By now you’ve probably heard of the app TikTok, either through the news of  Donald Trump trying to ban it in the US, or from one of your relatives or friends  using it. It’s a recent social media platform that has become one of the top togs in  a very short amount of time, and that caught the attention of the competition.  Users of Instagram will now be introduced to a new service titled “Instagram  Reels: a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.”  This is Instagram’s answer to TikTok, similarly to how they announced Instagram  Stories shortly after Snapchat saw success. 

If you are not interested in the idea of starting up a TikTok account for your  business, Instagram Reels are your next best thing, as many businesses are  already owners of a business account on the platform, and reels are just another  string to your marketing bow!  

What are Instagram Reels? 

Reels allow you to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects,  and various other creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on your  main feed with your usually scheduled posts, and, if you have a public account,  make them available to a wider audience through their “Explore” section.

Getting Started 

So how do you create a Reel? First, you’ll want to open up the camera on Instagram and at the bottom of the screen you will see the word “Reels”. Once  selected, you’ll see a variety of editing tools on the left side of your screen, including: 

Audio: Search for a song from the Instagram music library. You can also use your own original audio by simply recording a reel with it. When you share  a reel with original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and if you  have a public account, people can create reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel.

AR Effects: AR refers to Augmented Reality, where graphical effects appear over footage from real life. Simply select one of the many effects in the  effect gallery and see what wild visuals you can create. 

Timer and Countdown: Set the timer to record any of your clips hands-free. Once you press record, you’ll see a 3-2-1 countdown, before recording  begins for the amount of time you selected. 

Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next to help create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes or adding  new friends into your reel. 

Speed: Choose to speed up or slow down part of the video or audio you selected. This can help you stay on a beat or make slow motion videos. 

Reels can be recorded in a series of up to 15 second clips (one at a time), all at once, or using pre-made video uploads from your gallery. Record the first clip by  pressing and holding the capture button. You’ll see a progress indicator at the top  of the screen as you record. Stop recording to end each clip. 

Sharing Your Reels 

Once your reel is ready, continue to the share screen. Here you can save a draft of  your reel so you can look at it more closely later on, change the cover image, add  a caption and hashtags, and tag your friends. After you share your reel, it will live  on a separate Reels tab on your profile, where people can find the reels you’ve  shared. If you also share to your Feed, your reel will appear on your main profile  grid, though you have the option to remove it. 

Whether you have a public or private account, you can share your reel to your  Story, close friends, or in a direct message. If you do so, your reel will behave like  a regular Story — it will not be shared to Reels in Explore, it will not appear on  your profile, and it will disappear after 24 hours.

Watching Reels on Explore 

Via the Explore tab, you can discover a range of different reels submitted by many  creators and businesses. These reels are tailored to your tastes and the more of  one specific topic you like, the more you will see. If you find a reel you like, you  can like, comment or share it the same way as a typical Instagram post. 

Reels give people and businesses a new way to express themselves on the  Instagram platform, but how can they aid your business? 

Reel Talk 

When most people think of TikTok or Instagram Reels, they think about  lip-synced singing or various dancing trends, but it is so much more. Many  businesses utilise this tool in creative, unique ways. Now this can be by  following the trend of creating dance or lip-sync videos that somehow  relate to your product or brand, or they could be something brand new  that may even become its own trend. Stop motion videos, where one  scene ends and jumps into the next, are really popular as they encourage  others to join in and keep the bandwagon going, which more often than  not ends up with fantastic results that not even the original publisher expected. You could create a fun video that shows the progression of building one of your products from start to finish, or cooking one of your  meals, showing how they are created, the list is endless. 

Something to keep in mind when creating reels is that most people aren’t going to read a caption, especially a long one. If you have a call to action you need to get across, it’s best to mention it in your audio and have a  short bit of text on screen that mentions it. 


Hopefully you’ve now learned the basics of Instagram Reels and how to get started. Have a browse at the reels already in the wild and see how you can reinvent them or create something new. We can’t wait to see what you create, and if you need any help creating this content, we provide a wide variety of digital marketing services and can help you on your way to becoming the next big trend.