Let’s cut to the chase: new feature rollouts can either be extremely exciting or a total eye roll.
For most people, Instagram Reels have felt like the latter and the pressure to show up and start using them, frankly, SUCKS.
But literally no one is saying showing up on Reels means you have to dance around in one spot with a forced, slightly scared smile while feeling like an idiot pointing into thin air.
If that feels good to you, ROCK IT MAMA.
If it doesn’t, literally just stop. No one is holding you hostage and saying the only way out is sharing your 3 best tips while you shake them hips and double as an air traffic controller.
So how do you do it differently? Here are 9 ways people are doing it differently on TikTok that can inspire your next Instagram reel.
1. Duet popular videos and add your unique perspective
@MaliaVoiceStudio lets others handle the audio, while she piggybacks their content – and no, I don’t mean this in a bad way. It’s smart af.
As a vocal coach, her videos are duets of other singer’s videos where she writes on the screen and breaks down tips related to why their singing sounds so great. She lets them entertain you with the audio, but she’s the one teaching you along the way. We’ve seen these break down approaches before but always with their audio cutting in, like a director’s cut of something.
This is a super cool approach to show your expertise, especially if you have mic issues or confidence isn’t super high when it comes to your voice. (PS We all hate our voices though and we all sound different on camera. You may need to get used to that!)
2. Act out a two-way conversation
Who’s that cutie in the mirror? Oh wait, it’s me.
You know how you hear us marketers in your ear saying, “Put yourself in your customers’ shoes!” all the time? That’s what @LatinaPreneur does, literally.
Andrea Mora is one of many examples who play two people in a conversation to get their point across, like the student asking a question and the teacher answering. We see this a lot to act out scenarios for storytelling or entertainment content on TikTok, but she’s applied it to simply deliver her topics. She also uses the same music for most of them with a similar background to create that series and brand recognition.
@RyanPinedaShow also does a great job of this.
3. Find a consistent theme and weave it through all your content
There’s a lot of power in keeping a simple, but really noticeable thread throughout your content, especially with video. There’s a wild push for new content all the time that we find something comforting in seeing that familiarity we can look forward to in our feed.
There are so many different ways @JesseJosephGeneau could present his “I Need Answers” series: green screen videos, talking straight to the camera, lip syncing….but he doesn’t. He keeps the exact same music, exact same approach, exact same appeal in every video and he’s the only one rocking it like this. Trust me, you need to watch it to get it. I can’t even begin to explain. Check out his videos here.
Another great example is @JustMe.Rod. His focus is millennials’ workplace anxiety (talk about some seriously nailed niching), and every video is him with a suuuuuuper simple acting piece (usually just him on his laptop making a face) tied with a song and situation reference. You always know what to expect when it’s in you feed, and it’s not hard to do.
4. Use green screens, screen recordings or film your own devices
Let the screens do the work for you!
You realize you don’t even have to show your face much in your content if it’s quality goods, right? As long as you’re teaching some fire takeaways, let the screens do the talking.
Here are a few examples of people who let the screen do the talking most of the time:
- @SaraFinance actually uses the screens to add on to what she’s saying and carry the video
- @MalloryRowan (me) used a combo of recording a computer screen + a green screen with a lil guest appearance here
- @0to10K uses screens in a lot of video, adds some cool tone to his voice and throws in some reaction GIFS
- And here’s an example where @0to10K uses a screen recording which looks a lot sleeker than recording your laptop screen if you want that look
5. Film your own DIY tutorials
Just like the screen videos mentioned above, sometimes you can let your tutorial do the work for you. Whether it’s showing your work or a how-to DIY, you can do it entirely faceless like @PineapplePaperCo.
Want to mix your face in but focus on tutorials? Check out @KataMogz who shows herself in the intro and then goes straight into a tutorial.
Psssst…@PineapplePaperCo also does a great job of leveraging a series by alluding to what’s going to be in the next one!
6. Produce an entire series
Often the answer is to cut back, do less, and make it messy, but this is a perfect example of sometimes going bigger can be better (and more comfortable). The whole “homemade” angle of a lot of TikTok and Reels content may be exactly what’s slowing you down, so don’t be afraid to grab a video team and make something really cool together.
@MattDAvella on YouTube is also a killer example of stellar video quality combined with whatever he’s talking about in a given video.
7. Use quick cuts, transitions and angles
Using quick cuts, changes in angles, or switching locations is an easy way to make a video more visually captivating when really you’re just talking for 60 seconds. You can also find more fun ways to incorporate graphics or your captions to keep eyes engaged on your video and actually consuming the content.
8. Press record and teach what you know
Almost last, but not least: just say what you gotta say.
Doesn’t need to be fancy.
Doesn’t even need songs. (although on TikTok it’s worth adding a trending song in the background to help the video grow!)
Just talk and teach what you’re good at.
@SimpleBeautyHacks does this with most of her videos and has grown a decent audience off of it, and @MikeyTaylor does this well and adds something as simple as a green screen photo or low music in the background.
PS If you’re going to stick to this approach, please consider adding some captions (doesn’t have to be fancy) so your content is more accessible and inclusive.
9. Take advantage of trends but make it your own
Yeah, the last one is actually to dance. But do it your own way!
@HeyNicoleWong definitely leans into the type of videos most of you won’t be into doing, but she combines popular TikTok dances with information, and usually (I’m saying 9 times out of 10 ish) ditches the pointing altogether and it lets her bring a totally different, confident vibe to it.
She’s started to move to more talking videos, but this approach grew her audience…FAST.
She crushes her dance, and adds the tips after…no multitasking required!
Did any of these ideas make you think, “Yeah, I can do that”?! Need some more inspiration, check out all of the examples that we included and don’t forget to add your special touch!
Want to come up with your own social strategy? Check out this 55-minute free crash course and walk away with your content planned for the next month.