There’s this extra feature on Instagram in the Explore page – an alternative way to record 15 to 30-second clips that allows you to uncover your most creative side with your effects, music, or audios to create content – Instagram Reels.
Instagram Reels was first launched in Brazil in late 2019, and it is now available in over 50 other countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Japan, on both iOS and Android.
Various influencers and brands have already adopted though it’s being disparaged as a “TikTok copycat. The idea is to maintain the already existing TikTok accounts whilst also leveraging on the new Instagram Reels for more sales. Brands like Walmart, Sephora France, Loius Vuitton.
If you are wondering what Instagram reels is about, and how it works, we would answer all of your questions and more in this post.
What is Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels is a new way to create fun and engaging video content. In a couple of Instagram Stories from the @creators account, Instagram 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.”
Just like TikTok, Instagram users can record and edit together 15 to 30-second video clips set to music, and share them to their Stories, Explore Feed, and the new Reels tab on a user’s profile.
But where TikTok has the “For You” page, Instagram gives Reels an exclusive landing spot at the top of the Explore page. Just tap the first reel at the top, and you can access the Reels feed. From here, you’ll see Reels from popular and trending accounts on Instagram.
How Do I Create My First Instagram Reel?
Using Reels is not so different from using Instagram Stories. However, ensure that your Instagram app is updated to the minimum version of 153.0.
Then, follow the steps below:
Open your Instagram account, the Instagram Stories camera, and tap Reels.
You will notice a change in the interface as there are now 3 choices at the bottom – Live, Story, Reels.
Tap the Reels option
Before and after you record footage on your Reels camera, you’ll see four editing icons on the left side of your camera screen.
The four controls include:
Sound: This allows you to add an already recorded sound from other users or an Instagram Reels’ featured song list to your content.
Sound overlay tool in these reels.
Playback Speed: This allows you to change the speed of your video, either to speed up or slow down the content.
Effects: This icon, which looks like an emoji outline, allows you to apply special effects. You get to add stickers and filter effects to your video.
Timer: You can tap this icon to set the recording time for your clip. When you tap record, a countdown of three seconds will appear on your screen before Reels starts to record. Then Reels will automatically film for the time you chose.
To record an Instagram reel, tap and hold the ‘Record’ button or tap on the video, and to end the clip, tap on it again. You can also choose the Camera roll option on the left to upload a video from your phone.
Once you have your Reels recorded, review your work by pressing the ‘Back arrow’ button. Here you can choose to trim your video or discard it with the ‘Delete’ button right below.
Next, tap the ‘Forward arrow’ button to add stickers and emojis. You can’t add polls or question boxes to it, but you can experiment with some drawing, recording, the eraser stick, and customize the text.
Press the forward arrow after reviewing the video and adding any last-minute effects, and you’ll be taken to the post screen, where you can choose a cover image, write a caption, add hashtags, and publish your video to Reels.
Tap Share and Done. You can also share the Reel in your Instagram stories.
Further Reading: How Do Instagram Promotions Work & How Will They Help?
How do I find Reels to Watch?
There are four ways to find reels to watch on Instagram:
1. Your Feed
You can browse your Feed to see reels created by people you follow. A Reels icon looks like a small clapperboard on the left-bottom side of all reels. The idea is to differentiate the reels from other Instagram videos.
2. Your Explore tab
On the Explore page, a reel will be at the top right side of the screen. Tap the video to watch, and then scroll down to see more reels.
3. A particular audio or hashtag
If you tap the audio name or hashtag at the bottom of a reel you’re watching, you’ll see a page with other reels featuring the same audio or hashtags.
4. Search for hashtags
If you type a specific hashtag into the search bar, you’ll probably find reels using that hashtag.
Reels in Explore shows the most trending culture on Instagram. There’s an entertaining selection of Instagram Reels made by various people on Instagram, in a vertical feed recommended for you. So, if you come across a reel you love, you can easily like, comment, or share it with your friends.
You may also come across some reels with a “Featured” label. Featured reels are a selection of public reels Instagram chooses to show you original content to entertain and inspire you. If your Reel is featured in Explore, you’ll receive a notification.
What’s Next for Instagram Reels?
When Instagram launched Instagram stories in 2016, they had just about 150 million users. Currently, Instagram stories have over 500 million users and counting. Quite frankly, Instagram Reels has a similar potential to even surpass Instagram stories.
Many influencers and brands already use these reels to promote products. With the branded content tags on reels, brands are leveraging the opportunity to partner with influencers to create branded reels for your Instagram.
The update helps Instagram ensure creators undoubtedly state when they’re creating branded content, increasing transparency, and making it easier for creators and brands to create, share, and amplify branded content.
The Shoppable reels is also an Instagram reels update. When a Reel includes a product, users can tap “View Products” to learn more about the product, save for later, or go ahead and purchase.
This will not only be a platform for brands and businesses to share creative content, but it will also be an extra way for advertisers to promote their products.
Instagram Reels will also be a way for brands and businesses to understand their Instagram community even further. Currently, the only analytics available for Reels are view count, likes, and comments.
But, just like on TikTok and Instagram Stories, we expect comprehensive analytics for these reels in the future.
Instagram Reels is steadily growing in popularity with the many features it offers. And, it gives you a new way to create more compelling content, better understand your followers, and increase your reach on Instagram.
Make sure to test creating content and get used to the limitations of Reels before you start creating your brand content as well. Once you have a grasp of the process to film, edit, and upload videos, give it a try, and have fun!