Learn how to use Instagram Reels
Instagram started life as a photography platform, but over the past couple of years there’s been a big push into different types of content — especially video.
Reels were introduced by the company in August 2020 and are often seen as a reaction to the success of TikTok, which also uses short videos. Since then, Reels have become extremely popular, especially since they can be shared not only with your own followers, but also with the wider Instagram community (assuming you have a public account).
But, if you’re not used to using coils and wondering how to get the most out of them, it can be a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve answered some common questions that will hopefully help you get started.
Keep reading to find out more…
What are Instagram Reels?
In short, Instagram Reels are 15-second multi-clip videos. You can use original audio or use audio over your video content, along with audio, effects, and other creative tools. Reels can be shared to your standard Instagram feed, and they can also be found through the Explore tab of the Instagram app.
2. How are Instagram Reels different from Instagram Stories?
Both types of content are quite similar, but there are some important differences. Reels are video only, while Stories can contain still images. The reels are also much longer, allowing you to go up to 90 seconds. Reels also stay on your account permanently, while Stories are meant to be a more transient post that disappears after 24 hours. However, you can post your reels to your stories to boost engagement.
3. When should I use Instagram Reels?
Instagram reels are great when you want to promote video content, especially if you want to create something more permanent (and longer) than an Instagram story. You should also consider using Reels if you want to boost your follower count and reach people beyond those who already follow you. Since reels can appear in the “Explore” tab, it’s easier to get discovered and attract a whole new audience. As for exactly when you should post, there are several competing arguments online – but the most common advice seems to be that morning and noon are the best times to post reels. However, be aware of where your target audience is and consider time differences.
4. How are Instagram Reels different from TikTok?
TikTok and Reels have a lot of similarities – and indeed there’s nothing stopping you from being on both platforms and using the same content on both. Both have the same video dimensions, so that’s exactly what many content creators do. There are, however, key differences between the two platforms. With TikTok, you can post even longer videos, there’s a bigger audio library, and more effects to choose from. It’s worth experimenting with both platforms to find out which one you prefer (or want to stick with both).
5. How do I create an Instagram Reel?
There are two main ways to create a coil. In the home section of the Instagram app, tap the little “+” icon in the top right corner, and from there you can choose to download a post, story, or reel. Tap Reel to start. Alternatively, you can also create a reel by tapping the Reels icon at the bottom of the screen, then tapping the camera icon to start creating your own. From there you will notice a number of different options. It’s worth taking the time to experiment with how they work – especially since they can and do change from time to time. The icons on the left will let you choose a video duration, find music to use as audio, choose a playback speed, create a layout, and add a timer to give you time to prepare. before recording. At the bottom, you’ll see various effects you can add to your videos – again, it’s worth playing around with all of these to see which ones you like.
You can either use the front camera if you want to record a room on camera, or switch to the rear camera if you’re showing something happening in front of you. Once you’re ready to record, tap the large icon at the bottom of the screen and recording will begin (unless you have a timer delay on it). You’ll see a countdown displayed at the top of the screen so you know how much time you have left too (you can also press stop at any time).
6. How do I edit my Reels video?
Once you have saved your reels, you will be taken to another screen where you can make changes. Options here include the ability to add music, mute recorded audio, add voiceover, or add sound effects. You can also add additional filters and effects, and other options like stickers and captions. Again, it’s worth experimenting with all the different editing options to get familiar with all that’s available.
7. Can I use existing videos for my Reels?
Yes, if you tap the icon in the lower left corner, you will be able to add existing videos (and stills) to your reels. It’s probably a better way for serious content creators to work, because you can create videos perfectly outside of the app, without the risk of crashes and loss of your work, etc.
You can also add most of the usual effects and modifications mentioned above to existing video content, except for filters which are added at the time of capture.
8. How do people find my Reels?
Once you’ve finished editing your Reel and shared it, it will be added to a separate Reels tab on your profile. You can also choose to add it to your feed so that anyone browsing their general Instagram feed will encounter it as well. You can also share your Reels to your Story, giving users the ability to browse to watch the full Reel. Another place people can find your Reel is through the dedicated Explore and Reels tabs, which usually pick up trending topics and things the individual user is likely to be interested in. Be sure to add hashtags to your Reels to make sure the right kind of people find it, as well as tagging any appropriate people and adding location tags. You will need a public account if you want anyone other than your followers to see your Reels.
Best cameras for streaming
(opens in a new tab)Best vlogging cameras
(opens in a new tab)How to use Instagram filters (opens in a new tab)
How to Use Instagram Stories (opens in a new tab)
How to Use Instagram for Photography (opens in a new tab)