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How to utilize Instagram reels to impact more lives

By Gareth Manger

Instagram Reels has arrived and while Facebook might be pretending that they’re not basing this new Instagram feature off of TikTok—the rest of us know the truth.

The content that performed well on TikTok is going to perform well on Reels because they’re pretty similar platforms. While TikTok is much more robust and features longer video times, Reels has the same idea: quick videos designed to keep someone’s attention.

As a fitness trainer, Reels are a great way to showcase your expertise in the gym and the kitchen. You can use Reels to highlight your custom workouts, create a recipe video, educate your audience on your workout style and diet beliefs, and show them BTS of your life as an online fitness trainer.

Let’s take a look at the basics around Instagram Reels so you know how to navigate this new feature and can start to brainstorm how you’re going to use it to grow your audience and get more members to your fitness program.

How To Use Instagram Reels

#1: Open your Instagram app as if you were going to create a ‘story’ then swipe to ‘reels’

#2: Click on the circle with the action marker in the middle, using it to record your Reel the same way you would an Instagram story (by pressing and holding it)

  • The difference between Instagram stories and Reels is that you can cut Reels and put them together.
  • When you click off a clip in your Reel, you’ll see it to the left of the circle with the action marker that you used to, create your first Reel scene.
  • You can drag your finger up or down off of the action marker button to zoom in

#3: You can add music to Reels by clicking on the music note at the top of the left-hand vertical menu

  • You can use music just like you can in your Instagram stories without worrying about copyright infringement
  • Search for any song by typing in the name and artist

#4: You can speed up or slow down Reel “scenes” by clicking on the icon under the music note that looks like a pause and play icon

  • You can speed up “scenes” .3x, .5x, 1x, 2x, 3x

#5: You can add effects to your entire Reel by clicking on the smiley icon with the ‘plus’ symbols

  • Be careful choosing a filter after you’ve filmed a few clips because this will clear out your past Reel clips

#6: Set a timer for a clip with the stopwatch icon, choosing anywhere from 0.1 seconds to 15-seconds long

  • Use this timer to film yourself working out or making a recipe
  • Choose how long you want each clip to be, with the total clip time not exceeding 15-seconds

*Remember alternatively you can record your clips on your phone camera and create a reel from there OR you can take your tik toks and repurpose to reels. Use a watermark removal website (to remove tik tok logo) so that the instagram algorithm doesn’t penalize you when you re share.

And that’s Reels for you. If you’re thinking, “That’s really simple…” it’s because it is. Instagram has designed Reels to be as easy to use as possible while they try to sway TikTok users to choose Reels over the original short-form video platform.

As a fitness trainer, Reels gives you an opportunity to create more content about your workouts and meals in a way that wasn’t native to Instagram before. With Reels, your entire video is vertical which means that you can create jump-cut 15-second videos of your workouts that you can use as promotional or marketing materials. These videos will take up the entirety of the screen when watched which makes them a different experience than posting the same 15-second video to your Instagram feed.

Do I Have To Use Reels as a Fitness Trainer?

The answer is no—you don’t have to use any social media platform or feature that doesn’t further your impact as an online trainer. But, using reels can help to create value and if this content can impact your audience, and potentially drive them to your platform then it will be worth it.

Every online trainer starts from a different place and may have different priorities for content and value creation. But generally, a brand new fitness trainer just starting to grow their audience on Instagram and promote their online fitness program should focus on creating regular feed content and Instagram stories. If reels can be included in this - great! They can provide some impressive reach that isn’t often seen with feed posts. But the most important thing you need to grow is consistency, whatever type of content this involves - remember to be consistent!

We can safely assume that Reels will become a larger part of the Instagram world as more people get accustomed to creating Reels and watching them. As a fitness trainer, staying up-to-date on how to use Reels and starting to use them as soon as you’re ready is a great way to make sure your content is meeting your potential followers and clients where they are.

Optimizing your content for the most value and ultimately furthest reach will help you to impact more lives around the world!

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