Instagram recently launched a brand new feature called Instagram Reels—and it might be a game changer for your fitness brand’s marketing strategy.
As you scroll through your Instagram account, you’ll probably come across some videos with an icon that looks like a movie clapper board in the bottom left corner. This isn’t a revamp of the Instagram TV icon; rather, it’s a completely new feature that offers a fresh format for your visual content.
Reels are short videos of up to fifteen seconds that you can overlay with filters, effects, audio files, and music. If you’re familiar with TikTok, it is very similar in appearance, not to mention the length of the videos is the same. Because of the uncertain future of TikTok in the US, several influencers have taken to this Instagram alternative to upload their content instead.
The advantage of Instagram Reels is that it offers a platform for bite-sized entertainment and messaging on your page, but it is displayed alongside the Instagram features that people already enjoy: posts, stories, Instagram Live, and Instagram TV.
What does the launch of Instagram Reels mean for fitness coaches?
If you have a following on your business Instagram account or are just beginning to build up your social media pages, know that it looks like Instagram Reels are here to stay. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity to create dynamic and different content on your IG page.
How can fitness coaches and personal trainers create great content using Instagram Reels? In this article, we’ll give you some ideas based on what has worked for some of the biggest influencers out there, and we’ll also offer you some examples of fitness industry leaders who are doing great things with the new Instagram feature.
Instagram Reels: The Basics
If you’re unfamiliar with how to use Instagram Reels, you’ll want to read this section first. If you’re confident with the basics, you can scroll down to the section on how to use Instagram Reels for your fitness account.
How Do You Create a Reel?
Follow these steps to create a reel.
- Go to the section on Instagram where you create stories. You can do this while you are on your main feed by swiping right. That will activate your Instagram camera.
- On the bottom of your screen, you will see three options: Live, Story, and Reels. Click Reels.
- Click on any features you want to be applied to the video before recording. Options include video speed, music, and effects like those you can use to make a story.
- Push the clapper board icon and record for up to fifteen seconds in parts or all at once. Tap on the checkmark every time you’ve completed a clip. You can also select from a video in your gallery.
- Press the right arrow when you are done to see the complete video. At this point, you can add text, doodles, stickers, and gifs.
- Once you are happy with the clip, tap on the right arrow again to publish it.
Where Will My Followers See My Published Reels?
Your Reels will appear on your follower’s Instagram feed with the Reels icon in the corner or as a tab at the top of your main Instagram page. If they see your Reels on their feed, they will be cropped as squares, and they will have to tap the video to see the full-screen version.
If your Reel gains traction, you might also be in the Explore tab of Instagram, which is a great way to gain new followers.
What Are the Main Features of Instagram Reels?
As you brainstorm what to do to create content for Reels, it’s important to know what it can and can’t do. Here are the main features of Instagram Reels:
- One to 15-second videos
- Video speed changes. You can choose from 0.3x normal speed to 3x normal speed.
- Effects and filters. Your Instagram camera will have standard filters and effects, but you can also search and download additional features by swiping all the way to the right in the features and tapping on “explore effects.” The effects range from filters that will brighten your skin and smile to augmented reality effects.
- Uploading videos. If you want to use an external camera and video editor, you can then just upload the Reel by tapping on your gallery and uploading the video from there. If it is longer than fifteen seconds, you will need to choose which fifteen seconds you want to be published.
- Music and audio. The audio button lets you search and explore music and audio clips you want to use for your video. You need to select your audio before recording your clip, and it will play as you record your Reel.
How Are Reels Different From Stories?
While Reels and Stories both share editing features, they are different in many ways.
The obvious difference is the duration. Stories are temporary and cannot be revisited unless you tag them as a featured story on your page categories. Instagram Reels will be uploaded onto your page into the Reels tab, and they will also be featured in the main feed.
Additionally, Reels can only be a maximum of fifteen seconds long. Instagram generally allows for ten-second clips of video on stories, but you can put several stories back to back, or divide up a longer video into shorter stories.
10 Ways to Use Instagram Reels on Your Fitness Account
Show Exercise Dos and Don’ts
The brevity of Reels offers a great opportunity to share bite-sized knowledge with your followers. As fitness coaches, you can offer your expertise about the right and wrong way to perform an exercise.
Depending on your personal style, you can transmit the information using text with music, or you can send the main messages verbally. Either way, you can take advantage of Reels’ features to create a Reel in three parts: First, you can introduce the topic; in a second clip, you can highlight the wrong way to perform an exercise. In the final clip, you can show how to do the exercise correctly.
Keep the video entertaining by using good music, drawing features, and keeping clips short. Also, don’t forget to highlight your personality!
Example: Promote proper squat position. First, show your followers a common, but incorrect, squatting position. Use drawing features or text to point out what is wrong. Then do a squat using proper form highlighting the correct position for the knees and back.
Highlight Individual Exercises
In general, share complete exercise sequences on your stories, Instagram TV, or even Instagram Live. However, you can use Reels to highlight key exercises.
Example: Do you know of a little known exercise that really works the glutes? Or do you know of a modification to crunches that will work the lower abs? This is a great place to highlight some original knowledge.
Share Hacks that Cater to Your Audience
Use Reels to show original hacks and tips for working out that will make your followers thirst for more. Sharing hacks that will make your followers’ lives easier is a great opportunity to connect with them, as well, and show how in-tune you are with their needs.
Example: If your followers are not gym-goers and will probably have little to no equipment at home, can you share an idea for how to do bicep curls without dumbbells? If you cater to moms who are working from home, how can moms squeeze in workouts while working, playing with their kids, or doing other activities around the home?
Show Your Personality
For the most part, Reels are entertaining and lighthearted. Feel free to jump on different challenge wagons to dance, be silly, and make people laugh. Feel free to be creative, show your flaws, your strengths, and any other talents you might have!
Example: Do a dance challenge, or even show off some bloopers from a previous recording.
Show Off Some Cool Fitness Tricks You Can Do
Use Reels like a mini talent show to highlight things you can do that set you apart from the rest and showcase your fitness abilities. You’ll be surprised to see how quickly videos of unique and surprising talents catch on.
Example: Are you able to jump rope really fast? Can you bench press more than your weight? Are you extremely flexible? Don’t be afraid to show off your talent.
Create Teasers for Programs You Offer
Think of Instagram Reels as an opportunity to promote some of your programs and services without giving everything away. Get creative by showing sneak peeks, key features, and benefits.
You can also create teasers of some other content you’ve posted on Instagram like full workouts on IGTV or promote a live session you’ll have in the near future.
Example: Are you launching a new fitness program? Show screenshots of the downloadable PDF you’ve developed or short clips of what they will have access to if they buy your new program.
Show Clients What You Eat
Food and recipes are always a buzzing topic in the fitness world. Plus, who doesn’t love looking at pictures and videos of appetizing food?
Example: Do you have a go-to pre-workout or post-workout snack? Use Instagram Reels to show how you make it, or describe what makes it so great as part of your workout routine.
Collaborate with Others
Since it is easy to paste clips together, you can use the opportunity to collaborate with influencers, brands, and even some of your clients to create authentic content that fosters a sense of community and interaction across digital borders.
Example: Create a dance challenge with an influencer or professional in a similar field. You can also create entertaining content where you “pass the baton” or react to each other, making it feel like you were in the same room while recording.
Showcase Your Favorite Products
If you have your own product line, you can highlight some of the main features of them here. To use Reels for a follower boost, encourage your followers to upload videos of them trying them out!
Example: Do you have a favorite line of workout gear? Do you have a favorite tennis shoe? Are you excited about your new at-home equipment? Showcase your favorite products and how to use them here.
Highlight Client Success
Before and after pictures are static and don’t tell the story of a person’s fitness and health journey.
Reels allow you to show your client’s progress more dynamically.
Example: With your client’s permission, use Reels to show how your client has progressed since beginning to work with you. Visual elements, like photos and videos, are important to include in Instagram Reels, so if you have images or videos of when you first started collaborating and progress pictures, you can use the feature to tell a mini-story.
5 Fitness Coaches Who Are Awesome at Using Instagram Reels
Do you need some inspiration for how to use Instagram Reels? Follow some of these fitness influencers and learn from experts who are spearheading the move into Reels.
Siddhant Rai Sikkand
Siddhant is a fitness coach and influencer who uses Instagram and Youtube as his primary social media platforms. He was an Instagram Reels early adopter and has used Reels to showcase his jump rope talents, share his journey, and promote his services. Check out his Reels page for examples of Reels that went viral.
Selma is an AFPA-certified sports nutritionist whose Instagram Reels will make you drool. She shows you how to prepare delicious meals and snacks in fifteen seconds or less. Her page is a great example of how to squeeze lots of good content into fifteen seconds of video.
Nisha’s Instagram Reels are all about tips, hacks, and mini routines. She shows how to make effective Reels without the need for tons of editing and effects.
A leader of the Body Positive Fitness movement, Jaimmy makes the most out of Instagram Reels. She connects to followers through her wardrobe, shares her personal health journey, gives viewers snack ideas, and provides body positive affirmations.
The SheHealth Instagram page gives followers ideas for recipes and workouts, and it also provides educational bits and highlights products. The page has used Reels to highlight healthy recipes and give food inspiration to followers who are looking to balance a healthy meal with exercising.
Instagram Reels are a brand new format that offers you the opportunity to create short, entertaining videos. By taking advantage of the editing features and choosing your content carefully, you can use Reels to highlight who you are, what you can do, and what you offer to the industry.
As social media continues to have an important role in small and medium business promotion, taking the leap and experimenting with new formats gives you the opportunity to contribute diverse forms of content to the Instagram landscape while increasing your followers and, eventually, growing your business.