Learning from Creators: tips for small businesses getting started with Reels
Meta and BuzzFeed expert panel shared their top advice for entrepreneurs looking to step up their Reels game
People re-share Reels nearly 1 billion times daily through DMs on Instagram alone, making Reels one of the best tools to help businesses reach new customers. But, we hear from business owners it can also be intimidating to translate their creativity into video, so we’re sharing tips on how to get started.
Last month, Meta and BuzzFeed brought together creators and entrepreneurs for a live conversation about all things Reels. BuzzFeed creators Tucker Reynolds and Carolina Reynoso joined comedian and musician, John “jayo” Olear and Stephanie Lin, fashion designer and business owner of KESTAN, a boutique based in Irvine, CA to talk about how they make engaging Reels.
Our expert panel shared their top advice for entrepreneurs looking to step up their Reels game:
Stephanie, as a fashion designer and owner of @HelloKestan, can you break down how you decide the kind of content you feature in your Reels?
As a business owner, I first think about what I need to promote — what are the products or services I want to share with the world? Then I think about what content I would want to watch or what my customers want to know from me. I try to create a mix of being practical and entertaining.
For example, a customer might ask how to wear a sequined, sparkly halter top – it’s a great question and something a lot of people want to know. So I can share my experiences as a designer, show and even tag the product directly in the Reel so my customers can buy it right from the app. Plus, I find that people can relate and connect more with my brand by seeing short videos from me about styling, rather than a static photo of my clothes.
Jayo, you’ve grown your following by infusing your comedy and music in your Reels. How do you approach making content that appeals to a lot of people and how can a business owner learn from your success?
When I’m making videos, I always think about if someone I didn’t know was watching this, would they share it? Is it relatable? People will share your content if they can relate to it, so you have to step outside of yourself and think about what you can create that other people will want to rewatch and share.
For small businesses specifically, every small business solves an issue, so once you know what that issue is, you can make content about that and it will resonate! I’d also suggest making your videos short and sweet and you’ll find more people will rewatch it.
Tucker, you use Reels to post your comedy and gained a lot of followers quickly. What do you suggest for people who are nervous or hesitant to put themselves out there?
JUST GO FOR IT! It can be scary to take the leap and post for the first time, but the stakes are so low and the potential rewards are so high! Stick with it! It's easy to get discouraged when a video doesn't instantly perform as well as you'd hoped. Keep trying new things and have fun with it. Your passion will shine through!
Carolina, as an actress and creator who is constantly coming up with new content, how do you recommend people find inspiration for posting Reels?
The best way to use Reels is to scroll and see what other creators are doing. I find it's the best way to find inspiration and don’t be scared! Perfection doesn’t exist!
Our panel also talked about resources available for small businesses to get started with Reels. jayo created a Reels template as part of the series “Try My Reels,” which offers easy plug-and-play templates made by creators specifically for small businesses to test out. Check out more great content from Instagram for Business on how to make Reels.