Instagram Reels is finally here, marking the beginning of a calculated decision by Instagram to offer short form content to its users, clashing with TikTok.
It is however, not too far from the format of Instagram stories, so if you’re already adept at those, you should have no problem transitioning to Instagram Reels.
Ready to get started?
How to create and upload an Instagram reel in 3 simple steps:
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram’s take on the dominant TikTok, and other platforms like Byte and Triller, Instagram Reels is a new format of content on Instagram that allows the creation of 15-second videos using popular songs.
Rather than creating a separate app for reels like Instagram did for IGTV, Instagram implemented its reels so that users can create, share and consume them through the main app.
Just like IGTV videos, you can post reels to your feed, and if your page is public, then your reels has the opportunity to show up on the new Reels space on the Explore page, so that people not following you can discover them.
According to Instagram, ‘Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram, and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage.’
While the reels algorithm is fairly new and hasn’t been set in stone yet, it seems to be similar to TikTok’s For You page, and is likely shaped by who you follow, what content you interact with, and where you’re located.
This means that there is a huge potential to grow your following if you use reels in the right way!
Step #1: Selecting Music, Speed and Filters
To get started creating your first ever Instagram Reels, first open the Instagram Stories camera and select the ‘reels’ option at the bottom.
Before filming your video, you can use the Instagram music library to find music to go with your reel, or alternatively, you can use your own audio, which will appear when posted as ‘original audio’, instead of the name of your selected song.
Note: If your Instagram account is public and you’ve shared a reel with original audio, people can select ‘Use Audio’ on your reel to create reels with your audio.
There is also the ability to select which part of a song you want to appear.
Next up is to set your timer and countdown.
The timer allows you to record and of your clips within your reel hands-free. When you press record a 3-2-1 countdown will show, before recording begins.
Just like Instagram Stories, you can select one of many effects in Instagram’s effects gallery, and each clip within your reel can have a different effect.
Lastly, you can choose either to speed up or slow down part of the video or audio that you have selected. This can help you stay on a beat in some music you have added, or make slow-motion videos.
Step #2: Shooting The Video
The next step is to record your Instagram reels, which is done fairly similarly to how you would record some content for Instagram Stories – just press and hold the record button. As you record the indicator at the top of the screen will show how long left you have to record.
Remember that a reel can be comprised of many videos stitched together, not just one continuous video, and you can even use videos from your gallery.
Once done recording, you can add other types of effects to your videos, such as GIFs, stickers and text.
You can also choose at which points in your video the text appears, by setting the slider so that it covers the period in the video you want it to show.
Step #3: Share It!
Once it’s good to go, just tap the next button to share your Instagram Reel.
Far from Instagram Stories, Instagram Reels allow you to add a caption and hashtags, and even edit the video thumbnail (which does not have to be from within the video, you can upload one from your camera roll), tag your friends, and select where you want it to be shared.
If you have a public Instagram page you can share your reel to a dedicated sphere in Explore, where it can pick up traction from the wider community on Instagram.
In addition, you can share your reel with your followers, by posting it to your Instagram feed, where it will appear under a new reels tab on your profile.
When someone views your Instagram Reels video, they will see the same sort of information as if they were seeing a normal post from you: your username, caption, hashtags, music and effects (if you used any).
If you have a private account, your reels can only be shared to your feed for your existing followers to see, and people will not be able to use the original audio from your reels.
How to Watch Instagram Reels
To watch reels, go to the explore page and tap on the Reeks section.
From there you can discover a selection of reels made by any public accounts on Instagram, as well as like, comment and share them with your friends.
You might also notice reels tagged with ‘Featured’. According to Instagram, “featured reels are a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content we hope will entertain and inspire you.”
If your reel is featured in Explore, you will receive a notification letting you know.
And that’s about it!
No-one really knows how big Instagram Reels will become, but it certainly serves as a reminder that short form content is on the rise, and we think that if it manages to follow in TikTok’s wake, it may be onto something.
Although Instagram Reels may not be available in your country yet, now is the perfect time to learn how it all works so you can hit hard when you get access!