Instagram or Facebook Reels: 7 best practices for small businesses

With the increasing popularity of Reels (particularly on Instagram), small businesses should take note as part of your social media marketing strategy.

Reels is a feature where users can create and share fun, short videos using a catalog of music and other media. More specifically, they are 15-second, multi-clip videos that can have sound, music and other effects added to them. 

If you’re familiar with TikTok videos, then you’re familiar with the capabilities of Reels. 

About 61 percent of Generation Z TikTok users are leaning toward using Instagram Reels.

Find out more about Reels and three reasons why you should consider using them.

Of course, any success with Reels doesn’t just happen. The following are seven best practices for small businesses using Reels on either Instagram or Facebook.

Best practice #1: Highlight brand individuality

Reels is all about unique content with a thoughtful storyline. In other words, it’s a blank slate for out-of-the-box creativity.

However, if you’re struggling to brainstorm ideas that you can take to the next level (creatively speaking), consider:

  • Sharing company culture
  • Announcing new product launches or offers
  • Creating how-to tutorials
  • Displaying your product or service in an attention-grabbing way
  • Revealing insider tips and tricks
  • Repurposing past content that has performed well
  • Showing what happens behind the scenes
  • Highlighting before-and-after moments

Experiment with hashtags, text and captions. Research what is trending and what your competition is doing. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, whether that with the use of camera angels, audio, etc.

Just be wary of hard-selling too much. Viewers won’t have an appetite for it, and over time, you’ll struggle to build your reach and engagement on Reels.

Best practice #2: Think vertical and consider file size

Like Stories, Reels content is vertical. This might not be a big stretch for content creation if you’re already creating content for Stories, TikTok and/or Snapchat. 

But it can be an adjustment if you haven’t stepped into those other features and/or platforms yet.

As far as file size for Reels, it’s not a huge concern if you’re creating your content within the platform (either Instagram or Facebook). However, if you plan on importing any cllips for your Reels video, keep these characteristics in mind:

  • The recommended Reels size is 1080 by 1920 pixels.
  • The recomended aspect ratio for Reels is 9:16.

If the size is not accurate, you could end up with an awkwardly cropped Reels clip. 

Best practice #3: Balance authenticity with quality

Reels allows for fun, authentic content, but on the flip side, you still want to balance that with well-produced clips.

Take the time to plan, execute and edit your Reels video clips so that you can walk that line and hit that balance every time to best engage with your target audience. Choosing the right audio is a big piece, so don’t rush the creation process.

We recommend using a visual storyboard process to plan your Reels clip frame by frame. But truly, practice makes perfect. Keep experimenting and creating.

Best practice #4: Avoid watermarks

It’s probably not a surprise that since Facebook is aiming to compete with TikTok by implementing Reels, your content will not be as successful if it has another platform’s watermark on it.

For example, if you create a TikTok video on that platform and then save it to upload it to Instagram Reels, there will be a TikTok watermark in the corner of that uploaded clip.

To avoid this, you’ll want to create original content within Instagram or Facebook Reels so that it can play nice with those platforms’ algorithms.

Best practice #5: Add a custom Reels thumbnail

By creating a custom Reels cover, you are taking the power of your content into your own hands. The cover is the first image users see when they come across your Reels video clip.

Make sure that you design an image that is not only eye-catching but also true to the content users will see by watching your clip.

You can add the cover by clicking on “Cover” after creating your Reels clip. You can then add the image from your gallery.

Best practice #6: Optimize the sharing of your Reels

Once created, Instagram specifically allows you to share the video clip to the Reels tab, where your followers can then access it easily on your profile.

Be sure to share your Reels clip to your feed as well so that it’ll show on your main profile view alongside your other feed posts. You can also save it and share it at a more optimized time for your audience. While various “best time to post” articles exist online, the key is to think about your target audience’s time zone and when they’ll likely be engaging with your content.

  • When they wake up?
  • During lunch?
  • Toward the end of the traditional workday?
  • After dinner?
  • Before bed?

From there, experiment with timing to get the best sense for your brand account since every brand is unique with a different audience.

With a public Instagram business account (rather than a private personal account), your Reels clip could be picked up and suggested to users at large in Instagram’s main discovery Reels tab.

Learn more about the difference between personal, creator and business accounts on Instagram.

Best practice #7: Monitor your Reels performance

Just like with any other feature or even platform, tracking your metrics is critical to understanding what works best for your target audience and what isn’t working at all.

You’ll be able to view reach, likes, saves, shares, comments and plays. Keep in mind that the number of plays can be higher than your reach since users can watch a Reels clip more than once.

Your Reels analytics are located within Instagram Insights on the Instagram app, which is only available for business accounts.

Reels analytics for Facebook pages appear to be in the works as of 2021.

Still embracing TikTok? See our 15 tips to better market your brand on the video platform.

As you’re looking into expanding into Reels, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Instagram (and how to avoid them)

With more than 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram clearly holds an appeal for brands looking to reach key target audiences.

But on the fourth-largest mobile app, it can be all too easy for brands to make very public mistakes.

The following are the 14 biggest mistakes businesses make on Instagram, as well as how you can avoid them for your own brand.

Instagram mistake #1: Purchasing likes or followers

Often, the currency of social media (and Instagram in particular) centers around authenticity. 

Buying your likes and/or Instagram followers may give you quantity, but definitely not quality. And by doing so, you risk breaking the trust of your real followers and commenters.

We also don’t recommend paying for automated outgoing comments because it definitely makes your brand look more like a robot than a personality that people want to engage with. Plus, you’re missing the opportunity to authentically engage with your target audience.

Instead, focus on a strategy where you prioritize engaging content and meaningful interactions with other users.

Instagram mistake #2: Not optimizing your Instagram bio

Too many companies don’t adequately optimize their Instagram bios. Remember that beyond your post that could reach a user who’s unfamiliar with your brand, your bio is often the first impression you can make.

Keep your bio clear, concise and relevant. You can use links, emojis and even line breaks to make your bio unique and easy to understand.

Instagram mistake #3: The use of poor-quality photos or videos

Instagram is a visual-first social media platform. While you don’t have to have the most expensive photographer shoot all your photos and videos, you do have to be thoughtful in the images that you are publishing.

Beautiful is great, but even interesting or well-composed images also work.

Think about your lighting, finding a neutral background and the composition of your images. 

Fortunately, there are many easy-to-use photo editing apps and graphic design tools to edit your images as needed.

Instagram mistake #4: Your posting frequency is off

There’s a fine line to walk on Instagram before you end up posting “too much” or “too little.” It’s such an easy mistake to make.

With too many posts, your brand can look desperate to users. With too few, your brand’s Instagram account can appear inactive and forgettable.

The “right” number is not only ever evolving but can also depend on your industry and audience. 

For example, a news outlet could post multiple times per day, and that makes sense. A retail brand, on the other hand, would be more likely to post a few times per week.

Keep an eye on your analytics, so that you can find the sweet spot for your own brand’s posting frequency.

Instagram mistake #5: Ignoring your performance analytics

A huge (but common) mistake brands can make on Instagram involves ignoring your data, or at least not using your metrics enough to inform your strategy.

But go beyond the vanity metrics. It’s not only about likes. Keep your reach, audience demographics and more in mind as you publish your content.

Seeing what works and what doesn’t will only make your Instagram strategy that much stronger.

Dive deeper with our guide on Instagram Insights.

Instagram mistake #6: Using too many hashtags

A powerful tool on Instagram, hashtags (when used correctly) can help your content organically reach more users.

However, you can use too many and shoot your brand in the foot.

While you can use up to 30 hashtags, you’ll more likely see only a handful in use on any given post. Up to 11 hashtags is generally accepted these days.

See our six tips to master hashtags on Instagram.

Instagram mistake #7: Inattention to sharing quality content

All content is not created equal.

If you allow the quality of your overall content to slide, then you risk publishing posts that are boring, spammy and/or out of touch. Big mistake.

Don’t post just to post. Always ask yourself if what you’re posting is intriguing, informative and/or fun. If it is, your target audience will more likely engage with it. What does your audience care about?

See our seven tips for leveling up your brand’s content marketing.

Instagram mistake #8: Being impersonal

Just because you’re speaking for and representing your brand, doesn’t mean that you’re not human. Many brands make the mistake of being too professional. 

Take a moment to think about your brand voice and how you should be engaging with and speaking to your target audience on Instagram.

Instagram mistake #9: Lacking an Instagram strategy

An Instagram strategy goes beyond just what you’re going to do, it drills into what your Instagram goals are and what actions should happen to help achieve those goals.

No matter what your goals are, it’s very difficult to achieve them without a plan to do so. That lack of a plan or strategy is a big Instagram mistake.

Dive deeper into what you should do with our 16 Instagram marketing tips.

Instagram mistake #10: Inconsistency with your visuals

This ties into your branding. What colors, aesthetics and tone define your brand? Inconsistencies with your overall visual presentation is a mistake.

Now, apply that to the compilation of all your Instagram images. When you look at your Instagram profile (and all your images in one place), is there a consistent look and feel?

Variations can exist, of course. But the idea is that overall, an Instagram follower should generally recognize your content when it appears in your feed.

Your consistent visual presentation can be included in your overall Instagram strategy. It could be as simple as a style guide.

Instagram mistake #11: Errors in your captions

Just like with any other piece of your digital marketing, typos put the perception of your professionalism and credibility at risk.

But even marketing writers can make mistakes. We’re all human.

So, include a proofing process into your social media publishing (not just Instagram).

Instagram mistake #12: Not embracing Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are not as new as they used to be, and about 500 million users use this feature. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this important feature.

Instagram Stories feature fun, authentic content in a vertical orientation that disappears after a day. Stories can be used to share behind-the-scenes moments, first-person narratives and more. The sky’s the limit as far as creativity.

Instagram mistake #13: Lack of engagement with followers

Social media is not a broadcasting platform, Instagram included. It’s about conversations.

Every time a user comments on your Instagram posts, that’s an opportunity to engage with him and her that can help build a trusting relationship.

Go beyond planning and publishing your content. Consider one of the many social media management tools that can help you not only schedule your posts but monitor all engagement actions on that content. Social media management in general can help you stay on top of all social media activity.

Instagram mistake #14: Including links in your post captions

Instagram does not allow for clickable URLs in post captions. By including “links” in your captions, not only will it look messy and not work, but you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re doing on the platform.

The best practice is to include your relevant link in your bio and refer users to click that. It’s a common practice. If you need to share more than one link at the same time, websites like Linktree and Campsite can create a “landing page” of links that can be found through a single link that you can include in your bio link.

If you have at least 10,000 followers, you can include links in your Instagram Stories as well.

In conclusion

Whether you’ve made any of these Instagram mistakes or not, it’s never too late to improve and move forward.

Check out our list of challenges and opportunities that small businesses face on Instagram.

Plus, you can think about the bigger picture with our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you’re looking to avoid the biggest Instagram mistakes, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Personal, Creator or Business: Which Instagram account is right for your brand?

Instagram is a vital marketing platform for many brands. Are you using the right account type?

The visual-first social media app boasts more than 1 billion users worldwide. More women use Instagram than men, and the majority of users are between 25 and 34 years old.

If your brand is targeting a younger, female audience, Instagram likely is already part of your digital marketing strategy.

Dive deeper with our breakdown of Instagram’s challenges and opportunities for small businesses.

When using the platform, you have the option to use a personal, Creator or Business account. Two of these are considered professional, while one is considered personal for obvious reasons.

Depending on your brand and needs on Instagram, it’s important to understand what’s involved with each type of Instagram account and whether you’re using the right one.

Personal Instagram accounts

About 80 percent of all Instagram accounts are personal, so it’s the most commonly used type.

On a personal account, there are no analytics or API access, which means that you can’t schedule posts, use Facebook Creator Studio to manage your Instagram presence or get third-party access to performance analytics.

In addition, personal accounts do not have contact buttons on the profile, gift card delivery stickers or the “swipe-up” function in Stories (that can send viewers to a website).

While all of those down sides likely are a no-go for your business, keep in mind that personal Instagram accounts have access to all music options in Instagram Reels and Stories and are the only account type that can be private.

Business vs. Creator Instagram accounts

Considering the likelihood (and best practice) that your brand is not going to use a personal Instagram account, then the question remains: Should your brand use Business or Creator instead?

Similarities

Business and Creator Instagram accounts do have a lot of similar features, including: 

  • Access to Instagram Insights
  • Two-tab inbox (Primary and General) to best manage a potentially high number of direct messages
  • Saved replies
  • Shoppable posts
  • Contact buttons on your profile
  • Gift card delivery stickers
  • Access to branded content features that enable collaboration with other accounts

Differences

Of course, on the flip side, there are a couple of key differences between the two types of Instagram accounts.

Instagram Business accounts are intended for brands that are making money or selling something. They do have API access, which means that posts can be scheduled, access to Facebook Creator Studio (which allows you to manage your Instagram from a desktop computer if you wish) and the option to use third-party analytics tools.

Instagram Creator accounts are intended for influencers, who are individuals who have a sizeable, engaged following. (Find out more about influencer marketing.)

Instagram Creator accounts do not have API access, but they do have access to the full music library on the platform.

Business accounts only have the royalty-free music library, which is limited (and not tied into relevant pop culture).

Business and Creator accounts also have different profile categories. For example, a public figure using a Creator account could choose from “chef,” “writer” and so on, but a brand using a Business account could choose from categories, such as “bakery” or “advertising agency.”

While both account types offer the ability to show contact information on your profile, only the Instagram Business account can include a physical location address.

In addition, the call-to-actions available for the profile button differ between Business and Creator accounts. Creator accounts only have “book now” and “reserve” options, while Business accounts have more.

Therefore, the decision between using a Business or Creator account is typically a straightforward one. Most businesses opt for the Business account.

How to change your Instagram account type

Need to change your Instagram account type or not sure what type you currently have?

Open your Instagram app, go to your profile and tap on the three-line “hamburger” menu button in the top right. Go to Settings, and select the Account option.

At the bottom of the Account selection, you’ll see the option to switch your account type. The options available will be what you aren’t using currently. For example, if you have a Creator account, you’ll only see the options to change to a Business or personal account type.

Be wary of making frequent switches between account types. Doing so delays your access to certain features. Instagram does this to help prevent the abuse of bouncing between account types to get the best features of both. Frequent switches can ultimately lead to your account being flagged as spam by Instagram as well.

Looking to get a jump on your Instagram marketing? See our 16 tips.

While you’re considering your Instagram account type, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.