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Introducing Instagram Reels: a new way to record 15-second clips set to music on Instagram.

Sounds familiar right? It is Instagram’s solution to the TikTok phenomenon (got to love a bit of friendly competition). To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a guide to Reels and how you can integrate it into your strategy.

What is it?
  • Instagram users can record and edit 15-second video clips set to music and share to Stories, Explore Feed, and the new Reels tab on a user’s profile.
  • Reels offers a wider variety of editing tools, including effects, sound, speed controls and the ability to align multiple clips for cleaner transitions.
  • Reels can be shared to Instagram’s explore feed (as long as your account is public) so people who don’t follow you can find them. This is similar to your normal explore feed and another great way to build your following.

How is it different to Stories?

  • You have better functionality on text, effects, transitions between videos.
  • You can find it situated on your feed next to your tagged pictures or IGTV channel (circled below)

  1. Firstly, you’ll need to update to the latest version of Instagram which you can do through the App Store or Google Play .
  2. Open up the Instagram camera as you would to use Stories. Select Reels on the bottom of the scroll bar (next to the live and normal options).
  3. You’ll see the editing tools to the side of the screen which are as follows:
    • Audio:
      • You can search for a song from the Instagram music library for your Reel. This library is the same as what you would use for your Instagram Story. You can also use your own audio.
    • AR Effects:
      • The same effects in the Instagram gallery, created both by Instagram and creators all over the world, to record multiple clips with different effects.
    • Timer and countdown:
      • Set the timer to record any of your clips hands-free. Once you press record, you’ll see a 3-2-1 countdown.
    • Align:
      • Line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next, which helps create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes.
    • Speed:
      • Choose to speed up or slow down part of the video or audio you selected.
  1. Use the record button to create your clip or series of clips. You can go back to review and delete. Note: you will have to set the same settings each time.
  2. After you’ve finished, you can add stickers, draw or add text. Similar to your Insta Story. You can also set the time and moment your text is on the video.
  3. Click the arrow on the right of the screen which will take you to write a caption make sure to use a couple of hashtags to encourage reach.
  4. Choose a cover image, add hashtags and get ready to share on your Reels channel and Instagram story.
Do I need to start a Reels channel?
  • You don’t have to but it’s another great way to reach potential customers. What’s better? It’s all housed in the main Instagram app, unlike IGTV, and you can upload directly making it super easy to use.
What do I create?
  • A series of short videos under 15 seconds that use music. It’s meant to be personable, relatable and help build relationships.
  • You can repurpose existing content and house it on the channel i.e. old Instagram story video that you wouldn’t normally post on your feed.
  • Videos could include:
    • How-tos
    • User generated content (UGC)
    • Case studies
    • Product reviews
    • BTS
    • Meet the team
How do I integrate into my strategy?
  • Be strategic, just like you would be with your traditional Instagram content. Know who you’re trying to talk to and create content that resonates.
  • To start, perhaps try a quick how-to related to what you do.
How much time will it take?
  • Like any content, you will need to spend some time putting together a strategy and curating content. You want to have content ready to go for consistent posting and someone who is able to curate on the spot to jump on trends etc.
  • We recommend starting small and posting a few times a week before working your way up to daily.
Is it important?
  • Too early to tell how it will go but it’s worth taking into consideration how popular Tik Tok and Instagram Stories have become because of our appetite for quick, entertaining content.
  • 46% of all content on Instagram comes from stories (only slightly behind the 54% of organic post). Although the percentage of content is lower the engagement is higher.
  • The way the Instagram algorithm works businesses have a harder time coming up on customers’ feeds. People are spending more time on stories so it’s an easier way to reach people in a more casual context.
So, what are they all for?
  • Stories: are live for 24 hours before disappearing, allowing you to share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. They allow a casual side of your brand to shine through with engaging content allowing customers to understand the ‘real’ you.
  • Reels: 15 second videos with music and captions (similar to a story) except it doesn’t disappear. It’s engaging content that is fun and represents another side of the business.
  • IGTV: longer form videos. Instagram has one-minute limit on any feed posts so this is the solution for in-depth interviews, reviews, recipes etc.
  • Feed: this is an extension of your brand, it’s the new world website. This should display what you’re all about what your product/service is and what the experience would be like for the customer.

Good luck and have fun!

You can also watch this tutorial here for a step by step guide to Reels for more info.