To compete with TikTok’s rapid growth in the digital space, Instagram has launched Instagram Reels: a content format that allows you to create, share and watch short-form engaging videos. However, unlike Instagram Stories, Reels come up on your feed, are discovered on the Explore page and don’t disappear after 24 hours.

Even though heavily criticized as a “TikTok copycat,” Instagram Reels has gained approval from casual users, creators and businesses. In addition, many brands saw its great marketing potentials and are now using Reels to promote their products and services. Likewise, influencers and creators embrace Reels while expanding their influence on TikTok.

But what really is Instagram Reels? How does it work? Why should brands and businesses start using it? Find out below.


What is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels allows users and creators to express their creativity through short-form entertaining and engaging videos, as well as enabling brands to actualize and solidify their branding in the app.

Like TikTok, Reels offers a set of editing tools that allow you to create 60-second videos and add multiple video clips, filters, closed captions, interactive backgrounds and more.

Ultimately, people create, share and watch Reels not just to participate in online trends but also to collaborate with diverse online communities and discover new ideas.

Image: Instagram


How to create Instagram Reels

To create Reels, you have two options: either record a video using the Instagram camera or upload video clips from your camera roll.

If you opt to record video footage, open first the Instagram camera and select Reels. Then press and hold the record button to capture a scene, which you can edit using the set of editing tools — such as adding audio, AR effects, timer and countdown, align and speed — on the left side of your screen.

You can, of course, upload video clips from your gallery or camera roll to create Reels. Just like any video editing, you can stitch together short clips, cut or trim video footage, control speed and add closed captions, stickers, AR effects, transition effects and music.


How to share Instagram Reels

Once you’re done creating your reel, tap the Next button to direct you to the Share page. On this page, you can choose the cover photo of your reel, as well as write a caption and add hashtags. If you don’t want to post it instantly, you can save it as a draft instead.

You can share your reels with your followers and be discovered by the diverse Instagram community on Explore only if you have a public account. Needless to say, reels published by private accounts can only be shared with their followers.

Image: Instagram


How to watch Instagram Reels

Besides reels from the users you are following on Instagram, you can also discover clips in the Explore tab. This tab showcases the most-watched or trending reels in the app in a vertical feed customized for you. If you like a reel, you can tap on the heart icon to like it, write a comment or share it with your followers.

Instagram will also help you discover original content that will entertain and inspire you by having reels in the Explore tab with a “Featured” label. If your reel is featured, you’ll receive a notification from Instagram. Remember that only those reels from public accounts can be featured in the Explore tab.


Why should brands start using Instagram Reels?

Brands should take advantage of the opportunity to engage new online audiences who prefer snackable and easy-to-digest content with Instagram Reels. Aside from that, Reels is an excellent platform to partner with creatives and creators in promoting your products and services.

What’s more, successful reels in the app are more likely to be featured in Explore, where more than half of active Instagram users use to discover creators and new ideas every month. So, if your reel is shown on this page, you have a great chance of brand engagement and gaining new followers.


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