Instagram Reels always perform best when they're shared to your profile grid. Getting that initial burst of engagement from your followers signals the algorithm to push your Reel to reach many others in the explore tab. However, they can look out of place compared to your other posts if you've curated a visual brand aesthetic.
Here's how to add a cover photo to your Instagram reels
You can also preview and edit how your Reels cover image will look in your profile grid by selecting "profile grid".
You can drag the cropped view into position and also pinch and zoom with your fingers to get the image to crop how you need:
Reels with visually appealing covers are more likely to be viewed which can draw more users to your profile and result in more engagement overall.
What should you include in your cover photo design for a reel?
Reels share roughly the same dimensions as Instagram Stories (1080 x 1920 pixels). Keep in mind that Reels shared to your profile will be cropped to a square in the grid as above.
Reels covers can be used to give followers a glimpse at what your Reels are about when viewing your Grid.
The most important thing to include on your cover image is a title. This is so the audience looking at your grid knows what the reel will be about before they click to watch.
I normally use Canva to design mine.
If you’re designing in Canva, you have to start an Instagram Story. Then I recommend you start designing with your text, image or anything you want to add in the centre square of your design.
Pro tip: use a transparent square from elements to check how it will look and then delete it before saving:
If this is new to you and you want to change previously published Instagram reels the good news is you can now edit the cover photos of a published Reel – so you can retrospectively improve your visual branding on Instagram!
If you'd like to learn more about Instagram Reels and you're ready to take the time out of reel making and start showing up on Instagram Reels like a pro enrol in our Get Reels Ready course.