5 Mistakes You're Making with Instagram Reels

Feel like your Reels aren't performing as well as you want? Let's talk about the 5 mistakes you're making with Instagram Reels.

October 29, 2023
5 min read
5 mistakes you're making with Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are the key to organic reach, engagement, and growth on Instagram. They’re insanely popular and there are so many different types of content that you can use to keep your Reels fresh and interesting (click here for some content ideas you can start using right now). But what do you do when you’re investing time into Instagram Reels but not seeing the kind of return you were expecting? 

If you feel like your Reels aren’t performing as well as you want, then it could be because you’re making some mistakes in the creating or editing process. The good news? The biggest Instagram Reel mistakes are all easily avoidable — you just have to know what they are and what you can do instead. We’re here to give you all of the details you need to know.

​​5 Mistakes You're Making with Instagram Reels

You’re not starting with an attention-grabber

Our attention spans just keep getting shorter and shorter. In fact, it’s decreased significantly over the past 15 years. And now, as a whole, humans have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish — a whopping 8.25 seconds

That’s why it’s so important to grab your viewer’s attention on social media and to do it quickly. When you’re creating an Instagram Reel, your goal should be to have something attention-grabbing on the screen within the first 3 seconds. Start with a strong hook that will reel your audience in (pun intended). The best way to do that is with some kind of interesting text. Which leads us to the next point… 

You’re not using subtitles or on-screen text

Without subtitles and on-screen text, your Instagram Reels are never going to perform as well as they could. Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes content that checks certain boxes, so one of the best ways to make sure your Reels perform optimally is to include text.

You can include eye-catching text on-screen that references what your video is about. Make sure you’re adding text right at the beginning that grabs your audience’s attention and makes them want to watch your video. You can also add text that references your CTA (more on that later). This on-screen text can be added directly through the Instagram Reels editor.

It’s also important to add subtitles if you want your video to be more accessible, more eye-catching, and more highly favored by Instgram’s algorithm. Luckily, it’s easy to add subtitles with just a couple of clicks when you use Zubtitle’s state-of-the-art software. For more information on adding text/subtitles to your Instagram Reel (and a full walkthrough of both), check out this blog post

You’re not including a CTA

Told you we’d come back to this. Typically, your goal with Instagram Reels will probably be to attract more followers and drive more traffic to your page. But the only way you’ll achieve maximum results is to tell your followers what you want them to do and direct them to a specific action.

That’s why it’s absolutely vital to include a clear call-to-action (CTA). And you should do more than just pop it into your caption. Try to include a CTA in the on-screen text of your Instagram Reel. It doesn’t even have to be the same one as your caption.

For instance, you could include a CTA in your on-screen text that encourages viewers to read your caption, where you can offer more points or expand on the information included in your video. Then, you can include another CTA in the caption where you ask your viewers to share your content on their story or with a friend, visit the link in your bio, hit the follow button, check out your new launch, etc. 

You’re not uploading a cover image

When you upload your Reel, you can simply choose a frame from the video to serve as the cover image that will be displayed on your Instagram grid. But that’s a mistake in terms of optimizing the performance of your Instagram Reels.

If you want to entice more people to click on your Reel, then the best idea is to create and upload a cover image. Much like YouTube, an eye-catching thumbnail image with an enticing headline will typically reward you much higher engagement rates and views.

You’re creating over-long Reels

You may know that Instagram Reels can be anywhere up to 60 seconds long. But that doesn’t mean your video should be that long. Why? Because Instagram’s algorithm favors videos that are 1) watched all the way through and 2) watched multiple times by the same viewers.

That’s why it’s so important to keep your viewer’s attention through the entire video. And one of the best ways to do that is by keeping it as short as possible. If you’re having trouble keeping it short, try breaking your content up into multiple micro videos and turning it into a series. 

Which of these mistakes have you made with Instagram Reels? Tell us in the comments! 

And don’t forget — if you want to add captions and headlines to your Instagram Reels with Zubtitle, you can sign up for a free account today and start creating!

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