It just launched in August, but most likely you’ve heard of Instagram Reels by now. You may be asking yourself, what exactly is Reels? And better yet, how can I use Instagram Reels for my business? Keep reading because we’re going to fill you in on what it is, how to create them, how to use it for your business, and some ideas for making your own videos.
What is Instagram Reels?
Reels is part of the existing Instagram app and allows users to create and edit short videos (3–30 seconds) that can then be synced to music or audio clips. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s very similar to TikTok.
Reels videos you create will show up directly in your follower’s feeds, the Discover feed, and will live on your profile under the newly added Reels section. You can also create and share them to your Stories, where they will expire after 24 hours like other Stories content. You can tell a post is a Reels video based on the icon in the bottom left-hand corner.
Because Reels show up in your regular content feed, you’ve probably seen them already and didn’t even realize it.
With the latest app update, you can now find Reels front and center in the new main navigation bar. This is clearly a push by Instagram to encourage users to browse and create Reels more often.
Reels can only be uploaded from your mobile device. Reels videos filmed directly from the app are filmed in portrait mode and can be filmed as a full take or a series of takes stitched together. You also have the option to upload them directly from the camera roll on your phone.
Step-By-Step: How Do You Create Instagram Reels?
Open the Instagram app and click on the + icon at the top right-hand corner.
At the bottom center, scroll over to Reel to get started. From here you can either choose to record your video clips right from the app by clicking the round icon in the bottom center, or by clicking on the icon in the bottom left to choose from existing video clips in your camera roll.
You’ll notice a few options on the right-hand side. The top option will change your Reels video length from 15 to 30 seconds. The second option is for audio (currently not available for business accounts). The third option changes the speed of your video clip.
The fourth option is for effects. You can choose from a bunch of different filters and effects that will change the look of your video.
The fifth option is the timer. From here you can further shorten your clip length if you’d like and you can set up a countdown timer to show before filming starts.
After you’ve recorded one clip, a new icon will appear at the bottom. This is the align option and will help you align your new clips with your existing one.
Once you’ve recorded all of your clips, click the right-pointing arrow to continue.
At the next step, you can add GIFs, emojis, drawings, and text to your Reels (like you can with Stories). Your Reel will also play on a loop so that you can see what the final product will look like. Once satisfied with your video creation, click on the right-facing arrow in the bottom right corner.
Next is where you can add a caption and choose how you’d like to share your Reel. You can choose to share it to Reels, where it will show on the Reels Discover page and on your profile. You have the option to also share it on your Feed or not. The other option is to share it on your Stories, where it will disappear after 24-hours. If you choose to save it as a draft, it will live on the Reels page of your profile under Drafts and will only be visible to you.
Be sure to do some trial runs and get used to the options and limitations of Reels before you commit to creating your brand content. Once you have a grasp on the process to film, edit, and upload Reels, have fun with it!
How to Use Reels for Your Business (with Tips and Ideas!)
If you already have your business on Instagram, why not give Reels a try? Creating content on Reels will put your brand in the Discover section of Instagram and help you reach more potential customers. It’s still pretty new and if you jump on the trend early you may have a greater chance of your content being visible to more people. Also, a lot of other companies are just repurposing their TikTok videos, now is your chance to stand out and create unique content for Reels.
You do have the option to add captions to your Reels, but odds are that most people watching them aren’t going to read a caption, especially if it’s long. If you have a call to action (CTA) or key point to include in your Reel, make sure it’s in your audio or any text that you add to your video so the viewer does get the message.
If you’re familiar with Instagram, you know that hashtags can get you discovered by even more people. This is where captions on Reels can be handy. Just like with posts, people can search certain hashtags and your Reels will show up.
Our number one tip is to create Reels that you genuinely enjoy making and it will shine through to your audience. Don’t overthink it. This could cause your Reels to appear inauthentic and less natural.
Want to give Reels a try but having trouble coming up with ideas? Here are a few to get you started:
Highlight Your Brand, Employees, and Personality
People like it when they can make authentic connections. This can only come from being real (and even really silly at times) with your audience.
Go behind the scenes:
- Give a quick tour of your office
- Share a moment in the day-to-day life of you or your team
- Share your experience while at a conference or event (even if virtual)
Show the human side of your brand:
- Share the morning rituals of your team members
- Share a mistake you made that your audience can resonate with
- Introduce yourself or your staff in 30-second interviews
Let your brand personality shine:
- Browse other Instagram Reels to see what’s trending and jump on ones that match your brand’s messaging
- Share how you came up with your business idea and what you went through to make your vision a reality
Focus on Your Product or Service
Focusing on your product or service is a no-brainer, but you have to be creative in how you do it.
Show how your product is made and used:
- Try using stop motion videos, where one scene ends and jumps into the next, to show the progression of your product being made from start to finish
- Create a quick tutorial on how to use your product by speeding your video up and adding an entertaining voice-over
Highlight the services you offer:
- Share a video of you providing your service, for example: a timelapse of renovating a bathroom from start to finish, the reaction of a satisfied customer whose car you just detailed, or a before and after for a cleaning service
- Shoot a quick video to show how you provide your service differently than your competitors
Share a sneak peek of an upcoming product, service, or piece of content.
Share testimonials and reviews — feature the person giving the review on camera or spice up a text review with graphics and audio.
Educate Your Viewers
As with any piece of content, you want to add value for your audience. Be sure that some of the Reels you create are providing useful information to help them.
- Answer frequently asked questions or responses to a Q&A session (make this one into a series!)
- Come up with tips that you can share that your audience will relate to, for example: a restaurant can provide wine-pairings, a cleaning service can provide organization tips, or a makeup artist can provide makeup tutorials
- Share any big news within your industry along with your additional insights
- Make a video to debunk myths within your industry or that you hear your customers talking about
Once you’ve gotten the hang of Instagram Reels and have shared multiple videos with your audience, be sure to track how many times your Reels videos have been liked, commented on, and shared. See what’s getting the most engagement and use this information to help you make future decisions on the types of Reels to create.
And while you’re at it, be sure to add Instagram Reels to your content promotion plan to get more eyes on your content and hopefully more visitors to your website.
Instagram Reels has the potential to improve your connection with your followers and to help you reach more people. Focus on making your Reels fun and engaging to keep the attention of your audience and keep them coming back for more.