Insider Advice on how to create Stand-Out Instagram Reels
Learn everything you need to know about Instagram Reels right here. Step by step, how to create and master your 15 second videos. All your questions are answered in this blog post.
The newest video feature offered by Instagram is called Reels. It’s Instagram’s direct competition with the wildly popular TikTok app. With TikTok’s future uncertain many think the timing of Instagram Reels is strategically placed to steal as much market share as possible. Regardless of TikTok’s future, Instagram’s goal is to be a one-stop app for all creators and social media enthusiasts.
If you’re a creator or a business trying to use Instagram to build a business it’s essential to start using Reels today if you want to compete. Reels holds tremendous potential to get your brand found for two reasons: Instagram is showcasing top reels to encourage creators to use. Anyone early to the game will have a leg up on the competition. Now is the perfect time to get ahead of the curve.
In this post we’re going to answer all your Reels questions and even some you didn’t know you should be asking. We are going to go through the how-to’s, the step by step, and help you understand what Reels can do for your Instagram account and your brand overall. Let’s get to it.
Why Should I Create Instagram Reels?
If Instagram creates it, you need to use it.
Instagram is pushing out quality Reels content, making it the perfect chance for your ideal audience to find and follow you.
Reels presents a huge opportunity to go viral and increase your brand awareness. Here’s the comparison:
- Stories disappear after 24 hours. Highlights are difficult to navigate.
- Posts attain their maximum viewer reach usually within approximately 24 hours.
- But reels are continually discoverable for weeks based on popularity.
- Like IGTV they are stored in a visual library easily accessible from everyone’s home page.
People are moving faster and faster. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever. Reels has a high entertainment value and quick delivery, making them easy and exciting to consume.
What are Instagram Reels?
Reels are Instagram’s newest video feature that allows you to record and edit short videos up 30 seconds inside the app. Currently, you can add music, effects, captions, stickers (non-interactive), and drawings. Note: Not every account has music yet.
Where can I watch Reels?
The main Reels space is found on the Explore page. To find your explore page just tap on the magnifying glass at the bottom of your screen.
Once on the Explore page you will see the large square at the top of the explore page dedicated to Reels. If you tap on the Reels square you can bring up the Reels and watch in its full uncropped view. You can continue to watch additional reels by scrolling vertically.
To watch reels that have been created by individual accounts (including yours) you can access individual “Reels Libraries” by going to the account profile page and tapping on the Reels icon that is found beneath the highlights next to the IGTV icon.
Here is the Step-by-Step how to create a Reel:
- To begin, tap the camera icon in the top left of your home feed. Scroll over to Reels at the bottom of the screen.
- Next, tap and hold the center bottom record button to record or tap it to start recording and again to end the clip. You also can choose to add a video from your camera roll by tapping your camera roll in the bottom left corner of your screen.
- To watch, trim or delete the previous clip you just recorded, tap on the left-pointing arrow.
- To add stickers, drawings, or text to your reel or download the reel to your device tap the right-pointing arrow. You can use the slider at the bottom to edit when you want your text to appear in your reel.
- Next, tap the right-pointing arrow, then tap Cover to change your cover photo.
- Next, write your caption and add hashtags.
- Decide where you want to share your reel. Tap Stories if choosing stories instead of sharing to Explore.
- Tap Share and then tap Done.
For a visual walk through that we found very helpful click here to watch this YouTube video tutorial of Reels.
Let’s Dive in and Answer All Your Reels Questions
Where should I share Instagram Reels if I want maximum exposure?
You have three choices regarding where to share your reel:
- Share as a STORY.
- Or share to REELS and not to your feed.
- Or share to REELS and share to your feed.
We definitely recommend sharing to Reels AND to your feed. This will get more eyes on your Reels and will increase your chances of being shared on the Explore page and being “Featured.”
What if I choose Stories as my share destination?
If you choose to share your video in Stories, it basically becomes a Story. Your Reel will behave like a regular Story. It will not be shared to Reels in Explore and won’t appear on your Feed. Just like your other stories, it will disappear after 24 hours.
After posting it to your Feed, you can then share it to your Stories like any other Feed post. We think this is a good idea.
As far as content, do I need to alter what I normally share?
Do I share something different than what I post on my feed and stories? Do I need to start dancing like they do on TikTok?
The answer to this is no, no, and no. Don’t change who you are.
You should stay on brand. Don’t change your content or your message because you have a new format. You need to take who you are and what you’re all about and adapt it to this new format.
Put on your creative thinking cap and figure out how your brand can shine best with this new feature.
Here are some great ideas for Reels content:
- Demonstrate a process like a recipe or simple DIY
- Show a transformation like a before & after.
- Give a mini tour of a room or garden.
Can I create a draft and save it to post later?
Yes, you can save a draft of your Reel. You can download a copy and save to your camera roll to add later. Or you can save a draft in Reels.
Note: If you have music added to your video already the music won’t save to your camera roll. However, it will save in your draft inside of Instagram. Music from the Instagram library stays inside Instagram.
How do I save a draft?
- First, tap the right-pointing arrow on the Reel you’re creating.
- Next, tap the right-pointing arrow again.
- Next, tap Save as Draft at the bottom of your screen.
Where do I find/edit a draft after it’s been saved to Reels?
- Go to your profile and tap the Reels icon.
- Tap Drafts. (All your drafts are saved together and appear under a blurred cover photo of one of your drafts with the word “Drafts” across it.)
- Tap the Reel you want to edit.
How do I download (save) a copy of my Reel to my camera roll?
- Tap the right-pointing arrow on the reel you’re making.
- Tap the down-pointing arrow (download icon) on the left.
What is the advantage of saving a copy to my phone vs. saving a draft to Instagram Reels?
The reason you might want to download a copy to your camera roll is if you don’t have time or aren’t ready to finalize your edits. For example, if you don’t know what music you want to add or don’t have time to add your text you should download a copy of the video to your camera roll. Once you save your video as a draft to Reels you can not go back and edit the video in Instagram. After your draft has been created you can not go back and add text, effects or music to the video. The only things you can add to your draft are (1) your caption & hashtags and (2) your cover photo.
How do I edit a copy of my Reel saved in my camera roll?
- Tap the camera icon at the top left of your home Feed.
- Scroll to Reels at the bottom of your screen.
- In the very bottom left corner of your screen tap the photo square at the bottom left corner of your screen. This will pull up access to your photo/video library.
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Is there a limit to the number of drafts I can create in Instagram Reels?
No, there’s no limit.
Can I use previously recorded video to create a Reel?
Yes, you can upload old video clips or even use saved stories to create a reel.
Here is how:
- Go into the Reels creation screen and tap on the photo square in the bottom left corner of your screen. This will pull up access to your saved videos on your camera.
- Select one or more videos to create your Reel.
- Edit the length of each video, one by one until you have reached the 15 second maximum time.
- Then click the back arrow to watch the whole video.
What type of video editing is available in Reels?
Speed – Tap this to slow down or speed up the video.
Note: This tool can only be applied to video which is recorded inside of Reels and it must be applied BEFORE the recording.
Effects – Also referred to as “filters,” this tool can only be applied to video which is recorded inside of Reels and must be selected BEFORE recording.
Music – Music can be added before or after recording and can also be added to previously recorded video or video recorded outside of Reels.
Text – Text can be added after video is recorded and it can be added to previously recorded video or video recorded outside of Reels.
Stickers & Gifs – Stickers can be added after video is recorded, and they can be added to previously recorded video or video recorded outside of Reels.
Note: Interactive stickers like polls, question box, and emoji slide are not available inside Reels.
How do I add music to my Reel?
When you record a Reel, you will see a tool bar on the left.
Note: The word descriptions appear at first and disappear after a couple seconds, leaving only icons.
- Tap the musical note icon to search for a song in the library.
- You can choose which part of the song to include by swiping along the meter bar at the bottom to select.
How do I add an effect (filter)?
- From the tool menu tap the smiley face with sparkles icon.
- Swipe left on the bottom of the screen to choose an effect.
- To view all the effects, swipe all the way left and tap on the magnifying glass (search icon).
How do I add text?
- Once you have your video recorded tap the forward arrow to the right of the center record button to get to the next edit screen.
- This is where you can add stickers, use the pencil tool and add text.
- You can also choose to have different blocks of text appear at different times during your video.
- Simply add each text block separately.
- Each time you select “done” the text block will appear as a new tab at the bottom of your screen along the video timeline.
- For each text block you can select when it appears and disappears by moving the edges of the timeline back and forth.
- You can edit each text box individually.
- The text box you are editing will become opaque and the other text boxes that are not being edited will appear transparent.
How do I see the end of my last recorded clip?
Tap on the layered squares icon. You can use the transparent photo to align your next clip before recording. This option only appears after you record your first clip.
Can I use hashtags and what’s the best hashtag advice for Instagram Reels?
Yes, you can and should use hashtags, just like your posts. Use 25-30. The difference between posts and Reels is that you can and should choose larger hashtags for Reels. The smaller hashtags aren’t featuring Reels yet. In addition, competition is not yet as challenging yet because only a percentage of people are creating Reels, so you have more of a chance of being featured at the top of bigger hashtags.
What insights are available for Instagram Reels?
There are currently limited metrics available for Reels. You can see number of likes and comments.
Also, in your Reels gallery you can see the total number of views which represents the total number of accounts who have played your reel. This number is your Reach and does not include Impressions (which would include replays).
Instagram states that Reels metrics are in development. In other words, we’re sure they’ll be adding more.
Does every account have Instagram Reels?
No, not yet. There are some accounts and even some countries where Reels is not yet available.
Does every account have access to the music feature on Reels?
No, unfortunately if you don’t have access to the music sticker on your Stories you won’t have access to music inside of Reels either.
Should I wait for music to create Reels?
This is a personal decision, but we believe you should not wait for music. You will be missing out on the huge opportunity the Reels presents for early adapters. Get creative and get creating. Create your own audio and share valuable, unique content without music.
Why do some Reels say “Featured”?
These Reels have been chosen by Instagram to be highlighted as what Instagram views as current great examples. They choose based on genre, style, and entertainment value.
How do I get featured by Instagram?
This is a mystery. They choose a variety of content that they feel exemplify the best of what they hope for Reels. This is their way of teaching us how to best use their new feature and rewarding great content.
How do I find Instagram Reels to watch?
- Go to the search icon at the bottom menu bar and tap. This will pull up the Explore page.
- Tap the Reels video on the top. Instagram is giving it top, center stage, so you can’t miss it!
- Scroll down to watch more.
- You can also go to your favorite hashtags to see niche-specific Reels.
Note: Not all hashtags feature Reels…yet. The larger hashtags feature Reels. Take note of what this means for your Reels hashtag use.
Tap into the Power of Instagram Reels
Reels are not just for TikTok-loving teenagers or millennials. While Instagram Reels may have extra appeal to the younger crowd, don’t underestimate the power across audiences. No matter what your age, Reels will be powerful to grab attention and quickly convey whatever message you’re sending. Its short 15-second framework makes it easily digestible and highly addictive.
Want to learn more? Join us in our private group coaching membership. We hold weekly virtual coaching classes to help you on your journey. We also offer a 7-week online course and personalized Instagram audits to help you take your Instagram to the next level. Visit our Instagram Services page to learn more about all of our Instagram services.