How do I get my business noticed online? How can I create an engaged social media audience? How do I convert website visitors and social media followers into customers? What hashtags should I be using? Are Google ads a good investment?

I'm Sydney Chakalos, a marketing nerd and small business owner with a passion for helping other small business owners grow their business using effective online marketing strategies on any budget.

Learn how to create and implement a marketing strategy that strengthens relationships with your audience and increases your bottom line. We'll cover topics around social media, email, Google ads, branding, and websites. Building your brand is a marathon and I'm here to help you win the race.


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Marketing Your Local Business Online Podcast

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Content Marketing, Social Media

Episode 5: 10 Ideas You Can Use for Instagram Reels Right Now

As you may have noticed, Instagram Reels have quickly grown to be a main feature on the platform. Reels are short videos up to 60 seconds that Instagram launched last year, after seeing the explosive success of the app TikTok (a platform that focuses exclusively on Reel like videos). You’ll definitely want to incorporate Reels into your Instagram feed. In this episode, I go through my 5 best practices for Reels, as well as 10 ideas that you can use for your next Reel. 

Best Practices for Instagram Reels

  1. Your Reels do not have to be long. The maximum length is 60 seconds, but don’t feel pressured to use all 60! Short Reels are often more successful than long ones. 
  2. Share your Reel to your feed when initially posting. You can always share your Reel to your story from your profile.
  3. Use hashtags! Hashtags have performed really well on Reels. I suggest aiming for about 15 hashtags per Reel, though you can use up to 30. Put them in the caption!
  4. Use trending audio. Especially if you are not into creating/using your own audio, Instagram has said that using trending audio increases the likelihood of better reach because of the likelihood that someone else will save your audio and create their own Reel with it.
  5. Grab attention with the first line of your caption! Only the first line of a caption is visible when viewing Reels in the Reels tab, so you want your first line to be eye-catching and get them to read on.

*Bonus Tip: have a call to action at the end of the caption or the Reel too!

10 Ideas for Instagram Reels

  1. Provide value or a few quick tips to showcase your expertise on a topic. 
  2. Showcase a transformation or accomplishment. This can be formatted as a “before and after.” Show a clip of you or your business when you first started and then one now to show how you’ve grown.
  3. Highlight a product or talk about a service you offer that you’re currently loving. Don’t forget to mention where you can find/buy the product or service you decide to highlight!
  4. Demonstrate multiple ways you can use a product you offer. For example, if you sell hair accessories, show off all the ways you can style a certain accessory. Or if you own a restaurant, show all of the different ways that you prepare a single menu item. 
  5. Share a client transformation or review. This is a great way to build credibility!
  6. Show “a day in the life” of running your business. Take clips of what you do throughout the day, maybe even get your employees involved. 
  7. Introduce yourself by sharing some fun facts about you/your background/your business. This is a great way to build a personal connection with your audience. 
  8. Find a trending audio clip and share about a common misconception in your industry. 
  9. Highlight something that people do or say all the time that drives people in your industry nuts. At the end of the video you can encourage your audience to avoid doing/saying said thing!
  10. Partner up with another small business or tag them in your Reel. 

*Bonus idea: Use Reels to introduce new products, services, or specials!


If you haven’t been using Reels, I challenge you to try it out. It’s been a great growth tool for businesses, mine included. From my last two Reels, I gained over 30 new followers! Make sure to subscribe to the show on your preferred podcast listening platform and if you’re finding this content super helpful, I would be so appreciative if you took the time to leave a review. Stay connected via the links below!


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meet sydney

Strategist. coach. educator.

get to know me

Hi friends! My name is Sydney, founder of Marathon Marketing & Branding, and I’m so happy you’re here! As you might have guessed, I am an avid runner, which allows me to have more of that pinot and pasta in life. Running long-distance is all about training, endurance, and consistency. I realized that these same traits are directly applicable to social media marketing as well.