What’s the Deal with Instagram Reels?
As a network marketer using social media to grow your business, you’ve probably heard about Facebook or Instagram Reels. You may have already created ones (or tried to!). In this post, I want to give you a quick snapshot of why I love them, use them and encourage you to check them out.
This post will focus more on the Instagram platform; however, there are many parallels with Facebook reels I have done my best to include!
Although I understand they were created to compete with Snapchat’s popularity, I believe they hold their merit. And, as we slowly watch IGTV become a ‘thing of the past, it’s essential to adapt where you can.
Now, if you aren’t already playing on Instagram — that’s OK! Because Facebook has also released reels on their platform (with incredible ways to monetize them too!)
I want to give a small snapshot of its capabilities (and limitations).
Creating your own Reels
First, let’s take a quick look into them;
- Short-form video content in full 9:16 portrait mode
- Duration is 3–15 seconds in length (and since expanded)
- You can film directly with the reels camera and/or upload it from your mobile device
- You can film them as one complete take or a series of variations looped together
- Reels can only be uploaded from a mobile device
You may come across reels as you scroll your feed, or you can see them directly on someone’s profile. The symbol is pretty recognizable, and as of now, it has been rolled out to all users.
Reels can also be seen on your explore page (on Instagram), which is an excellent addition to visibility, whereas stories live only in the stories are at the top of your feed.
How can this Feature Help you Grow your Business?
Reels are perfect if you can offer a how-to or step-by-step videos in tiny little chunks. We’ve seen some incredible ones done for recipes, clothing or jewelry changes, short demos of product or service usage, DIY tips, tech walk-throughs, skincare routines and more!
One thing that is important to note is that most people viewing the reels will not read your included caption. So, if you are using a CTA (call to action), make sure you have it in a text overlay and/or in your audio.
What I would encourage you to do is, before jumping head first into reels, set aside some time to check out what others are doing — specifically those in your niche. This is great for inspiration and ideas and will help give you a general idea of what similar audiences enjoy.
Creating your First Reel
Where can you find the camera to record?
You can get to the camera by swiping right from your Instagram home feed or viewing the top of your Facebook newsfeed. You may see options like;
Scroll to reels to open up the camera.
Once you’ve opened the reels camera, you will see a variety of navigation tools on the left-hand side. At the top left, you will see the settings’ gear,’ for example.
What about Adding Creative Effects?
If you want to add any creative effects to your photos and videos for the reels, you should add them before recording. Unfortunately, it varies with users, where you cannot go back and edit these additions after you’ve recorded them.
(this, however, does continue to change — so I’ll do my best to keep this updated)
Instagram Users: Have a Business Account?
If you have a business account (which I encourage you to have), you will have access to the following three features that you will see on the left-hand side.
- Tap on Speed to select faster or slower recording speeds
- Select Effects and scroll through the filter options at the bottom where the shutter button is.
- Tap on the clock icon to set a Timer for recording so you can do a hands-free recording
Instagram (personal, business, creator) profiles will have access to the same three features plus the reels’ audio (or music) feature. You can search through suggested audio clips, popular music, or genres to use in your video.
— This is a very similar process for Facebook users as well!
After selecting your effects to record, press and hold the shutter button at the bottom of your screen, you can record multiple videos up to 15 seconds in length when recording.
Once you’ve completed your recording(s), the progress bar at the bottom of your screen will show you how many clips you recorded and the total length.
What’s ‘up’ with the Arrows?
After you’ve finished recording, you will also see two arrows on either side of the shutter button that you used to record. If you select the arrow on the left, it will replay the clip you just recorded. And when you tap the left arrow, you can trim or delete the clip.
Similar to other edit options, select the scissors icon to trim the clip(s). You will be able to slide the start and end times; once you are happy with the edits, tap Trim in the top right corner.
And if, for whatever reason, you want to trash the clip you created, tap on the trash can icon and confirm your choice.
To get back to the reels camera, tap on the arrow pointing right.
In addition to recording with the Instagram reels camera, you can upload videos from your mobile device. The platform only supports videos, though, so you won’t be able to upload images.
Want to Add more Reels to your Recordings?
Suppose you want to film another clip for your Instagram reels video. Tap and hold the shutter button, repeating the steps above to film your following clip. Remember that if you want to add the same music or effects to the following clip, you have to select them before you begin recording.
To line up your shot with the last one you took, use the Align tool (the icon with two squares) on the left side of the screen. This will create a ‘see-through’ copy of the last frame of your last clip so you can line up the new clip and create a seamless transition between them.
When you’re happy with your full video clip, tap the arrow pointing right to move to the next stage of creating your reel.
Now you can use the icons at the top of the Reels camera (same location as the stories icons) to add stickers, text, and doodles to the clip. Tapping the down-pointing arrow in the top toolbar lets you save the video clip to your camera roll.
Saving the video is an excellent idea if you want to repurpose it later (like on Facebook), be able to edit it in the future, etc.
Ready to Upload? Save for Later?
Once your post is ready to upload, you can choose where you want to share it. It will automatically go to the new reels gallery/tab on your Instagram profile. You can also share it to your feed for your followers to see when they’re scrolling through their feeds.
If you don’t want to share the video to your feed, tap on the slider for that option so it will only upload to your reels tab.
If you’re not ready to share the post publicly yet, but want to save it for later, tap Save as Draft at the bottom of the screen. This will keep the video file as-is. You’ll then be able to go back and add more clips, update your caption, etc.
This is a great feature to take advantage of for those of you actively preparing content ahead of time.
Overall, I’m an Instagram reels fan. Despite some of their limitations, I find a lot of space for creativity which most entrepreneurs love to harness, right? Now, you will probably see many people using their TikTok videos on their reels, and although it’s one way of repurposing content, I would encourage you to create organic content to use here.
This will help you stand out from others, but this will ensure you keep your messaging aligned with your brand and your brand voice for the chosen platform.
So, let me know — are you currently using reels for your business? Will you be? Before you go, you will want to check out this video on Facebook with the top three HUGE mistakes people are making with reel(s).
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