Short-Form Reels: What’s Working on Instagram Right Now

By Alexis Rodrigo | Social Media

Aug 09
Short-form Reels on Instagram

As the Social Media Manager for a global organization, I have to keep abreast of what’s trending on social media and conduct my own tests.

Right now, what’s working well on Instagram are short-form Reels.

These are very short Reels, just 8 seconds long on average.

Don’t laugh. You can communicate a lot in just 8 seconds.

For example, you can:

  • Teach
  • Show a process
  • Tell a story
  • Highlight a product
  • Answer a question
  • Arouse curiosity
  • Inspire action
  • Start a conversation

Yup, you can accomplish all that with a little video that takes just minutes to create!

And as a result of posting short-form Reels almost every day, I’ve managed to reach 10,780 accounts—even though I only have 586 followers.

Instagram reach with short-form Reels

A successful short-form video has several elements:

  1. Strong visuals. This can be video, photos, or a combination of both. Strong visuals will grab a person’s attention.

  2. Engaging text overlay. The text that’s shown over your video gives it context and increases interest for someone to keep watching and read the caption.

  3. Trending sound or music. For best results, choose a sound that’s both trending and appropriate to your video. Reels that use trending sounds tend to get shown to more people.

  4. A click-inducing hook or the part of your caption that’s displayed under the video. If it arouses curiosity, then people will tap on ‘more’ so you can inform, inspire, engage, and convert them even more.

  5. Calls to action. Usually, you have two calls to action: On the video itself, the CTA would be to read the caption. And on the caption, the CTA is usually to click on the link in your bio.

There are two main ways to produce a short-form Reel:

(1) First come up with a concept for your video then find a trending sound to use with it. In this example, I wanted to highlight the versatility of a recipe. Afterwards, I looked on Instagram for the Superman theme sound. Fortunately, it was there:

(2) Find a trending sound or Reel style and adapt it to your niche. This time, I first found—and saved—the trending sound and thought of a way to use it within my topics (growing, cooking, and eating plants). It’s my most successful Reel so far:

How about you? Do you post short-form Reels on Instagram? Is this something you’d like to try or do more of? Tell me about it!


About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.