How to Use Instagram Reels
In August 2020, Instagram released it’s latest update, which many are calling a copy of TikTok.
When Instagram introduced Stories it was seen as a rip-off of Snapshot and then when Instagram released IGTV it was thought to compete with YouTube. Basically, Instagram is doing all it can to keep users in the app!
Be the First!
With that in mind, what can creators do to cash in on these opportunities? Be among the first to use and master these new features so that Instagram has content and will push it out to others to see and jump on using it, too!
This is your chance to be rewarded by Instagram by using and showing others how to use a new feature, it is likely the app will look upon your account favorably aka boost your content to more viewers.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Many people get hung up on Instagram having to be perfect and therefore do nothing until it’s too late and then wondered what they could do now to catch up.
Jump in head first with new features! Will it be prefect? No, but you can archive those imperfections while you keep trying to figure it out.
One of the reasons I started using TikTok was to get familiar with creating video, which has not been my strong suit. I figured if TikTok continued to grow and capture people’s attention (who knew a pandemic would happen and cause a surge in TikTok creators?!), Instagram would answer that call with their own version. And here we are!
How To Get Started with Reels
Admittedly, Instagram has not made it intuitive to use Reels plus there is an issue with inconsistency of features among users.
If you have a business account you music selection will be different than if you’re an personal or creator account, due to music licensing.
When I started posting Reels (@VinceCincy) I was recycling TikToks and in one week saw my reach increase 500%. That was enough to encourage me to keep uploading to Reels.[note: Vince passed away in September 2020 so I stopped posting regularly]
How To Find Reels in Instagram
You should be able to access Reels through the [+] at the top of your layout or the Reels icon in the bottom menu or in Stories where it says Live Story Reels, tap Reels.
At any point, Instagram could change this layout around so always be willing to look around your account.
If not, go to another account that has posted Reels and look toward the top right for a camera icon and tap that.
Or if you watch a Reels with an audio clip you want to use, you can tap on the sound as it scrolls at the bottom of the video.
On the next screen at the bottom tap use this audio.
How to Create Reels
From there, you’re ready to start creating. Keep in mind, right now you can only delete the last recorded clip.
You have options for speed of the video – Reels are only 15 or less or 30 seconds or less. Effects which are like those you have in Stories. A timer so you can set up your camera and then move into the frame, like in dancing videos.
You can also upload videos:
- if you already created a video in TikTok
- you used another video editing program to string together videos
- you have 1-5 second clips that when pieced together make a coherent video (think a recipe video, it might 5 minutes long but you can take clips of each step to make it into Reels that are no more than 30 seconds long
Unlike TikTok, Reels does not sync together multiple clips to make the best transition to the audio, but does allow you to use sections of a video and hear the sound so you know where to limit the video.
After your video is ready, on the next screen you can add text and set the duration for which it appears on screen.
Captions and Hashtags
You can use hashtags in the caption so why not add some? Along with a strong call to action in the caption:
- share this video with a dog lover!
- save this video for then you need to smile.
- follow me so you don’t miss my next best Reel!
Make people want to engage on your Reels to help the algorithm.
How to Post Reels
You have the option of posting your Reels to your feed or Story. If posted to Story it disappears after 24 hours.
You can choose to upload a photo to use as the cover image, so if you post to your feed it can blend in with your overall look.
I do recommend choosing to post to feed, not just Reels, because right now they seem to get more engagement.
Ideas for Reels
The thing I really liked about TikTok is that I didn’t need to come up with original ideas, the nature of that app is that you could copy another’s video and give it your own twist.
I think that still applies with Reels and I bet we’ll see accounts posting a Reels and encouraging others to use their sound and give it their own spin.
If Instagram’s algorithm for Reels is like TikTok’s we might see a benefit in using another video’s sound because it has a lot of views and will get more when others tap to use the sound and discover your video.
Summary: How to Use Instagram Reels
If you have aspirations of growing your Instagram account, now is the time to start using Reels. Yes, it is one more feature and way to create in Instagram, but the payoff can be tremendous for growth.
Use the above tips to get started with Reels and leave a comment if you have questions.