- What is Instagram Reels?
- What’s the Difference Between Instagram Reels & TikTok?
- Why You Should Use Instagram Reels for Your Business
- Where Can You Watch Instagram Reels?
- How to Create Instagram Reels
- How to Edit Your Instagram Reel
- How to Publish an Instagram Reel
- How to Use Instagram Reels for Your Business and Clients
- Inspiration: Brands Using Instagram Reels
What is Instagram Reels?As mentioned above, Reels allow you to publish 15-second multi-clip videos to Instagram. If you’re thinking that sounds pretty familiar, that’s because it is. It’s a lot like TikTok, the number one most downloaded app in the Apple Store and sixth largest social media network (right behind Instagram).
Image Source: OberloNot familiar with TikTok (really?), that’s okay. You can check out our Beginner’s Guide to Creating a Marketing Strategy for TikTok or just skip ahead to the topic at-hand and watch this demo video of Instagram Reels in action posted by the good folks at TechCrunch: And here’s a tweet direct from the Instagram team that introduced Reels:
Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, has been planning to challenge TikTok for some time now. The first attempt, an app called Lasso, lasted just 20 months after its launch in late 2018 and the timing of Instagram Reels launch is nothing short of strategic. The future of TikTok in the U.S. was called into question on July 31, amid privacy concerns. By August 5, Instagram Reels was available in over 50 countries, including the U.S. and Canada. Well played, Zuck. Well played.
Hellooooo, Reels 🙌Introducing a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram. Reels is rolling out today to more than 50 countries around the world. 🤳🤩🎥✨😂👀💯https://t.co/RfXDhYawSF pic.twitter.com/FjSGSpSGpn Instagram (@instagram) August 5, 2020
What’s the Difference Between Instagram Reels & TikTok?While many might consider Reels to be a clone of TikTok, there are a few key differences:
- Instagram Reels lives in Instagram This might sound pretty obvious, it’s an important fact to consider. Given Donald Trump’s executive order against TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, influencers will (potentially) have no choice but to switch over to Instagram Reels if they want to continue making money off their posts. The other thing to note here is that, with Reels, you’ll be able to share your posts with your existing IG network.
- Licensed music on Reels It hasn’t been made official yet, but Facebook has confirmed that it’ll be integrating licensed music in Instagram Reels soon.
- Time limits TikTok’s maximum video length is currently 60 seconds, while Instagram Reels only allows for 15 second video clips.
- Sound sync + audio suggestions As of now, IG Reels is missing a key feature that many TikTok users love; sound sync. Sound sync allows users to automatically sync their various clips to the sound of the music. TikTok also provides audio suggestions that align with the content you’re creating.
Why You Should Use Instagram Reels for Your BusinessAccording to Instagram, with Reels, “you can share with your followers and can be discovered by the huge, diverse Instagram community on Explore. As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, Instagram has over one billion monthly active users around the world.” If you or your clients already have an established following on IG, you won’t have to build a new audience from scratch on yet another platform. And, while Instagram Reels capabilities and algorithm are perhaps not yet as robust as that of its rival, the app has a history of refining its updates to surpass its competition. Think Snapchat: after Instagram launched its Stories feature in 2016, it took just eight months for Instagram Stories to exceed Snapchats daily user count, according to CNN. With the impending threat of Trump’s executive order against TikTok’s parent company, we’ll likely see a flock of TikTokers rushing over to Instagram Reels in the coming weeks. If you’re overwhelmed by Instagram Reels after you just got the hang of TikTok, don’t worry. We’ve got you. Let’s dive into how you can access and create Instagram Reels:
Where Can You Watch Instagram Reels?So, you might be wondering how to find examples of Reels on Instagram. Unfortunately, Instagram has made it a bit tricky to find Reels that other people have published. As of now, there are three ways you can see them:
- Scroll through your feed and look for posts with the Reel Icon in the bottom left corner. Once the clip starts, the icon will expand and say “Watch Reels” before contracting again. Clicking on the icon will let you access Instagram’s Reels Explore Page. Unlike Stories, Reels won’t auto-play the next Reel and you’ll have to swipe down to continue browsing through them. Check out the Reel below created by Rhea Freeman to see what we mean:
- Navigate to the Explore Page by clicking the magnifying glass at the bottom of the app. There, you’ll likely see a Reel featured at the top of the page. Click the Reel and swipe down to see more.
- If an account has published Reels, you will see the icon featured on their profile. The icon will show up directly below their bio. Clicking on this will display all of their active Reels. The Instagram Reels Explore Page will show you Reels from accounts you follow, accounts that are trending, and accounts that Instagram has deemed relevant to you.
How to Create Instagram ReelsAnd now, the part you’ve all been waiting for – let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of how to create Instagram Reels. There are two ways you can access the Instagram Reel’s Create Mode.
- Create Reels while watching other Reels in the Explore Page. While browsing through other peoples’ Reels, all you have to do is click the camera icon (top right of the screen) and you’ll be taken to Create Mode.
- You can also access Create mode from your Home Page. Navigate to the Instagram camera at the top left of your screen, then slide to the Reels option at the bottom of the screen. There, you’ll be able to start recording and editing your own Reel
- After you’ve selected a video, you can edit the length by using the trimming tool located at the bottom of the screen. The clip will play repeatedly and a bar at the top indicates what percentage of the time you’ve used up. You’ll also see options at the top right of the screen to add Instagram Stickers, draw on the clip, and add text. Just like you would in Instagram Stories.
- When you’re ready to upload the clip, click on the upload button at the top right of your screen.
- You can continue adding clips until your 15 seconds are up by repeating the steps above.
- Heads Up: most of the editing tools for IG Reels are not available on prerecorded videos. If you’d like to use Instagram Reels, but want the flexibility of using prerecorded videos, you can use a video editor like Veed to easily modify and optimize your video clips for Instagram Reels.
- This method also lets you use the Reels editing tools to enhance your videos while you’re recording them. We’ll talk more about the editor in a moment…
- Heads Up: these features need to be selected before you record your clip
How to Edit Your Instagram ReelInstagram Reels has a variety of editing features on the left side of the screen.If you’ve uploaded pre-recorded videos from your gallery, you’ll only be able to use the Music editor. All the other functions are exclusive to videos filmed from within the app and need to be selected before you start recording. Here’s what you can do:
- Browse and add music (music icon)
- Adjust the playback speed of your recording (play button icon)
- Add effects to your recording (smiley face icon)
- Select how long your recording will be (timer icon)
- Align your clips (2 screen? icon)
How to Add Music to Your Instagram ReelsStart by clicking on the music icon to access the audio editor. You can browse through the various categories that Instagram has populated for you or use the search bar if you’ve already got a song in mind. Once you’ve picked your song, you can use the audio editor to pick the portion you want featured in your recording. Just drag your finger along the audio trimmer at the bottom of your screen. Instagram also provides suggestions for where you could start your audio. These are indicated by the colored notches on the trimmer. TIP: Want to use the music or sound from someone else’s Reel? That’s fair game! Just tap on the audio on the Reel from the Reels Explore Page, then tap Use Audio. It’s worth noting that this will create a new Reel from scratch.
How to Adjust the Playback Speed of Your RecordingsWhen recording a video directly from Instagram Reels, you have the option to slow down or speed up your clip by using this feature. Simply click on the play button icon in the editor menu, choose the speed you prefer, and start recording.
How to Add Instagram Filters to Your ReelsSimilar to Instagram Stories, you can add filters to your Instagram Reels while you record. All you have to do is select the Smiley Face icon on the left side of your screen, pick the effect you want, and start recording. TIPS:
- When you’re recording multiple clips in Instagram Reels, the effects will switch back to the default after you’ve captured your footage. Make sure you apply your desired effects each time you start recording a new clip.
- Want to explore more Instagram Filters? When choosing one, scroll all the way right until you see a magnifying glass and click on it to browse all the available effects. You can scroll through the list, use the categories at the top to narrow your options, or click the magnifying glass at the top right of your screen to search by keyword.
- Check out this awesome tutorial video on how to add a custom green-screen to your Instagram Reels
All week were sharing tips on how to make reels with different features. 💫Reels is a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram. First up: how to use green screen ✅ pic.twitter.com/Nc1Y5zKoPv Instagram (@instagram) August 5, 2020
How to Set a Time Limit on Your Instagram Reels RecordingThis is a really helpful tool when you are stitching together multiple clips into one Reel. By selecting the timer icon, you’ll be able to select how long your clip can be before recording it. A bar will popup that shows you how many seconds you have left and the slider lets you adjust the length of the video you’ll be adding. After setting the time limit, you’ll click on the Reels button to start recording and a 3 second countdown timer will appear before the recording starts.
How to Align Multiple Clips in Instagram ReelsIf you’re stitching together multiple video clips of one subject in a Reel, you’ll definitely want to check out the align feature. This feature will overlay the final frame of your previous clip so that you can align the one you are recording for clean continuity. Just make sure to select the align icon (last option on the left side of you screen) before recording your next video snippet. We could explain it for you here, but you’re better off checking out this awesome tutorial by Parker Kit Hill:
How to Publish an Instagram ReelNow that you’ve created and edited your first Reel, there’s one final step left: Publishing it for the world to see! Here’s how you’ll do it:
- Click the right arrow beside the Reels recording button.
- Here you’ll be able to review your Reel in full before publishing it. You can also edit the post with drawings, stickers, or text.
- Once you’re satisfied with your Reel, click the right arrow at the bottom of your screen.
- Here you’ll be able to select a cover story from the recording (or add your own from your media library), add a caption (don’t forget your Hashtags), and tag other users.
- You can choose to share it to Instagram Reels or share it as a story. If you choose to share it as a story, it will disappear after 24 hours, like a typical Instagram Story.
- You also have the option of sharing your Reel to your Instagram Feed. Use the toggle to turn that option on or off.
- If you’re ready to show the world your Reel, press the Share button. If you want to come back to your Reel and share it later, you can always save it as a draft.
How to Use Instagram Reels for Your Business and ClientsNow that you know how to record, edit, and post your first Instagram Reel, you’re probably wondering what content you should be sharing. Here are four ways you can use Instagram Reels to drive reach and engagement for your clients and your agency:
- Share a behind-the-scenes look at your business Your audience (as well as new potential customers) want to get to know your personality. Create Reels that showcase your team or offer a sneak-peak at a new project. This is an excellent opportunity to have fun, be creative, and show your true colors!
- Leverage influencers Just as your existing strategy on Instagram and TikTok might involve Influencers, so too can your Instagram Reels strategy. Remember to partner with influencers who represent the values of your brand. Instagram users worldwide two-thirds of which are under the age of 35 are savvy and can easily spot inauthentic partnerships.
- Provide informative and educational content “How To’s” are an excellent (and non-salesy) way to engage with your audience. The key to success here is to provide helpful resources that will resonate with your prospective audience. If you or your client sell athletic sneakers, you may want to share a series of 15 second stretches to reduce soreness after a run. Run a bakery? Share “So Yummy” style explainer clips on how to create mouth-watering desserts. You’re probably thinking that 15 seconds is too little time to provide a solid how-to video. You’re probably right, but you can always share a series of Reels or direct people to a link in your bio.
- Showcase your product or service in action Whether you’re launching a new product or service or highlighting an existing one, you can frame your Reels in a way that subtly promote the benefits of your offerings and address the pain points they resolve.
- Hype people up for your sale or promotion Tease or announce promotions on your product or service using Instagram Reels. As always, make sure that you are following Instagram’s Promotion Guidelines.
- Start a challenge We’ve seen our share of internet challenges over the years, and there’s no doubt that the internet loves them. Get creative and start your own! Just make sure it doesn’t include anything dangerous or offensive (IE: we’re looking at you Tide Pod Challenge folks 🤦♀️)
Get Inspired by Brands Using Instagram ReelsLooking for ways to use Instagram Reels for your business or clients? A little inspiration can go a long way. Here are just a few examples of the many brands and influencers that are using Instagram Reels:
XboxXbox tapped into Instagram Reels audio functionality to allow users to use their XBOX sound on their own Reels. Clever.
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Our Planet DailyPeople on the internet go nuts for cute animals. While you might not have any bear cubs in your (home) office, sharing videos of your pets can be a solid way of generating some engagement and helping people connect with your brand on a personal level.
MaybellineRemember when we mentioned creating challenges? Here’s Maybelline’s #maybeitsmaybelline challenge in action.
Burger KingBurger King is no slouch when it comes to using humor in their ads. Check out how they leveraged Reels for some serious LOLs.
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RedbullHere’s Redbull doing what Redbull does best; engaging their target audience with extreme videos that they’ll love.
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ASOSFashion giant, ASOS, can be seen here using the align feature on Instagram Reels to create instant wardrobe changes.
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HungryHuttonHere’s Hungry Hutton giving a “how-to” on creating Watermelon Sour Patch Chilitos. This is 100% a “smash” in my books.
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SephoraIn this reel, Sephora combines the Instagram Reels Align feature + effects to create a fun clip featuring their Bubble Mask.
NetflixNetflix keeps their IG Reels nice and simple. They just use original content from their shows and movies and share them directly into Reels. This goes to show that Instagram Reels are just another channel that you could use to get your content in front of the eyes of your audience.
There you have it! Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about Instagram Reels, how are you planning on using it? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok or give us a shout if you have any questions!View this post on Instagram