Instagram Reels: A Fun New Way to Create and Share Short Videos

millenials creating an Instagram Reel video clip with their smart phone

Last month, Instagram launched their new content format in the United States. Instagram Reels provides a fun, creative way to create and share short video clips. This feature functions similarly to TikTok and offers users a great alternative to that platform, especially in light of TikTok’s tenuous status in the United States at the moment.

Instagram Reels gives you the ability to record and edit multi-clip videos containing music, text, special effects and stickers. The maximum length for these video clips is 15 seconds, which makes them considerably shorter than the 60-second length offered by TikTok. Once your video is done, you have several ways to easily share it with your followers:

  • Stories
  • Explore Feed
  • Reels Tab

Instagram has also created a Reels Explore Feed which is housed on the main Instagram Explore Page. When you scroll through your feed, you’ll be able to see Reels from popular and trending accounts in addition to accounts you already follow.

How Does Instagram Reels Work?

Your Instagram Reel starts with the selection of one or more video clips to include. You can either film a new video clip or upload one already on your phone’s camera roll. If you’re using multiple video clips, the Align feature will let you line up objects from different clips for seamless transitions.

Once you’re done recording, you can spruce up your video with the following features:

  • Choose audio selections from the Instagram Reels library or add your own music. If you use your own music, it will be attributed to you and if you have a public account, others will be able to use your audio track in the Reels they create.
  • Add text, drawings and stickers to your Reel.
  • Use the built-in effects to make your Reel more engaging. The effects gallery contains a wide range of options, providing excellent customization.
  • Speed up or slow down a section of the video or audio to ensure the clip stays on beat. This feature also allows you to create a slow-motion video.

Once you’re happy with the final product, sharing your clip is very easy:

  • Public Account — You can add your Reel to Explore, which provides an opportunity for it to be discovered by all Instagram subscribers. When you add specific songs or hashtags, your Reel may also get discovered when someone clicks on that song or hashtag.
  • Private Account – Your ability to share will reflect the privacy settings on your account. Only your followers will be able to see your Reel, and original audio tracks won’t be available for others to use. In addition, people will only be able to share your Reels with others who already follow you.

How Can I Find Reels to Watch?

Instagram gives you four different ways to find Reels to watch:

  • Browse your Feed – Scroll through your Feed to view Reels created by the people you follow. You’ll be able to tell that a video clip is a Reel because it will have a small clapperboard icon in the bottom left corner of the thumbnail.
  • Use the Explore Tab – Reels are displayed directly on the Explore page. Simply scroll down the page to find Reels to watch. If it has a “Featured” label on it, the Reel was selected by Instagram.
  • Search for Other Reels Using the Same Audio Track or Hashtag – If you tap the hashtag or audio name at the bottom of the Reel you’re currently watching, you’ll be able to view other Reels using that same hashtag or audio.
  • Search for a Specific Hashtag – You can type a hashtag directly into the search bar and you’ll receive a list of Reels containing it.

Augment Your Business Marketing Efforts with Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels is a fun, creative way to spruce up your personal Instagram profile, but it can also be a powerful tool to augment the marketing efforts for your business:

  • Share Educational Content – Educational content is a great way to engage new customers and establish trust in your brand. You can easily make educational clips on Instagram Reels that are both fun and informative. Teach your followers a new skill and they are more likely to engage with you in the future.
  • Showcase Your Products – The more places you can showcase your products, the better. Since Reels live on the Explore page, users who don’t follow you will still have access to them. This makes Reels a powerful tool to make people familiar with your products or services.
  • Share Behind-the-Scenes Content – Videos are a powerful way to connect with an audience. When you create behind-the-scenes clips on Instagram Reels, it will give others a window into how your business operates. This helps you build relationships with your audience in an authentic way. This content can include explanations of your process for making your products, the reasons you choose particular materials for your products, or a view into a typical day for your team.
  • Announce Sales and Specials – Are you running sales and specials? Reels can be an effective way to let a broader audience know about the deals you offer.