In 2020, Instagram launched Instagram Reels, a new feature for creating and viewing video content that is just a few seconds long. The intention? Compete with the gigantic phenomenon TikTok. Thus, the platform could continue in the race to attract and retain users.
This has greatly favored content creators, both users in general and companies and brands, who have thus been able to integrate videos into their content strategy on Instagram. Do you want to do it too?
In that case, you should read this guide in which I will explain what Instagram reels are and how they work. In addition, we will show you step by step how to make a reel, plus some extra ideas and tricks. At the end, I will tell you about the tools that will help you succeed in this section of IG.
What is Instagram Reels?
Reels is a section of Instagram in which short videos of all kinds of topics are published in vertical format. Here users can edit their content at will, adding texts, music, voices and filters so that the message of the video is better conveyed.
Being a fully visual social network, Instagram decided to incorporate short videos into its options so users wouldn’t have to go to TikTok.
The acceptance of Instagram reels has been absolute, so much so that, in 2022, they were also added to Facebook. Even YouTube was inspired to create Shorts.
What is the Duration of a Reels?
At first, the reels had a maximum duration of 15 seconds, since the idea was not to extend so much.
But this limit has been extended and now there are 4 duration options: 15, 30, 60 and 90 seconds . Thanks to this, users can better adjust their content, varying the duration depending on the theme and its purpose.
This is important because viewers are used to an average duration according to the theme. For example, for guide style reels, perhaps 15 seconds would be insufficient. While for the funny, meme type , 90 seconds would be too much.
What are the Measurements of Reels?
For a reel to look good on any screen, Instagram has made it a requirement that the video be recorded at 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels and with an aspect ratio of 9:16 . Although you can also use the 4:5 aspect ratio for reels when they appear in the main feed.
It’s important to follow these steps because the Instagram algorithm will automatically adjust the files you upload (when you don’t record them directly from the Reel feature).
Advantages provided by reels
If you have a project beyond personal use, and you bet on reels, its creation involves working and previously designing a content strategy and a Social Media plan.
It is not about making reels because it is fashionable, but because they are going to help you meet your objectives as a brand and add value to your audience in some way.
So is it worth including reels in your marketing strategy? Of course. These are the advantages you will get:
1. Generate more engagement
Video content tends to generate more engagement than images and text on IG. For this reason, reels is a very good addition to the social media marketing plan because of the engagement it produces.
2. More visibility
Reels by default are set to display in the Explore section of IG , so more users can see your content without having to be your follower. As an extra benefit, those who are interested in your brand can become followers.
3. Facebook integration
If you’re not using a social media management tool, you can set your reels to post simultaneously to your Facebook page. This saves you work and makes your presence on Social Media homogeneous.
4. Help with brand image
Reels has many features for video editing, which will allow you to adjust your content to the style of your brand, and, at the same time, please your followers with a quality reel.
5. You get more traffic
Since more users will see your content, if you put a link to your website, blog or eCommerce, more people will reach your corporate website, blog or eCommerce. This way you will have more visitors to convert into leads.
6. Increased sales
Whether you’re selling a service or a product, creating a well-edited reel can generate more interest in your reel and drive more people to buy it. To do this you have to be very creative, making the best possible use of the editing options available.
How do Instagram Reels Work?
Reels has a simple operation. Although they are shown in a separate section on Instagram, they are actually another type of content available on the platform. Its main feature is the duration of the videos and its purpose, which is to offer animated content without having to go too long.
The users are the ones who create the reels, and if the account is public, the short videos are taken to be displayed in the feed of said section. But if it’s private, then they only show up in the account feed.
The reels are separated from the rest of the content in the accounts and in the main feed by the icon of a Clapperboard . In fact, you can go directly to this section by pressing the button with that icon at the bottom of the screen. Or you could also scroll until you find a carousel of Reels.
How to make a reel in 5 steps?
Instagram created the Reels feature with the intention of making it the easiest thing in the world. Let’s see how to make reels in 5 steps.
1. Create the reel at the top right
To start creating a reel, you have to go to the add content section with the “+” icon. This is in the top right of the main feed. You can also access it by going to the profile section and pressing the “+” icon.
Now you must click on the Reel option to start creating your short video.
2. Upload your video, photos or record
Step two is to create the content . Here you have the option to upload it from your mobile device or create it live. If you are going to upload it, you have to press on the thumbnail window that is in the lower left part of the screen. Or, if you prefer, you can swipe up to see the gallery.
And if you want to create the content from scratch, just press the record button that is at the bottom and in the center of the screen.
3. Edit your reel
You can make an edit to the reel before or after creating it. In any case, you will have access to these functions to edit it:
- Audio – Here you can choose from a small list of songs. Once you finish recording the reel, you can add other sounds and voice overs.
- Effects – Add special effects, such as appearance modifiers and filters.
- Your Turn – Choose from multiple stickers to invite your followers and other users to interact.
- Time : select the duration of the reel between 4 different options.
- Speed : regulate the speed of your video. It increases with 1x, 2x, and 3x, and decreases with .3x and .5x.
- Layout : divide the video into several screens, so you can add more than one; like a kind of video collage. You can even use the front and rear cameras for the layout.
- Timer : Set a countdown to start recording automatically. It’s good for hands-free recording.
4. Fill in the fields and adjust the settings
After creating and editing the reel, you have to set up the post, so hit Next. Here you have the following options:
- Indicate whether you will tag a user.
- Edit the cover, either with an image or with a thumbnail of the video.
- Write the copy.
- Choose a location.
- Enable or disable subtitles.
- Change the name of the audio (if you recorded it).
- Activate recommendations on Facebook.
- Indicate if the reel can be shown in the general feed or only in your account.
- If you have the latest Instagram update, you can now natively schedule your reels from this section. If you don’t have it yet, it won’t be long in coming.
5. Post and share
The last step is to share the reel.
To do this, you just have to press the Share button that appears at the bottom. You can save it to drafts to post later or to use as inspiration for future reels.
Ideas and tricks for you to succeed with your reels
In addition to creativity, there are some tricks that will help you succeed with your Instagram reels.
1. Study the Reels algorithm
Reels meets a special need of users: to see fun and short content. Therefore, you have to learn what characteristics your videos must have in order to reach the right audience . Some things that are taken into account are direct interaction between accounts and user preferences.
2. Use the trends
Creating unique content does not mean ignoring what is popular, in fact, using what is trending can generate more views, likes, comments and shares. So find out what’s trending on Reels yourself or check out the suggestions when creating a short video.
This will work for both music and filters and other editing settings.
3. Usa el Inbound marketing
Remember that reels are to entertain users, so avoid doing commercial-style reels.
Create unique content that entertains and “educates” your followers.
A good way to do it is to show them the product or service and its good results. In this way, you can touch their pain points and show them the solution.
4. Be consistent
The more content you create, the more opportunities for success you have .
Remember that there are millions of content creators around the world, therefore there is a lot to watch. If you want to stand out, you have to create new and fresh content, to continue appearing in the reels of your audience.
5. Get inspired by others
As you browse the web, if you see video or audio templates that you like, feel free to save them. Create your own library with your favorite resources.
How to download Instagram reels?
Having the archive of your reels is good to be able to publish them on other platforms where you can’t share them directly, for example, on Twitter or on your website. To download your own reel you have these options:
- Before publishing it : press the Download option that will appear on the editing screen after recording the reel.
- After publishing it : search your feed for the reel you want to download, open it and click on the three dots in the lower left corner. Then click on Save to your device.
If the reel is not yours, you will have to use an external tool to download it.
How to Search for Reels on Instagram?
To find more reels you can use the general internal search engine using a term that is related to the topic you are interested in. Among the results you will find reels, although not exclusively, so you will have to filter them yourself.
Therefore, the best option is to use the hashtags that are in a reel that interests you. This will take you to those with the same tag, those other videos will also have hashtags that will help you get more reels.
Tools for your Instagram reels
If you want to create better Instagram reels you may need other external tools. Here are 3 suggestions for you.
Canva is one of the most versatile graphic design tools. In fact, it has a special video editing feature for Instagram Reels. It has more than 600 templates to create highly customizable short 30-second videos. Of course, some are paid and others are free.
InVideo is a “network-ready” online video editing tool that you can use to create amazing visual content for your posts.
InShot is a very complete video editing app and it is available for Android and iOS. Here you can create very striking reels by adding exclusive sources, music, stickers, filters and adjust the playback speed, among other editions. And of course, cut and paste pieces of video.
This is another multi-functional Android and iOS mobile app for creating and editing reels. Although it allows you to create long-lasting videos, its functions work very well for short ones. You will be able to add text, zoom, cut and paste clips, put filters, add music and other audio, and many more powerful editing features.
Capcut is a very intuitive free tool that allows you to create videos with different effects, templates, subtitles or audio. The results are great and
With this basic guide, you have learned what is necessary to start using Instagram reels and incorporate them into your marketing strategy on social networks. Obviously, beyond knowing how this section works, the most important thing is the content, it has to be valuable and attractive to the audience.