Need some tips for creating engaging Instagram Reels? Reels that work to promote your business, that help you connect with your audience, increase your reach and promote your business.

I went live on Instagram with Rebecca at to talk all things Reels. We shared our insights and own experiences, inspiring listeners with accounts making great reels, common mistakes and a few tricks. We answered a number of questions too.

What’s working well with reels?

  • Make someone smile and you are winning.
  • Being totally myself and embracing my own style is working really well. Rather than trying to be like everyone else, find a style that is right for you and your brand.
  • Spacing reels out and not doing too many (unless you want to be known for that format) seems to work better. If I post 2 days back to back the second reel usually performs less well. I’m not sure my audience is ready for full time reels and to be honest I feel the same way as a consumer.
  • My account seems to generally gain energy from reeling twice a week,
  • Not chasing the viral reel seems to be a very good strategy. I concentrate on using reels as another format for sharing my content. When reels get featured in the Instagram reel it seems to attract lots of accounts that are not my target audience.
  • Reels are about more than plays. Saves, shares, smiles and sales.

Tips and Tricks for creating reels

  • Use the speed function to help with lip syncs and dance moves (yep we’re all racing to do the dancing)
  • The timer is a brilliant tool for breaking down audio
  • Make sure your reel has a hook at the beginning
  • Remember your cover image isn’t seen for most views of your reel. The important info needs to be on the reel
  • Inshot is amazing for editing video content. Canva is pretty good too. Transitions can be added to still photos in Canva as well as movement to stills with the animation functionality.
  • Life lapse for having a play with stop motion.

Small business and brands making great reels

Sarah Richards Social. Instragram Trainer and Content Specialist. Graphic is of 3 iphone screens showing stills of reels from, @mizzknits and @sarahrichardssocial

Here’s a few brands and small businesses doing great things with reels.


  • @bm_stores, @newlook, @britishbakeoff (yay), @upcirclebeauty
  • @drjulie @declutterwithemma, @stylewithwisdom,
  • @mizzknits @Janekent_studio
  • @Karenhb_photography @Sienna.and.I, @mermaidsanddinosaurs
  • @thebraypartnership  @melwakenrnutr @lindahermanphotography

Pop over to Instagram and take a look.

Common mistakes with reels

A few things to look out for…

  • Not keeping the important info with the safe space. Think about the square that is seen on your grid and the portrait 1080 x 1350 seen on the feed. The important stuff needs to be within this safe area.
  • Not having full screen video. Zoom into your stills, resize your video and make sure your reel is full screen. You can change the canvas in Inshot.

Further help and inspiration for reels

If you would like to know more,  I run regular Reels workshops via zoom and in person for small groups. Check out my Workshop page for the next date.

I also offer an in person 1-1 Reels training and production package where we can together learn all of the functionality of reels and produce videos ready to use. For more information please get in touch.