Today, Instagram unveiled Instagram Reels, a new way to create short, entertaining, informative and engaging videos in just 15-seconds. Over the past several days, I’ve been able to preview the features and functionality of Instagram Reels, and I wanted to share some of my best tips and advice! Hopefully this post saves you time (and stress) as you start to figure out everything out.
Instagram Reels Advice
After all, I love identifying social media trends, my thoughts on them, and solutions for channels, trends, etc. Like all channels, I’m still learning. Also, I’m not a full-time employee of the company, of course! So many things have changed within the first 24 hours (including things I was told are NOT happening vs. what actually are). I’ll update this post as more clarifications and updates come through.
What is Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels is a new in-app function where users can create 15-second short clips that are synced with music, audio effects, and/or filters. Reels has been available in a few other countries outside of the U.S. before (Brazil, France, Germany to name a few), and it’s been met with excitement and an increased usage within the app.
Why Should You Do Instagram Reels?
As with any new social media app or functionality, it’s invaluable to be an early adopter. Plus, Instagram Reels gives you a chance to switch things up and try something new. I highly recommend testing it out!
The ultimate goal is discovery. Who wouldn’t want a larger and reach and visibility for their account?
Like many of you, I’ve found it tough to grow my following on the app. Some publishers opt for shady tactics to increase their following that I simply don’t agree with (loop giveaways, buying followers, bots for engagement, comment pods, etc.). Reels gives everyone a chance to be discovered in an authentic way.
Instagram will undoubtedly be doing a big push for Reels within the app itself (in-feed, Explorer tab, etc.). Therefore, the more content you create – the better! In fact, they just unveiled a new Explore feed this morning (below). You’ll notice Instagram Reels is featured at the very top.
Lastly, short video content sparks new ideas and creativity. This weekend, Bob and I tested out a bunch of options. We had a blast! It felt like we were flexing a new creative muscle, which was fabulous!
Who Can Do Instagram Reels?
Right now, Instagram Reels is only available for private/public personal, business and Creator accounts.
PR, advertising and marketing agencies – you’ll likely get a lot of questions in the coming days, and it’s helpful to know all aspects of functionality. Clients may want to start exploring collaborations that incorporate Reels since the publisher reach may be stronger than other content options (i.e. static, Stories, IGTV, etc.).
If you have a Creator and/or personal account and don’t see Reels in your app, I recommend checking to see if you have the most recent version of Instagram on your phone (right now, it’s v152). Be sure to update your app and restart your phone, as needed. Also, as with previously released features, sometimes it takes the app a bit of time to get it loaded into everyone’s account.
How Long are Reels?
15 seconds. Instagram is exploring longer videos, and their team is very aware that publishers are going to want longer duration Reels.
There are several ways to publish your content including to Feed, Stories, and the new Reels Explore feed. You can even send them to close friends groups and/or via DM. Also, be sure to pick a cover image before you publish your Reel. You can pick a cover from one of the clips or select a static image if you’re worried about how it will look in your profile grid.
If you’re not ready to post your reel, simply save it to draft. I’d also recommend saving the entire video to your phone prior to posting (just in case something gets lost or your phone shuts down). If you save the video to your phone, the audio will be removed but you can always add it back in.
When Instagram says “Feed,” they mean the home scroll where you scroll to see content from people you follow. Currently, you have the option to remove and/or add the Instagram Reel to your Profile (i.e. your grid).
But What About TikTok?
In my opinion, social media apps are like the blogging industry – there’s room for everyone. It’s just important to find your niche. I certainly believe both TikTok and Instagram Reels are fun ways to develop content. Granted, I don’t post on TikTok, but I digress…
Sure, there’s a lot of talk about the future of TikTok in the United States, but I believe the app will be around for the long-haul, and a resolution is around the corner.
My best advice? Do not download your video from TikTok with a watermark and upload it to Instagram Reels. Sure, there are workarounds to removing the watermark (which I won’t go into here), but I wouldn’t risk it. Reels with watermarks on them will never make it to the Explorer tab.
One of the coolest aspects of Instagram Reels is the music options. Here’s the best advice regarding music – only use the songs that are provided within app itself! Don’t forget to use the music sticker.
Sure, there are some really fun music clips and great songs that aren’t available within Instagram, but do. not. under. any. circumstance. use. songs. that. aren’t. available. within. app. You’ll thank me later 🙂 Obviously, if you have original audio of your own, go for it. If it’s music that’s not in the app, I wouldn’t be surprised if Instagram removes the audio from your clip after it’s posted.
Why? Well, your music will be taken away from your Instagram account. Instagram takes IP laws very seriously. They have amazing music. Just use the audio/song tab within the app.
One of the coolest aspects of Instagram Reel is that you can apply AR effects and filters to your clips and videos (similar to Instagram Stories). I’ve had a blast playing around with different options within one video (as seen here).
I loooove this tool! It helps create seamless transitions between one clip to another. You’ll notice a faint image of your last body position to help you line up the next clip. Test it out – it’s really cool!
Adding Fun Text to Videos
You can add text overlay like you would in Stories. As you add the text box, you can use the bottom video clipping scroll to pin the text to certain parts of the clip.
This option gives you the option to change the speed of your clips and audio. Quicken things or slow things down. Pretty straight-forward.
If you’re self-recording, the timer helps you get into the right position before the clip begins recording. It makes everything hands free.
Top Instagram Reels Trends
From what I understand, here are some of the top trends for Instagram Reels in other countries:
- Transitions: creating cool and unique transitions between clips.
- Oddly Satisfying: think ASMR, visual effects, slime, etc.
- Skincare Routines: show you get ready for the day.
- Teach Something New: how to fold clothing, iPhone tips, etc.
- Collaborate: tap other creators to create meaningful content.
Why I’m Excited about Reels
All in all, I know that another addition to the social media landscape is frustrating. For most bloggers and influencers, our hours are filled to the brim with trying to keep up with the apps and channels that already exist. Take your time, give yourself some grace, and try to enjoy the process of creation.
Best Instagram Reels Advice
Keep in mind, it’s better to be ahead of the curve than trying to catch up. Good luck, and let me know what you think of Instagram Reels!
View All 20 Comments
Hi! I cannot post my reels to my profile’s main page, like others. Do you know why? Even when I select the option to share to profile, it only posts in the reels section on Instagram. Is there a fix? Also, you mentioned the option to add or remove from profile, and I don’t have that option either. Please share advice, if you have a solution. Xx
For me, after a Reel is posted, I can add or remove it from my profile grid via the “three dot” menu in the post itself. Hope that helps!
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Is there an option to only add music to portions of your IG reels. Like let’s say i want music from within the app for the first 10 seconds and then original sound for the last 5 seconds. Is that an option? And if so, how do i make that happen?
Hi! You can load a custom sound for yourself, but (from what I’ve seen) I don’t think IG allows you to splice a song with your own audio like you can in Tik Tok. I have noticed people using spliced audio from Tik Tok and loaded it into their reels. However, I think there’s a good chance they would run into issues when using unauthorized copyrighted songs/audio. Have a great day!
Very comprehensive post 🙂
I see a lot of people with “professionally” cut videos. Do you usually film and edit your reels directly in instagram or do you use a special app for this?
Thanks! So far, everything I’ve done in Reels has been with my iPhone, and I’ve used the editing tools they provide in app!
Hello, I have one question that how to save Instagram reels offline with a song in the background? Thanks in advance.
Thanks for your comment! From what I heard from the IG team is that the music for Reels should only be from the library provided within the app (for copyright purposes). If you have your own original (and owned) audio, I think you can upload it as you would any other video on IG. Hope this helps a bit!
Setting the timer is a really nice tip. It’s so simple but helped me a lot! I was always holding my phone and I really love the “handsfree look” now! It gives you so much more flexibility.
Thanks so much!
Thanks for the detailed info and great tips! I just started using Reels. I’ve made two so far and have them posted to my feed which means being posted in my profile grid as well. I’m a cake decorator so the two reels I made shows more details of my cakes since a picture can’t show all sides. I still posted pictures of the cakes but a day or two after the reel was posted which makes it look like I’ve posted back to back pictures of the cakes. Once I post a picture of the cake should I hide the reel from my profile grid or is it best to leave reels visible in profile grid? What do you recommend?
Thanks for your comment! I’ve done both in the past (left it on the grid and not) – just depends on how you feel about the final results! Leaving it on your grid will most likely lead to more views, as it will be easier for your followers to find. Hope you have a great day!
Hi there, Im a fashion Stylist in Ireland, grown up Aussie. Im highly cerative individual and a professional singer.. so very musical and dont mind a bit of performing. But im simply struggling to combine all of this and get my Instagram page more likes and reach, I love your feed overall.. and im wondering how i get to where you are now? (I have 2 small kids and in lockdown currently so its hard! Im knackered half the time!) But still…. I feel like i need some simple guidance and help to get me even close to how together your feed and reeels are? Thanks. xxxx
Thanks for your comment – sounds like you are a multi-talented woman to say the lease. When it comes to social media, I try and adhere to “the three C’s,” as I like to call them. Content, Consistency, and Community. Content: create high-quality images/Reels/videos that are authentic to YOU. Consistency: you don’t need to post every hour on the hour, but a regular cadence is always good, as an active account keeps an audience returning. Lastly, Community: be sure to seek out other accounts in which you align and those whom you admire. Engage with your audience, and give back as much as you can to others! Hope this helps!
Does anyone know how to match the music track with Instagram library using own sound? I want to use music that is available in library but I need to add my own sound effects. It happened to me once that Instagram identified the music track and displayed its label and link to other reels using it. But it happened by accident and I need to do it on purpose. Thanks for any tips.
I have not try any of these but after reading your blog i am definitely gonna try this for sure..thanks for this
Hi. I wanted to know how to make text appear and disappear in a reel video. Like in the same video putting different texts one after the other. Please help!
Hi! After you write the text on the video, press and hold on the text and use the timer duration at the bottom of the screen to time out when you want it to appear/disappear. Hope this helps!