What are Instagram Reels

Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and more–it is easy to get lost in the details. You might also wonder which social management resource is the most important to allocate.

This guide by our digital agency focuses on the Reels feature and the opportunities they offer your business.

Instagram Reels – a brief explanation

What is a reel on Instagram?

Instagram will allow users to create videos in 2020 with audio, special effects, and the ability to remix content from other people. Instagram reels are similar to TikTok, but because they’re available through Instagram’s large user base, there’s a lot of marketing potential.

Let’s first take a closer look at the history, functionality, and discoverability of Instagram Reels videos.

Instagram Reels: The Birth of Instagram Reels

Instagram users could create stories before Instagram Reels by using stickers, filters, and other interactive features. While Snapchat inspired Instagram’s stories in late 2020, another social media competitor entered the scene: TikTok.

  • TikTok users had reached 800 million by late 2020 (compared to Instagram’s 1 billion). They loved the fun videos they saw on their feeds. The viral video app also had a number of issues, including the possibility of a ban. 1
  • Introduce similar functionality to the Instagram app as a way of attracting prominent influencers who were wary about TikTok’s legal issues while increasing engagement amongst the existing user base.
  • Reels have been launched in more than 50 countries (including the US). It’s still not available everywhere.

However, Instagram Reels and TikTok have some key differences.

  • Instagram lets you choose between 15- and 30-second lengths for your TikToks, while Instagram’s maximum is 60 seconds. Your Reel may also be shorter.
  • Reel videos can be found in a variety of places, including the user feed and the reel screen. They may also appear on Instagram accounts that you follow.
  • Instagram only offers Remix. Instagram only gives Remix 3. The apps both provide an option to reuse popular music and voiceovers.
  • TikTok’s long history on the market has given it a wide range of filters and effects.

Instagram Reels, however, is catching on as it shares its video tools with a larger user base.

What can you do with Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is a video of up to 30 seconds in length. Users can edit and customize their videos using a variety of tools, including:

  • Audio Effects- Users can search the Instagram library to find back tracks or upload their audio. Like TikTok, users can listen to audio tracks from other public accounts by clicking “Use Audio.” Copyright restrictions do apply.
  • Augmented Reality (AR)- You can use filters and time-modification to create slow-motion videos and edit videos in a way that maximizes interest and engagement.
  • Start Timer — Don’t you want your viewers to see how hard it is to click on “Record” or compose yourself before posting your video? You can hide the recording process by using a countdown and a timer. This will eliminate the need to remove the first few seconds.
  • Alignment Tools – As with TikTok, it is possible to include several takes within a video. You may need to pause your video for a quick costume change. Alignment tools allow you to ensure that your angles and objects remain on point.
  • Uploading: Want to update a previous reel? Upload the last video from the Gallery, edit it, and continue telling your story.


Users can choose where they want to upload their videos after creating an Instagram Reel.

  • You can view your Reels in your feed or by clicking the “Reels button” on your profile. The reels will remain there forever (unless you remove them).
  • You can see your Reels on Instagram Reels if you have a publicly accessible account. Instagram’s algorithm may show your Reel to people who are interested in similar reports or videos.
  • Reels are only visible to your followers if your Instagram account is set to private. Your privacy settings will govern Reels.
  • Other users can share their Reels or your Reels with others via DM, based on your privacy settings.
  • The edited video will appear in your story and be visible to all of their followers when you select “Add to Story.” These videos are not accessible via the Instagram Reels “Discover Page,” nor are they displayed on your grid.
  • These Reels, like other stories, will disappear in 24 hours unless you add them to your highlights.
  • Tags are required to allow other people to share your Story Reels.

Reels for Business

How can Reels help businesses?

  • Reels can increase your organic reach by expanding your views and followers in a brand-new way.
  • Reels can be shared, which can help you extend your reach and impressions even further. Users can also remix your Reels to add their spin or story.
  • You can use stickers to tag products that you’ve included in your Reel if you have an Instagram account for a business, creator, or both. This will allow viewers to access information about prices and purchases easily. Not set up for Instagram Shopping? You can start for free. (Check out our guide to help you set up Instagram shopping.

Tips for Successful Reels

What are the best ways to maximize your Reels’ success? Our top tips:

  • Stay consistent with your brand’s image and voice — If you are a haircare brand that finds humor in bad hair days, post Reels that reflect your brand’s voice. If you are a fitness company that focuses on technology and education, your content should be informative and on brand. Your Reels should be part of an integrated marketing strategy. You don’t want your Reels to become viral for the wrong reason.
  • Create a challenge. Users can listen to your audio, just like on TikTok. Invite them to respond to the challenge by doing just that. You could ask them to show you their face fully made up using your cosmetics or to walk down the runway wearing your clothing. Or they can use your artisanal spice blends in their favorite recipe. Be creative! Users can discover who else has used the audio.
  • Partner up with an influencer- Ask the influencer to help promote your product. Share their Reel with your audience. You can even create a side-by-side response using the “Remix.”
  • Know Your Audience — Thinking about jumping on the latest trend? Check to see who is using the audio you are reusing. It may not be worth your time to engage with users who are not part of your target audience.
  • Do not hesitate to repost. If you are already active on TikTok, you can upload your videos to Reels or vice versa. You’ll reach both users of the apps.
  • Reply to your comments- The comments are a great way to build a relationship with new fans, connect with customers, and answer their questions.

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