The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Reels

Instagram reels- the new way to record 15 to 30-second clips set to music on Instagram.

Have you seen the new tab that takes center stage on the new Instagram navigation bar? That is the Instagram reels we are speaking about.

In this article, we will be answering questions such as; what is Instagram reels? How can you use Instagram reels in your marketing strategy? what is the difference between Instagram Reels and TikTok?


What is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is the latest Instagram video feature. It is a brand new way to create fun and engaging video content on the platform.


What you need to know about Instagram reels.

Instagram users can now record and edit video clips of 15 to 30 seconds and share them to their Stories, explore feed, and the reels tab on a user’s profile. Similar to TikTok is it? Yes. If your app is updated, you can find reels at the forefront of Instagram- center stage of the new main navigation bar. 


Instagram has explained the reels tab as a place to watch short, fun videos and helps your reels get discovered by new audiences on a bigger, global stage. On the reels tab, you are not limited to seeing reels just from accounts you follow. As you scroll, you will also see reels from popular and trending accounts on Instagram. The tab also provides you with a creative entry point that opens directly to the reels camera, auto-play videos, and other impeccable experiences worth looking out for. Apart from the new reels tab, you can also find reels on the explore page.

You may discover some reels have a 'Featured' label above the caption. According to Instagram, “If your reel is featured, you’ll receive a notification. Featured reels are a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content we hope will entertain and inspire you.” And if you find a song or audio clip you like, you can tap the music and select “Use Audio” just like you do TikTok. You can also select music from a huge library or use your audio. If you notice your account does not have the music feature, you can either record your music and audio or you can edit your video outside of Instagram Reels. Apart from being able to select the music of your choice, there other video editing tools for you. You can trim and delete video clips. There’s a video countdown timer, you can choose to adjust your video’s speed, and there’s a library of video effects to choose from.


Why did Instagram launch reels?


We can consider reels a direct response to the growing popularity of TikTok, which has seen a sudden surge in the past months. According to Adweek, TikTok generated “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 2020. There has also been rapid changes in TikTok’s core demographic. Once upon a time, it was dominated by Gen-Z users, millennials now make up a greater share of TikTok’s user base than ever before and this development has made the platform an attractive proposition for advertisers.


So it’s not all that surprising to find Instagram trying to replicate TikTok’s most popular features. Previously, we’ve seen Instagram attempt to launch a TikTok alternative but we can say they stand a better chance this time because of all the exposure and familiarity that comes with it.

Unlike IGTV where audiences can tune in to each episode with their favourite brands, Reels is filling the gap of high-quality content that’s still informal but has a longer shelf life than 24 hours. Instagram sure knows how to replicate a tried-and-tested format with success and with reels, It’s a more dynamic and creative opportunity to showcase more of your personality and brand. 


How to Create Instagram Reels

There are three ways in which you can access and create Instagram reels; the Reels tab, the Instagram home screen, or the Instagram Stories camera. 


To access through the Instagram home screen, tap the “+” on the top right and scroll to the Reels tab at the bottom of the screen.


To access through the Reels tab, tap the camera on the top right.


To access it through the Instagram Stories camera, simply open the Instagram Stories camera and find the Reels icon positioned either between the default normal mode and create mode or on the bottom menu next to “Story”. From the screen, you can select your audio by tapping the music icon. Next, choose the speed of your video by pressing the play icon. Decide how long you’d like your video to be by tapping the circle with 15-seconds on the left-hand side. When you press, shuffle between 15 seconds and 30 seconds. After deciding on the length of your video, proceed to select how long your clip will be by selecting the stopwatch icon. You can also set a timer. When you do, there’ll be a countdown before the recording starts. You can choose between a 3 second and 10-second countdown. You can Change the countdown duration by tapping the number next to 'Countdown'.


Just like Boomerang mode, you can apply effects or AR filters to your Instagram Reels video. You can either make use of any previously saved filters or you can scroll to the end and tap 'Browse Effects'. After filming, if you wish to trim or delete any of the clips, tap the back arrow to the right of the record button, tap into the clip of your choice, then select the scissors to trim or the trash to delete. Finally, you can use the draw and text tools and select from several Instagram Stickers. When you are through you can choose to edit the cover photo with a video thumbnail or add a cover from your camera roll.


You can share the Instagram Reel to your Stories, explore feed, and the new Reels tab on your profile.


From past ventures, it is safe to assume Instagram Reels has a bright future ahead. When Instagram Stories was launched in 2016, there were 150 million users. Four years after, over 500 million users use stories every day. So, now is the best time to take advantage of Instagram reels because the competition is still low. Use Instagram reels to promote your brand. Also, since Instagram has introduced branded content tags on Reels, brands will most likely jump on the opportunity to partner with influencers to create branded Instagram Reels.