18. 10 Easy Instagram Reels Tips (+ How to Use Music Legally)

10 Easy Instagram Reels Tips (+ How to Use Music Legally)

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Instagram Reels: You either love ‘em or you hate ‘em – or sometimes a bit of both all at once. If you listen to all the people out there, you’re bound to hear both sides of it, that Reels are a waste of time and also the only way to grow your business. Let’s cut through the noise and figure out how you can create content that actually moves the needle while using your valuable time effectively. In this episode, I detail 10 tips for Instagram Reels focusing on what’s best for your business, not what’s going to get you the most views. Because growing our business is what we’re all here for, right?

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • The mistakes people make when it comes to Instagram Reels
  • My background with Reels
  • Using music legally
  • Thinking evergreen with Reels content
  • Letting people get to know you
  • Getting people to read your captions
  • Making your point in the caption
  • Having fun while making it educational
  • Don’t take it too seriously
  • How to find trending audio
  • Get inspiration from related entrepreneurs
  • Save your Reels to your phone
  • Answering your questions and sharing my Reels process

Focusing on the long game

You are not a content creator, you are a business owner. That means you want your content to work for you as long as possible. Yes, it’s important to stay on top of trends — like Reels themselves — when using social media to grow your business. But you don’t want to be making disposable content.

Get people to read the caption

Reels work best when they’re kept short. But if the information you’re trying to provide needs a little more context or depth, it’s important to point people in the direction of your caption to go deeper. In your caption, after you have their attention and have provided them with something valuable, you should take them a step further with a second call to action, whether that’s to download or sign up for something.

Make it fun while also making it educational or informative

You don’t have to dance and lip sync to do Reels right. They can be a bit more work, but they can also be incredibly impactful. The dancing ones do tend to get more views, but remember, we’re not after views. We’re after business results and conversion. The most important thing is to make them helpful.

Listen to the full episode for all ten of my tips. Remember, Reels are meant to be fun but they also need to support and grow your business. Experiment, find what works for you, and make sure they make sense.

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Resources Discussed in This Episode

If you’re ready to legally protect and grow your online business today, save your seat in my free workshop so you can learn how to take the simple legal steps to protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Click here to watch the free workshop so you can get legally protected right now!

Episode Transcript

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Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:10] Oh, Instagram Reels, I feel like I don’t really have a love-hate relationship with them, but I feel like a lot of people do. It’s so funny, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how things feel so black and white in business sometimes. I think about this all the time with ads where it’s funny to me that I’ll log on to Instagram and I see simultaneously two different people being like, “Ads are the devil” and the other person being like, “Let me show you how to use ads.” And I’m just like, “How can these two things be true?”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:37] And it’s so often because there is no one right way to run a business. Ads are fine. It’s also fine to not run them. I didn’t run them for years. I did great. Now, I run them. I do great. Like, it’s fine. It’s fine. I swear.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:00:49] I kind of feel the same way about Reels. So, many people get so fired up about them. They’re like, “Reels are amazing. Reels are terrible. They’re a waste of time. They’re the only thing you should be doing to grow your Instagram.” And I’m like, “Duh. Let’s cut the noise.” I think most of the time, I’m looking to figure out how to cut the noise and trying not to consume so much content.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:09] So, I was really hoping that today’s episode would just be a one stop shop for you if you’re interested in Reels. Maybe you’ve already started with Reels, but you’re not really seeing any traction. You’re not sure how you’re supposed to be making them for your business. Because more than anything, today, yes, I’m going to give you ten Reels tips. But I am really focusing on this episode on Reels tips for business owners.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:29] So, you can find lots of great videos on YouTube and elsewhere that will teach you how to get more views from Reels, and how to get followers and comments or whatever, how to get viral reels. That’s not this episode. This episode is about making sure that you’re creating Reels for your business that actually support and grow your business. I think that by implementing these tips, you will get a lot of views, and followers, and all of the things.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:01:52] But the purpose of my tips and of my business in general is just to make sure that I’m helping you to actually grow a sustainable business and trying to give you ideas of how to create content that works for you, even when you’re not working. So, that’s really what I’m going to teach you in today’s episode.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:10] I can’t wait because I actually really enjoy talking about Reels. I posted on Instagram the other day asking if anybody had any questions about making Reels and easy Reels tips, and so many people responded. So, at the end of today’s episode, I’m actually going to share some of the top Qs and I’ll give my A to those questions that I got on Instagram because I thought that they were really good ones.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:32] And throughout this episode, I’m going to sprinkle in a couple little legal tips here and there, mostly pertaining to music, because I do get questions from people asking me how you can use music legally on Reels.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:02:45] So, the only other news that I’ve got for you is that I’ve got something new and free coming for you in about ten days from when you’re listening to this episode, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for that. It is a free legal template that I’m going to have for you that was highly requested. I’m really excited about it, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:03] And if you’re listening to this episode before Thanksgiving, I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving. I hope that you take some time off and that you make something delicious. And that you get some time to just rest and unplug.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:17] I shared at the beginning of last week’s episode my thoughts on Black Friday sales or just my approach on them. I just don’t do them. I choose not to participate in it. This week is, like, my favorite week of the year, and I just want to chill and be offline. And my business is running in the background, like, I’m doing fine. So, I just want to pass that on to you in case you’re feeling all of the pressure.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:03:41] I remember when I started my business, I was like, “Everybody else is running Black Friday sales. My whole business is going to tank because I’m not doing it.” And it’s totally fine, you can do it too. So, with that, let’s get into how to create Reels on your terms, of course.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:00] So, let’s talk Reels. I am so excited to talk Reels because I feel like there’s so much misinformation and misunderstanding and hot topic stuff. Like, people are either so for them, so against them, everybody thinks they’ve got the answer. But in today’s episode, I kind of just want to give you a fresh take on Reels of a way to do these to actually make sense.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:21] If you own your own business and you’re somebody who either doesn’t have a lot of time or doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on social media, and you want to get the most bang for your buck, I’m all about trying to get the most out of your time there and making sure that things that you do on social media actually support your business and make sense for your business. Because at the end of the day, I think we’re here because we want to grow our online businesses. Obviously, there’s a time and a place if you want to just grow a social platform or something like that, that’s cool. But that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to grow a business. I think you probably are, too. And so, therefore, we want to make sure our Reels actually fit into that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:04:58] And then, today I’m going to share ten Reels tips with you. I’m so excited. But some of the issues that come up with Reels that people tend to have a lot of angst around creating them because I think people really build them up in their minds. So, there’s already this issue with video where a lot of people are like, “I have to be perfect on video.” Hello? Or it has to be highly stylized, and produced, and really complicated, and all this kind of stuff. So, there’s a lot of that going on.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:05:37] On the flip side, we then have people who are doing Reels that are only trendy or for fun, or sometimes a little bit pointless that I see and have really no purpose for your business, which is totally fine if that’s what you want to do. But my concern for those of you who are like, “I’m trying these Reels but they’re not doing anything for my business.” If you’re only doing them in the fun, trendy, no purpose category, that might be why. If you’re just trying to do them to grow a following, then great, hats off to you. But if you’re trying to grow your business, we have to do them differently.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:12] I see so many Reels, too, that are just not helpful at all. Like, either they’re about the person who’s making the Reel, or just about something completely unrelated to what they do, or I don’t really learn anything. If I don’t learn anything on screen for the Reel itself, sometimes I go to check out the caption, there’s not even anything there. So, having helpful Reels is really important, and it’s something we’re going to talk about a lot today.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:06:37] I also see issues with the way people kind of set them up, the calls to action, not asking people to engage, not asking people to take the next step, not asking people to read, and really having Reels that don’t have any point or service in your business. So, we’re going to spend a lot of time talking today about making Reels that make sense for your online business to actually help you grow your online business, and not just a bunch of random comments or followers or whatever.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:03] We want you to get targeted followers. We want you to get people in your community who make sense, and who you enjoy being around, who really need you and want to consume your content, and who you start training to engage, because that’s what’s really important in the social media landscape.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:19] So, I wanted to just share some quick background with you before I hop into the ten Reels tips today. I had a really funny attitude about Reels up until – I don’t know when – a while back. And so, when Reels first started, I held off on them because I thought that it was stupid to stand there and point to stuff on screen. Because the first kinds of Reels that I ever saw were the Reels that would have really fast music and then would have this bam, bam, bam, bam, and then people would just be pointing to the screen and giving tips.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:07:52] And I was just like, “I don’t understand it.” I didn’t really get it. Like, I guess I’m an old lady at heart. But like any new technology, I was just like, “What? What is this?” It seems so silly and seems so trendy.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:08:04] But a couple of things happened. One, I think Reels themselves evolved, but also just, frankly, Instagram has made it very clear that this is what they’re prioritizing. And like I always say, it’s a choice to participate in Instagram. Nobody has to be on Instagram. It’s a free tool that we can use to market our businesses. But as long as I’m choosing to be there, I want to be there in a way that makes sense for my business. And if that’s the game, if Instagram is the game, then these are the rules that they give us. Because we don’t dictate any of it, but they are clearly prioritizing this in the rulebook.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:08:40] And so, I’m like, “Okay. Well, if I’m going to be here, I am strategic AF, I’m going to make my time worth it for my business. I’m not here to mess around.” So, you can keep throwing time into posts and throwing time into stories which disappear in 24 hours, and Instagram is not going to prioritized that, it’s not going to get it out to people. So, if I’m really there to try to reach new audiences, to nurture the one that I already have, to connect with people, and just kind of have fun, show different parts of my personality, and this is what Instagram’s prioritizing, fine, I’ll try it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:16] So, I tried it. Maybe over the summer, I hopped in and I just started playing with it and seeing how it went. I didn’t really think it was going to be very helpful to my business. But when I started experimenting with it, I started by experimenting and have continued to experiment with what I call evergreen Reels. So, those are Reels that are educational or that are familiarizing to my brand or my product or my freebie, like my legal workshop. And it’s something that would work for me, whether somebody watched my Reel today or six months from now.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:09:49] So, I wanted to see, like, if I put those kinds of Reels out there, does it work? Or is this just for people who are doing dance moves and pointing at the screen and all that kind of stuff? And what I ended up seeing was that I got not only a ton of new followers because Instagram was prioritizing this – again, I don’t really care so much about that. One thing that was interesting to me, though, was that the followers, as I was checking and just seeing like, “Wow. Lots of new people are pouring in.” They were definitely people who fit more of the kind of person I’m looking to connect with on Instagram. So, I thought that was really interesting.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:23] But what was even more interesting to me as a businesswoman was that I was starting to get emails from people who are purchasing my products. And when I asked them and give them a little survey asking how you found me and all this kind of stuff, they said, “Actually, I found your Reel. In your Reel you said, “Watch this workshop.” I watched your workshop. I bought your bundle.” I was like, “Wow. That’s actually starting to work.” So, people were doing it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:46] And what’s most important to me is that these people are really cool and they definitely fit my ideal customer profile. And they are people I want to work with and have in my community. And I want to help them. I’m here to help.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:10:57] And so, yeah, it just seemed like it was working, and I thought that was really cool. So, it definitely leads to consistent new follower growth, I would say, on Instagram when you’re consistent with them. Although, I find that people find the Reels kind of ongoing, like they kind of keep rolling, sometimes they pick up steam later. If audio starts to trend or something, somebody picks up on it, sometimes somebody will share it, and then all of a sudden it will kind of take off. So, they’re interesting. They’re new. It’s an experiment.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:26] If you’ve listened to On Your Terms before, you know that I talk a lot about being a scientist and experimenting in your business. And I believe in just trying things out, tracking the data, seeing if you like it, is it fun for you. If you feel like you’re forcing it, you know it’s not so fun. I didn’t feel so much like I was forcing it. It was kind of like, “Well, I wouldn’t do this if Instagram wasn’t prioritizing it, but let me try it.” And then, once I’ve tried it, I liked it, so it was fine. I don’t mind making a fool of myself. I don’t take it too seriously, so it’s fine.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:11:54] The other thing that I learned in the process before I get into these tips is that, if you run Facebook Ads, having things like Reels or video in general on Instagram can help you because it, not only pulls into people and grows your audience, which is super helpful if you run ads to warm audiences or lookalike audiences, but it also helps because once people watch your video for a certain number of seconds, you can actually target audiences that have watched your videos. So, even if they don’t follow you, they might start to get targeted with your Facebook Ads. So, I’m always trying to think about that as well. So, I found that part really interesting.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:31] Okay. So, what are ten ways that you can make reels that are fun, that are actually helpful to your business, that don’t drive you crazy, that don’t take hours to make? Seriously, I spend a couple of minutes on each one. It’s no joke. I don’t take them very seriously. Just have fun.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:12:46] I would really highly encourage you to spend the bulk of your time putting your energy in terms of content into things that are more evergreen and that could be potentially SEO driven. So, something that people can find online, like by Googling something, or by being on YouTube, or listening to podcasts, I would really encourage you to spend your time. So, we’re just talking extra bonus time, bonus content creation time here. But it’s important that if you want to make Reels that you, I think, integrate these ten tips.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:17] So, tip number one, of course, I have to start out with a legal tip. But don’t worry, none of the rest are legal. I have to tell you that a lot of people ask me about music for Reel. Like, How am I allowed to use music for different kinds of reels? Is it okay to grab clips? Am I allowed to use this song? Can I do this? Whatever. So, remember that music falls under copyright. So, music is subject to copyright law, and it has copyright protection built in to whoever is the owner of that work. And you can only use music that you have the permission or a license to use.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:13:52] So, since we’re talking about Reels, we’re talking about Instagram. And so, since you’re using Instagram, you’re looking to what Instagram provides you by their audio feature – like the little audio tab inside of Reels – all the audio that’s provided by Instagram. They have audio in there that either they have the permission or license to use from the artist themselves, or the record label, or whoever owns the music. However, some people add in their own audio, and they could be uploading unlicensed music. And then, when you go to somebody else’s Reel and you save their audio and you reuse it, you could be inadvertently reusing music that you’re not allowed to use.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:35] So, what kind of music then is legal to add to a Reel? Well, this is what Instagram tells us. Instagram says you can record a Reel with your own original audio, with original audio by another Reels creator, or with music from the Instagram music library using the audio tool in Reels.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:14:52] So, the last one was what I was just talking about, which is when you go to the audio tab, you’re just looking in the audio that’s provided directly from Instagram. So, I’m not talking about audio that’s from another creator. But music that’s provided directly from Instagram from the artists, like it’s a whole song, and you’re just picking a section of that song. That kind of thing is okay.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:12] When another Reels creator uploads their own original audio, that’s also okay. But, remember, it has to be original to them and something that they own copyright, and not just something that they’re recording from TV or a show or something. They don’t own that just because they uploaded it to Instagram. So, with original audio band, another Reels creator, that’s a second way that Instagram said it’s okay.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:15:33] The third way that Instagram says it’s okay, of course, is for you to record a Reel with your own original audio. So, that would look like, maybe, a voiceover or a video that you record just on your own, you know, walking around the house giving tips or something like that. Instagram Reels now has the voiceover feature, so you can actually upload a video where, maybe, you’re not even in the video, but then you can actually just do the voiceover work in that video. So, that would be an example where, obviously, it’s okay to use your own original audio.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:02] Tip number two is all about making sure that we think evergreen. I want you to think evergreen whenever you’re creating Reels or at least, I would say, the bulk of the Reels that you create should be done so from an evergreen perspective. So, that means creating Reels that will continue to work for you in days, weeks, months, years, or however long Reels are around, I don’t know.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:26] But this is kind of how I approach when I create videos, and blog posts, and everything else, and in podcasts is that these are things that are going to have a long shelf life. So, unlike Instagram Stories, which often feel like you’re kind of dumping content on the Instagram toilet because they disappear in 24 hours, we have this opportunity with Reels to allow something to stick around and have a little bit more staying power.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:16:51] So, we can create Reels that have a call to action at the end of them that are either to join a freebie, to join a Facebook Group, to listen to your podcast, watch your YouTube episode, to DM you to buy your product if you’re selling evergreen products, whatever it is. But just think about it from the perspective of, Is this piece of content going to work for me for a while? Or am I putting all of this effort into something that’s not going to help me in the long run?

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:22] My third tip is to use Reels to allow people to get to know you, to get to see your personality. I mean, Reels are on video so it’s kind of a no-brainer here that we can get to know you better through video than we can through any sort of written posts, or hiding behind a picture, or something like that. So, it doesn’t technically mean that you always have to show your face. I think there are many different ways to get to know you and your personality, maybe some of your hobbies, some behind the scenes work, some of the implementation, or walk-the-walk type of stuff.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:17:51] So, I like to see Reels when people show what their doing with their clients or client work, or how they integrate some of the things that they teach other people. I love these things that people have started doing with Reels, where they’re kind of like mini-vlogs and they’re teaching people throughout the day to take cozy moments, or how to practice self-care, and how to integrate these tips into their business. And they’re showing how they do it through Reels because it’s a way to just tell a beautiful visual story. And I think it’s just a cool way to get a peek into people’s day. And they’re so short, you know, the little bite size ways to get to know people.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:18:25] But I also have liked seeing different parts of people’s personality, people being playful, people being calming and reassuring in Reels. Not all Reels need to be super hyper and jumping around. You see a lot of people who have gotten really popular with Reels because they’re like, “Oh,” like, really romantic, and they’re jumping around, and they’re singing, and dancing, and clapping, and doing tons of transitions. And it’s super cool and it gets a lot of attention, but just know that it’s also okay if that’s not either your style, or that wouldn’t make sense for your business, or you don’t feel comfortable yet, or whatever.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:18:58] But there are ways to show your personality through Reels. But just remember that part of the purpose of creating Reels is to show your personality. So, as you’re planning them and making them evergreen and making them make sense for your business, you want to make sure that you’re showing little bits and pieces of your personality here and there.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:18] Tip number four is to have a call to action on the screen to read the caption, which is especially important for short Reels. So, I think when Reels started, people were really trying to put all of the content, all of the information on the screen itself, and it could get really cluttered and things could go really fast. And people didn’t know yet that you can just press and hold your finger on the screen and it’ll pause it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:19:41] That’s why I think whenever you’re doing short Reels where the point of the Reel is probably more just to get someone’s attention, we want to put a call to action on the screen itself that says, “Read the caption,” and maybe has a finger pointing down or an arrow or use whatever you want. So, I think that you could also do this in a way that says, “Read the caption for tip number four.”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:03] Or if you were doing four tips to whatever four myths or something like this, you could also share the first three on the screen and then say, “Read the caption for the fourth one” or “Read the caption for the most important one you don’t want to miss,” or something like this where you could kind of almost entice the person to want to click on the caption to read more. And then, in the caption itself you’re going to have a call to action to the next step, whether it’s to engage with you, to contact you, to sign up for something, to download something, whatever it is. So, it’s really important that we get used to practicing having these calls to action really consistently.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:20:38] The other thing that you can have on the screen is a follow for X, whatever kind of tips that you give. So, remember, with anything related to Reels, you want to keep the text really, really short because it’s just a small screen and things are moving really quickly. So, you don’t want to use long sentences and stuff like this. It might not be your English teacher’s favorite grammar of all time, but you want to use short little quips on the screen that say like, “Follow for legal tips,” or “Follow for online legal tips,” or something like this. Like, that’s what I would do. And that way, you let the person know, like, “Hey, I share other kinds of content like this.”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:16] I also think that that’s really helpful if you’re talking about something that’s maybe a little bit tangentially related to what you do and you want to let people know what you do, do, so that they go and follow you and learn more.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:21:27] So, I think I’ve seen the most follower growth from Reels whenever I share something that says, “Follow me for legal tips for online businesses.” So, I’ll say something like that. Trust me, I’ve done it. But I say that at the end of a Reel and then I see that a lot of people will tend to follow who are, again, in my ideal client profile. So, that can be really, really helpful.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:00] Have you ever felt lost about where to begin with the legal side of protecting your online business? Some people say you can just wing it at the beginning and get officially set up later. Not a good idea, by the way. Whether you’re afraid to even start working with clients because you don’t want to do something wrong legally and then get in trouble or your business is growing and you sort of forgot to take care of the legal pieces, I’ve got you.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:22] I don’t want you to live in fear of the internet police coming after you and your business, but you do have to do certain things and get certain things in place in order to legally and safely run your business online. As much as it just feels like an unregulated Wild Wild West online, that is very much not the case.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:22:39] As an attorney turned entrepreneur and former corporate litigator, I can assure you that there are rules, there are real steps that everybody who runs or starts an online business needs to take. And you’re not behind at all. We can get you set up and following the rules right away. In fact, we can even do it today. I want to teach you the five very simple steps to take to legally protect and grow your online business. You don’t need an MBA to be a successful entrepreneur and stay out of legal hot water, but you do need to dot your legal I’s and cross your T’s in a few key areas that can’t be skipped.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:10] That’s exactly what I’ll teach you in my free one hour legal workshop called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow your Online Business. Just head to mylegalworkshop.com, drop in your email address, pick the time, and I’ll send you a link to watch the workshop video whenever you have time.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:25] This is the best place to begin if you’re just getting started legally legitimizing your business, so head on over to mylegalworkshop.com and sign up to watch Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow your Online Business now.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:23:40] Tip number five is to withhold a tip or the point that you’re trying to do in the video to put it in the caption. So, again, kind of enticing people to go and read the caption because the captions where we’re going to have the opportunity to really spell out things enough that we’re going to be able to get people to take the next step.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:00] Because in a Reel, unless you have access to the 60 second Reel and unless you also are making completely your own Reels where you’re talking people through things in a methodical way, like telling them who you are, touching on a pain point, touching on a desire, teaching them a little something and then telling them about the next step, which is hard to do in a Reel because of how fast they are and those Reels just don’t tend to get nearly as much attention, so if you’re not doing that, then the caption is kind of your only place to be able to nurture somebody enough in order to get them to take the next step.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:24:35] So, for example, I might have a short Reel that’s just a kitschy funny Reel about a mistake I see people making when legally protecting their online businesses or not legally protecting their online businesses. And I’m just pointing out this mistake in the Reel. And then, I say read the caption and I talk about why that mistake is so big. I talk about the way that you’re supposed to do it. And then, I would tell people I have a free legal workshop called Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow your Online Business that you can watch to make sure you, not only don’t make this mistake, but avoid these other ones as well. And then, have my call to action to come watch the legal workshop.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:09] So, it just needs a bit more time and development than the amount, I think, that you can do in the Reel itself. It would really have to be like a no-brainer thing, I think. Especially, because you have to remember that new people might be finding you through Reels, too, so they might take a little bit more time, which is totally normal and natural.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:29] So, yeah, I would make sure that we’re doing whatever we can do creatively to get people to read the caption and then really using that as a targeted copywriting space. Like, this is not the place to just pull it a couple words and call it a day or some flowery thing to drop an emoji or whatever, unless it’s really your goal. I think it’s the place to really walk these through.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:25:53] I would rather see you post fewer Reels that are more targeted and evergreens that actually walk people through certain things and get them to watch your free webinar, or download your free thing, or get in your free group, or whatever. The kind of the next nurturing step, get on your email list. I would rather see you do that less often and really take the time to develop these.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:14] Tip number six is to have fun with them while also making them educational and familiarizing. Meaning, getting to know either your brand or your product or both. So, you don’t have to do lip sync or voiceover Reels or the kind of more kitschy Reels that you see if you don’t want to. You can do original ones, too.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:37] Like, I was just saying, I think they can be a little bit more work where if I was to do a Reel that was like, Six Ways that you Should Do This. And then, I had to go do six video clips teaching you and then have at the end a call to action to my workshop. I think that could be a really impactful Reel. It would also take more time.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:26:53] I know that in the Instagram algorithm or whatever it is, we don’t get as many views for that or whatever. I haven’t really played with this myself too much yet in the sense that I don’t care how many views something we get. I’m more interested in whether it gets to the right people, whether it’s helpful, whether it converts, all of that. So, I would be curious how that would go, but just know there’s no one way to do these. I think the point is just to have them be helpful.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:21] So, if you do the lip sync, or voiceover ones, or a trendy one, or something like this, then, again, we want to go to that caption. The caption can still be educational and helpful. The caption can still be the place where they get familiar with your product. You can also do both. So, sometimes I will teach something in the caption and then introduce myself because I’m kind of doing it under the idea that a lot of new people might be finding me this way. So, I’m saying, “Hey, I’m Sam. I’m an attorney turned entrepreneur. This is what I do. This is how I help people.” And then, I’m letting them know about my freebie and the call to action.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:27:55] So, you can have fun with them while also making them educational and familiarizing people to your brand. But most often when I hear people saying like, “I don’t see anything from them” or “I don’t get anything out of it,” “I don’t think it’s helping my business,” I go over and I look and they’re cute Reels but they just have nothing to do with your business. So, it’s like, yeah, because it doesn’t make sense that somebody would want to follow you. Or you don’t have these calls to action or you’re not telling people to read the caption, or I go, “Look at your caption,” and it’s one sentence, or there’s no call to action in your caption. There are just so many of these little puzzle pieces that can really, really help.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:31] Tip number seven is that you want to not take it too seriously or put too much effort into them, unless you want to. If you’re the kind of person or you have the kind of brand that requires you to be really made up, and dressed up, and makeup, and hair, and all of the things, or whatever it is that you do, then that’s totally cool. But I just don’t want you to think that that’s required.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:28:57] I think I’m probably a pretty good example of somebody who doesn’t care. I just don’t care that much about it. I would rather just be comfortable and be myself. And, frankly, with the amount of content that I choose to create and to put out, and also with the size of the business I have now, it is not realistic for me to only film content when I’m in perfect condition. It doesn’t make sense. I would never get it done.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:24] So, I always have my hair up. I’m okay not getting dressed up. This is also consistent with my brand. I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m not super stuffy. I’m not standoffish, I hope. But that is me. That is me as a person. So, it makes sense that that would be my brand. And so, it’s okay to do Reels like that. I just wanted to share this with you because I don’t want people to think that you can only make Reels if you do, do them highly stylized or made up. And there’s a lot of room for people who are just being themselves.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:29:54] I actually think that having really good lighting is more important than the way you look. Remember, most people are just thinking about how they look. But having clear bright lighting, a clear background, like not too cluttered or dark of a background, I think that those kinds of things actually go a longer way just because it attracts people’s attention and it looks bright and inviting. But I think that that is really helpful.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:19] So, personally, I’d rather just look like myself, be myself, also be consistent with what your experience is going to be if you come into my company. If you purchase something from me, you’re not going to get a super stylized made up person anyway. So, this is me. This is what you get. So, I kind of want to be consistent in that way. So, there’s definitely room to do that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:30:41] Tip number eight is that you have to look for trending music or audio clips on the Reels tab of Instagram. There’s a little arrow when you go to the Reels tab on the bottom of your phone on Instagram. When you start looking at Reels and you start scrolling up and scrolling through those Reels, you’ll see where the name of the audio appears. There sometimes is an arrow that’s, like, pointing straight up, and that will mean that that audio is trending.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:07] So, I don’t necessarily only pick things that are trending, but I definitely look and I see whether that’s something that I could kind of translate to what I do. What I always do is I watch those trending Reels and my mind, instantly – I think this just becomes a habit. So, this is something you have to start practicing doing and then it becomes very natural – I think like, “Oh. Okay. She was talking about it from this angle. I can totally see how I can flip this around.”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:31:36] And at the end of today’s episode, after I’m done going through the ten tips, I’m actually going to show you from start to finish exactly how I go from concept of Reel to the Reel that you see on Instagram. Like, all the steps, the tools that I use, the methods, how I get it all done, and quickly too. So, I’m going to share that with you at the end so watch all the way through.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:00] Tip number nine is that you want to get inspiration from related entrepreneurs or businesses. So, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to be people in your field. Like, I don’t look at anybody who does what I do, because that just really helps me to keep my eye on the prize. Go back to episode one of On Your Terms, community over competition is BS. But I like to look at what people in my space do who serve a similar audience.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:24] So, for example, my friend, Christina Galbato, she’s amazing with Reels. She teaches people how to do Reels. And the other day I saw her do a Reel with Beyonce music, where she was joking about entrepreneurs wanting to drink. Like, being so excited to drink coffee in the morning and getting pumped up and pumping themselves up for the day with coffee. And then, the music scratches and slows down only to show the entrepreneur super jacked up and frazzled when she actually does go to start working because she’s had so much coffee.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:32:56] And I instantly thought I could totally switch this up to somebody being excited, like the beginning of the video was somebody being excited to start their own business, super pumped to get online, to open up their computer, and all this kind of stuff. And then, when the music changes, it’s like, them losing their shit because they realized that they don’t have any legal protection. So, I made a Reel out of it and it was pretty good. It went pretty well. And I got a lot of people who ended up signing up for my stuff from it.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:21] So, that’s just an example where you can kind of see how like, “Oh. I see that she’s using it in this way to make this analogy. But this is the analogy that would apply in my industry or on my topic.” And so, I think that that can be really helpful. So, that was kind of a double tip because that audio was trending. And then, I also was able to use the inspiration of the analogy that she made and how she made the flip. But mine was, obviously, totally different. It’s a totally different industry. It had nothing to do with it. But yeah, that’s what Reels are for. So, that’s tip number nine.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:33:58] Tip number ten is a COIA tip that you will thank me for later, but make sure that you save all of your Reels drafts to your phone. I actually have a two step process for this because I’ve lost them at both points. But a little unknown fact until they recently added a small little note inside of the app, if you delete the Instagram app off of your phone or lose it for some reason or log out of it, you actually lose your Reels as drafts.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:27] So, I had one time made a whole bunch of Reels, saved them as drafts, deleted the app off of my phone for the weekend, and then lost all of the Reels that I made. It was so upsetting because at that time I was spending way more time. I was new and I didn’t know how to make the Reels. So, spending so much time doing it, it was really, really frustrating.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:34:46] So, now, I have a two step system in place. So, when I make the Reel directly on the platform, I save it as a draft before I even put any captions on it or anything so that I always have the video. Because you can always redo the captions, but the video is the hardest part. So then, when I go through and I put on the videos or the stickers and the captions and all that kind of stuff, then I save it again so that then I have a version of it on my phone that has all of that stuff on it as well. So, now, I’ll have two versions, the original video with nothing on the screen and then the one with all the captions.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:20] So, I save both of those on my phone. I highly recommend so that you don’t lose it because – oh, my gosh – I couldn’t imagine putting in that much work and then losing it. I know so many people who have done that, and it’s super upsetting.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:35] So, with those ten tips, I want to get into both sharing my process of how I go from start to finish creating a Reel and also getting into the audience questions because I posted on Instagram that I was creating this episode and so many people submitted really good questions.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:35:51] So, the first question was actually exactly what I’m talking about, sharing my process. Stephanie on Instagram asked, “What’s your process for finding trending Reels and music on Instagram and then turning them into Reels of your own?”

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:04] So, here’s my step-by-step process. First things first, I scroll through the Reels, like I was saying, that are already on Instagram. I look to see what’s trending with the arrow, but I also just watch other Reels as well. And I try to see if there are any of those that stand out to me that either look like fun, like I would look forward to actually creating them because that’s key in making sure that you get them done. Or that are just like, “Oh, that is perfect for what I do. I can totally see how I could translate that or make that into a story.” So, I look through those and then I save them.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:36:39] So, in order to save the audio, you click on the audio itself and then hit Save Audio at the top. I am somebody on Instagram who once I hit 10,000 followers earlier this year, for some reason, I all of a sudden then lost my Instagram music. So, I only have terrible, unlicensed music on Instagram. I can’t get any access to anything that’s any fun. So, this is really crucial for somebody like me because I have no other way to get audio.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:08] So, I hit Save Audio and then I go into Asana, which is like my lifeblood. And so, in Asana, I have a Reels Ideas section and a planning section. A Project, it’s called in Asana. And so, in that Project, I then put the name of the audio. Because on Instagram Reels, audios will sometimes have a weird name or they’ll have the person’s name, the creator’s name on Instagram. And so, I put that in the task name. And then, in the description of that task, I actually go through and I type out whatever the lyrics.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:37:45] Let’s say it’s a voiceover one, like there was the one I did from Schitt’s Creek that’s like, “I have never seen somebody say so many wrong things one after another again and again in a row,” or something like that, it was from David Rose. And so, I go and I type out the words that he says. So, first of all, I can practice saying it a couple of times and/or look at it on the screen. But then, also, I kind of then use that little script that I write out in the description box to put underneath of it what I want to say on the screen.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:17] So, I will put in brackets or in all caps or something like this, like on caption on screen, and then I will write out just start to draft it out. So, I see and make sure that it makes sense so that it make sense with what I’m actually going to be saying or what the audio is saying in the background. Also, so that it makes sense for my business so that it captures somebody’s attention.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:38:38] And then, making sure that I’m like, “Okay. Then, what’s the call to action going to be? Is the call to action going to be to follow me, to engage, to watch my workshop, to read the caption, whatever.” So, I write that all out in the section of the Asana task. It’s at that time, too, that I go over probably one of the most important, if not the most important part, of creating a Reel in terms of making sure that other people actually want to click on it, watch it, find it on the Explore page, which is what is the little caption, the sentence, or phrase going to be that I’m going to choose for the cover photo? That is huge.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:14] If you’re going to spend the bulk of your time on anything when creating Reels, I honestly think it’s that because nobody’s going to watch your Reel if you don’t have anything. So, I’m talking like the thing that you see on screen, the bubble you see on the screen before our Reel starts playing, that part is crucial. Any time that you can use language like you, your, or something like that, that’s super helpful.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:35] I think anything that’s just going to kind of quickly describe, like, four myths when it comes to working out or – I don’t know – something like that, or I’ll do four red flags I see when legally protecting your business, something like that is really just attention grabbing, but it also tells the person what they’re going to see in this video.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:39:53] So, a lot of times when I’m scrolling through and I see people on Instagram, it’s like really flat cover photo, whatever, recalling that cover photo captions. And it’s just not something that if I didn’t know them, sometimes they are people that I know and I’m like, “If I didn’t know you, I would have no clue what this was actually about or why I should watch this Reel.” You want to think about if somebody saw this, somebody was my ideal client was scrolling through it and they’re getting inundated with so much content, what about this would grab their attention and make them want to stop to scroll and look at this? If you just spend a couple of minutes on that, just that tip alone, you will see your real views, engagement, followers, whatever skyrocket. And that’s really what we want. So, that’s my answer to what’s my process.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:42] Let me know definitely in the comments or send me a DM on Instagram @samvanderwielen if you want to know more about my process or if you have any questions, of course. But I have a couple of other audience questions that I want to answer before we go today.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:40:54] So, Rachel said, “Are they really worth your time and energy? It seems like my casual Reels do better than my business one.” So, that’s a really good question, Rachel. And I would say, hopefully, after you’ve listened to this episode, you would see that they’re worth your time and energy if you’re going to do them with a purpose. I don’t think like doing them without a purpose, like you’re just doing them and you don’t really have any sort of plan or any clear defined goal as to why you want to do them, then it’s not worth your time and energy.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:41:23] Also, it’s kind of like our health, right? Like, if you’re not sleeping, and drinking water, and moving your body, or getting some sunlight, or practicing some self-care, or something like this, we’re not really in a position to add on other stuff. That’s kind of how I see it when it comes to content. So, if you’re not nurturing the SEO content of your business’s house then you’re not really in a position yet to add on fun stuff, experimental stuff.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:41:51] So, I would be more concerned of, What’s your content hub? What’s the main piece of content that you’re creating that’s SEO driven, that’s optimized, that people can find you, all that kind of stuff, whether it’s a podcast episode, a YouTube episode, a blog post, and then maybe even like meshed together. But if you’re not doing that already or you feel like you don’t even have that process down, then maybe you can wait to add this on.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:42:17] Or you can take an experimental fun approach to it and follow some of the tips in today’s episode. And then, I would say that they would be worth your time and energy in terms of doing this for your business. If you’re here to run a business, you want to grow an online business, then I would say the Reels should be in support of that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:42:37] I would also be curious, though, Rachel, when you said it seems like my casual Reels do better than my business ones. Well, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with casual ones, because I know Rachel and I know her personality and I know what she does. And they’re not that different.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:42:52] So, in terms of casual, like making people slow down and take care of themselves, nurture themselves, be sweet and kind to themselves, practicing meditation, those are things that I would say are more casual that you do. But then, first of all, you could use those for engagement Reels, but there’s also just a nice way that you can translate those into a call to action to what you do to a freebie, to a workshop, to something. So, I don’t think that just because something that’s casual doesn’t mean it still can’t be in support of your business.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:43:28] Another person, Anonymous, she submitted a question saying, “I have a fear of being seen versus just my brand or my business. Do you have any advice for me?” So, I really struggle with this question when it comes to online business, and people want to know if they can have an online business without being visibly present, like without showing their face, without talking on camera.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:43:52] You know, I have a hard time giving any answer other than my honest opinion, in general, which is, just that I would find it very hard to believe that someone could build a business these days without doing this stuff. Does it mean that you have to share every last detail about yourself or your life? No, definitely not. People are here to be educated, to learn from you, to have fun with you, to get to know you in a way. But you don’t need to share all of yourself. There can be little parts and pieces of yourself that you can share.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:44:24] But even if you don’t talk about yourself, or your personal life, or your hobbies, or your interests – which I still think would hurt your business – I don’t know how you would build a successful online business these days on social media without talking to camera, doing video. I mean, not only is the whole world moving in a direction of video, and now it’s like not just video, but fast video, like quick clips of video, but we also are on these platforms that are all visually driven.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:44:55] Instagram is a visual platform. It started as a photograph platform. Now, it’s moving into video. TikTok is all video. Facebook is, like, it’s whatever to post some things, but it’s still posting pictures and they push things like Lives, and Rooms, and Groups, and I don’t know whatever else. So, these platforms are all visual platforms, and what I believe is that in online business, we get the benefit of being able to work from anywhere, do anything kind of stuff.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:45:23] But in order to shortcut the trust and the connection that would be required that you might form in a different way, maybe even faster with somebody in person, you have to show your face. So, if it was a service-based business or if it’s a business where I’m going to sign up where you’re going to be my coach or you’re going to be my mentor, I’m going to take a course from you, I, personally – this is just me – would not buy from somebody who I probably didn’t get to know first.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:45:55] You know, I think back to anything I’ve purchased, anybody I’ve worked with, I’ve been attracted to their personality, to their way of doing business, to how they run their life, what their life looks like, that it emulates my values and that that’s something that I want to do. So, that’s just my two cents on it, in general, is that I would encourage you to work on this, if you want to, if you want to have this kind of business. And if you want to have an online business, I would encourage you to dive into this fear of being seen.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:46:25] I think that actually creating a business has been a beautiful opportunity for me to work through that. I wouldn’t say I’m over it by any means. I think everyone has a degree of a fear of being seen. I certainly have that as well. And I think that this opportunity has just given me a really good opportunity to try to work through it. And I know a lot of my friends have as well.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:46:48] And then, I would just encourage you to think about whether or not this kind of business is for you. Because it’s not like this is the perfect or only way to run a business. There are many, many ways. There are also other kinds of businesses. So, service-based businesses, I think, in particular rely on a personality and more of a personal brand, but many other kinds of businesses don’t. So, there are many, many options out there, I think, for somebody who wants to have a business where there’s not so much personal involvement. It’s not reliant on the face of a founder or something like that. And so, I would encourage you to dive into that.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:47:20] Okay. So, I hope that you enjoyed all ten of these tips about how to create Reels that actually support and grow your business. I hope you enjoyed some of the legal ones, too, in case you’ve had any of those questions. Overall, I would just encourage you to keep Reels fun, experiment them like you do with any other kind of content in your business. But have them make sense for your business. Have them have a purpose. Otherwise, this is just kind of like an energy leak in your business, where you’re pouring in all this time, money, and effort into something that there’s not really any return for.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:47:52] So, I would give it some thought about how you can create evergreen Reels that actually support your business. Play with it. Don’t wait until things are perfect. They don’t need to look like everybody else’s. You can just have fun with them.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:48:05] So, if you enjoyed this, let me know. DM me on Instagram @samvanderwielen. Of course, it’s helpful for you to subscribe, like, follow, do all the things, I really appreciate it. Let me know what your number one takeaway was from this episode. I can’t wait to see what you implement with Reels.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:48:24] Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow your Online Business at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.

Sam Vander Wielen: [00:49:03] Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.

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