Instagram reels have taken off in a big way in the past year or so. Now a reel cover may seem like a small and perhaps not so important element.
You may have heard the debate, should you use reel covers on your instagram reels? Will they affect the performance of your reels?
I have always like to use covers as they look more on brand and look better on my feed, but I had heard people saying that it could lower your reach, and I wasn’t sure that was true until I heard an Instagram expert say ‘Instagram wouldn’t give you a feature that they don’t want you to use’. And it makes a lot of sense. Why would instagram have the option of adding a cover if they didn’t want you to use covers?
Instagram also recently added a button to allow you to edit or add a reel cover after you have already posted your reel. This further shows that they see covers as a worthwhile feature, and that aesthetic matter, if they are giving you the chance to change or update your covers. p.s this means if you want to upgrade old reels and fix your covers after reading this blog post you can ;)
The Goal of Reel Covers
So let's look at a few of the benefits of reel covers.
Reel covers don't show when people are scrolling through reels, so they don’t disturb or hold people back from viewing your reel and discovering you. Reel covers are more to help people explore your content on your account, once you have drawn them in and sparked their interest in what you do.
They are for new people who come across you and want to explore your content, to get to know you and decide if they wan to follow you as well as for your exisiting followers, whenever they decide to go head to you account to look back at your old content or if they want to find something within your feed.
OR for people exploring a hashtag to see if there is any content that sparks their interest.
This means your reel covers should have the goals of:
- Making it clear what the reel is about, so they instantly know if it's something that interests them.
- Be click worthy, sparking curiosity and interest so someone wants to click and take a look.
- Be on brand to contribute toward a consistent brand identity.
- Being designed to look good at any size, including when cropped down to main feed and profile feed size.
Consider that someone may be scrolling through your instagram or through a hashtag looking to see what content catches their attention and appeal to them. If your cover is just a photo or the text is very vague you aren’t letting people know what the reel is about and so they will likely scroll past.
If you're a copywriter and someone wanted to find some tips on writing emails, but all your reels covers were just images of you on a laptop and pretty stationary, how can they know which reels will appeal to them?
Just like a YouTube thumbnail or a blog post or podcast title, people will look at those things to help them decide what to click on and consume.
Don’t think of your reels just as a piece of content that gets views in those first 24 hours. Also think of it as bite sized evergreen content that people can go to and explore when they come across your account and what to get to know you and what you can offer. Just like someone scrolling through your youtube videos or blog posts, make it easy for them to find what content appeals to them most.
A lot of people are finding they are getting views of their reels weeks later. So it’s worth considering the people who will look at your reels long after they are created.
Why is there Resistance to Reel Covers, and How do you Beat it?
So why are some people resistant to using them? The one downside to reel covers is that it is just another step. With all the content you need to be creating as a business owner, the more time saving we can make it and the less barriers there are the more likely it is that we will be more consistent and then see better results.
However there are a number of benefits to reel covers, so to overcome the time problem, using templates is a great way to go. If you batch create some reels, then open up a set of reel cover templates and batch create some covers quickly. You just drop in some images change the text to your reel headline or hook and you're ready to go. SO with the right processes it doesn't have to be time consuming or a barrier to creating content.
And remember that Instagram allows you to go back and edit old reel covers. So if you have to post a reel in a hurry and didn't get a cover sorted, you can always go back and add a better one when you are batch creating.
Want pre-made beautiful reel cover templates to save you time? I have 3 sets of reel cover templates to save you time and have ready to go designs.
The Benefits of using Reel Covers
Here are some of the great benefits of reel covers.
Using reel covers:
- Creates a cohesive brand identity and makes you feed aesthetic and organised. It all helps build a strong and recognisable brand. So when someone sees a piece of your content they instantly recognise it as being from your brand
- Makes your content easier to consume as people can scan over your reels and find the ones they are interested in.
- It sets your reels apart in hashtag feeds. A well designed reel cover is going to grab attention among all the other reels.
- Keeps your reels looking good among the rest of your main feed, so it won’t ruin the aesthetic of your main feed.
- It keeps your reels more organised so you can easily find and reference old reels that you want to re-share or send to someone and it's easier for your audience as well.
So if you aren't already consider taking those few extra moments to create a cover when you make a reel. Find a process that works for you so it doesn't become a barrier for creating content, such as batch creating or using pre-made templates.
I'd love to hear from you
Come join me on Instagram to chat more about this! You can comment on a post or send me a DM and let me know your thoughts or ask a question.