIY tutorial to do well on Instagram.
Turn an image into a video
If you still don’t want to have multiple images in one post, or want to keep it simple, how about using text over an image to create a video?
You could turn your photo into a video by uploading it to InShot and making the photo last for 7 seconds. Then, upload this video of your still image into Reels and add text to the post.
Reels lets you choose the length of time the text shows, so you could add different text at different times to answer questions, explain a process or tell your followers what is in the image. Simples!
I hope this blog post has given you some ideas. I love a still image and I am sad that Instagram is no longer pushing this content. But Reels can be used to your advantage!