Refinery29 Somos shares tips to tell authentic stories with Instagram Reels

clock imageOctober 14, 2022

The day in the life of a small business owner is a busy one. There are so many things on your to-do list, but there’s always time to create content and share your story—or anyone else’s story, for that matter—on social media. In celebration of Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month, we connected with @r29somos deputy director @raquelreichard to learn how her team speaks to their readers through rich storytelling in Reels.

Earlier this year, Raquel cocreated the Somos series Dear Cuerpo, which includes powerful reels where Latinas write love letters celebrating their bodies. Here, she breaks down the tips her team used to bring personal stories to life that you can use to help attract your target audience.

Know your message.

Before you do anything, make sure you have identified what core message you want your audience to walk away with after watching your reel. “First, we identified 5 body topics we wanted to explore,” Raquel says about creating Dear Cuerpo.

Do you want your audience to feel inspired or take action on something? Have that key message nailed down before creating your content.

Use social media to cast talent.

From there, she says, her and her team leveraged Instagram to connect with talent. “I tapped into those creators who I know have talked about some of the body topics we wanted to explore in this series,” says Raquel. “Some, I reached out to via DM. Others, I emailed based on the information that they had on their Instagram bios.”

If you plan on sharing your customers’ stories, reach out to them on your Instagram business account and ask if they are interested in sharing their experience on your page. Your followers list is a great place to start.

Authenticity is key.

Personal stories provide an excellent opportunity for building connections with your target audience. “We made some edits, making sure that we are staying true to [everyone’s] story the entire time,” Raquel says about the personal profiles on Somos. “Authenticity doesn't just make for better storytelling that is honest and comprehensive—it also makes for better reception from audiences who know that they can trust you.”

Prep your talent.

Once your participants have agreed to share their story with you, help them feel at ease being vulnerable online. “On recording day, a producer virtually coached [talent] on good lighting and encouraged them to show some personality,” says Raquel. “If the talent did not have a ring light, we asked them to face a window and record at a time when they would get the best natural lighting.”

Remind talent to relax and be themselves.

Edit your clips.

“That same producer pieced together photos and [participants’] handwritten letters to create a gorgeous collage,” says Raquel. No worries if you are creating this reel yourself: you can recreate the same vibe using stickers and effects in Instagram for a fun, polished look in an instant.

Ready to level up your content? Here’s everything you need to know to create great reels.