Instagram Reels – What Marketers Should Know


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Photo of phone with Instagram Reels logo on pink background

Are you pumped about the latest interactive tool at your disposal? The launch of Instagram Reels gives you another way to delight and entertain your fans.

And with the huge popularity of TikTok, especially by the Gen Z crowd, it’s no surprise to see something similar pop up on the Instagram platform. 

Short-form videos are crazy popular. And you can get started with Instagram Reels by using your existing video content resources. You can even reuse videos you’ve posted on TikTok! 

Find out how Instagram’s “creator-centric” feature benefits you and use our fast Instagram Reels tutorial to make your first video reel in minutes. 

What Are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels demonstration
Image Source: Instagram

Instagram Reels is the newest way to share engaging videos on Instagram. Simply click the Instagram camera button, select “Reels,” and record and edit your 15-second video. 

This feature rolled out to Brazil in November 2019, followed by debuts in France, Germany, and India. On August 5, 2020, Instagram turned on this feature for users in the United States.  

But this TikTok lookalike does more than just sharing a video to your Story or feed. During editing, you can:

  • Combine multiple video clips.
  • Add original audio or music from the Instagram music library.
  • Use the AR effect gallery to add filters.
  • Adjust the speed of each clip.
  • Insert text or stickers.

Instagram Reels vs. Tiktok

Since its première, a common question people ask is, “Are Instagram Reels like TikTok?” And the answer is a resounding yes – Reels are similar to TikTok. 

And with TikTok’s massive success, it makes sense that other social media channels would want to mimic the platform.

According to Sensor Tower, TikTok had 614 million downloads in 2019 alone, whereas Instagram garnered 376.2 million downloads. 

Although your Instagram audience may differ from your TikTok fan base, the basic editing tools and features resemble TikTok. 

Both channels let you start and stop recording at your own pace, but the biggest difference is that you can upload 60 seconds of footage in a TikTok video compared to only 15 seconds on Instagram.

You’ll also notice subtle branding differences, with many people calling Instagram Reels the “grown-up version” of TikTok.

Instagram tends to feel more curated and polished, whereas TikTok offers “Real people. Real videos.” 

If you’re already an Instagram user, you’ll find the editing functions super easy to use. New TikTok users can find video creation tools confusing at first. 

Example of Tiktok
TikTok Video

Example of Instagram Reels Video
Instagram Reels Video

Pros and Cons of Using Instagram Reels

If you use Instagram engagement for growth, then Instagram Reels is a must-do marketing tactic. It offers several advantages, including:

  • Increases visibility of posts
  • Gives Instagram users more ways to interact with your content
  • Lets you reuse video resources 

A major pro of Instagram Reels is that it gets more eyes on your content.

Your Reel goes under your Reels tab, shows up in your main profile grid, in Feeds, and under the Explore button. 

Suggested Instagram Reels Show up In Your Feed

Your post may also pop up on dedicated topic pages with the right hashtags, effects, or music. 

And “video is consumers’ #1 favorite type of content to see from brands on social media,” according to Animoto, so having a dedicated video reel is sure to win over fans. 

Plus, it’s easy to line up your clips for a seamless transition when showcasing fashion styles or makeup effects.

Lastly, Instagram makes it easy to repurpose longer video clips or user-generated social content into super engaging mini videos. 

However, if you share your Reel to a Story, it acts like Story. So your reel doesn’t show up in Explore or your profile and disappears after 24 hours.

But honestly, there aren’t many other cons of using Reels. Because if you’re already sharing video on Stories or IGTV, then Reels is a feature that belongs in your toolbox. 

How to Create an Instagram Reels (Step by Step!)

It doesn’t take long to get started with Instagram Reels. You can create a Reel one clip at a time, 15 seconds at once, or upload from your video library. Follow these steps to share a Reel within minutes. 

  1. Click on the camera icon at the top of your screen. 
  2. Select “Reels” at the bottom of the screen. 
  3. Set the timer to choose your clip length or swipe up to pick an existing video.
  4. Choose your audio, playback speed, and effects.
  5. Tap the record button to create a new video snippet.
  6. Tap the arrow to go to the next screen.
  7. Add stickers, text, or drawings.
  8. Choose your cover image, write an Instagram caption, add relevant hashtags, and tag friends.
  9. Click Share to add your Reel to Explore and your Feed, if you wish! 

Instagram Reels Tips + Tricks for Marketers

Take advantage of this new feature and skyrocket your Instagram marketing efforts by using Instagram Reels best practices and tips. 

1. Put Your Content Front and Center on the Explore Page

With Instagram Reels, your stunning visuals appear larger on the main Explore and hashtag pages. Users still see content based on what they’ve liked or viewed. But, Instagram also handpicks videos to showcase!

Get more eyes on your Reels by:

  • Selecting your best Instagram images and videos for Reels
  • Writing captivating captions or adding text to your video
  • Tagging influencers or fans who contributed to your Reel
  • Researching hashtags that’ll generate more views

2. Reuse Tiktok or Stories Video Content

One of the great things about Instagram Reels is that you can turn your existing TikTok or Instagram Stories into a Reel. 

You can even do a multi-clip video that uses various snippets from your TikTok or Stories content. This is a way to save time and increase engagement without creating new videos.

3. Create Speedy Tutorials and How-Tos

Instagram Reels are ideal for sharing makeup tips or fast tutorials. 

The speed controls and alignment options allow you to insert your branding then jump right into helping your fans. 

Plus, the effects add a playful experience, and adding text is a sweet way to add a call-to-action. 

4. Promote New Content in Instagram Reels

Add Instagram Reels to your content promotion plan to get more eyes on your Instagram profile and website. 

After all, you already promote your latest posts with eye-catching Pinterest and Instagram images. Now, you can create a short video that encourages fans to check out your latest how-to post. 

Lights, Camera, Action! 📺

We hope this settles it – there are few cons to using Instagram Reels and taking it for a spin!

Take advantage of this new feature to turn your IGTV and Instagram Stories content into new Instagram Reels.

So, go ahead. Play around and design some fresh videos today!

Pin Me For Later 📌

Curious about new Instagram Reels and what they could mean for your IG content? Read our quick guide here to brush up on all the facts and ways to use them!

 

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Jessica Elliott, a marketing technology writer and social media enthusiast, tracks the latest trends to help companies maximize their resources through content marketing.

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