What’s the Deal with Instagram Reels?
As an entrepreneur using social media to grow your business, by now, you’ve probably heard about Instagram Reels. It’s possible you have already created ones (or tried to!). In this post, I want to give you a quick snapshot on why I love them, use them and encourage those on Instagram anyway, to check them out.
Although my understanding is they were created to compete with the SnapChat popularity, I do believe they hold their own merit. And, as we slowly watch IGTV become a ‘thing of the past’, it’s important to adapt where you can.
Now, if you aren’t already playing on Instagram — that’s OK! But because many entrepreneurs are I want to give a small snapshot of its capabilities (and limitations).
Curious about Creating your own Instagram 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
- You can be film directly with the Instagram reels camera and/or uploaded from your mobile device
- You can film them as one full take or a series of takes looped together
- Reels are mobile only and can only be updated from a mobile device
You may come across Instagram 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 I believe have been rolled out to all users.
Instagram reels can also be seen on your explore page which is a nice addition to visibility whereas stories live only in the stories area at the top of your feed.
How can this Feature Help you Grow your Business?
Instagram reels are perfect if you can offer a how-to or step-by-step videos in small 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, skin care routines and more!
One thing that is important to note is that most people viewing the reels are not going to read your included caption. So, if you are using a CTA (call to action) make sure you are including in a text overlay and/or in your audio.
What I would encourage you to do is before jumping head first into Instagram 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 are enjoying.
Creating your First Instagram Reel
Where can you find the camera to record?
You can get to the camera by swiping right from your Instagram home feed. At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see 3 options:
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’ and this will have the same settings at your Instagram Stories.
What about Adding Creative Effects?
In the event you want to add any creative effects to your photos and videos for the reels, you will need to add them before you record. Unfortunately, you are unable to go back and edit these additions after you’ve recorded.
Have a Business Instagram Account?
If you have a business account (which I encourage you to have), you will have access to the following 3 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 3 features plus the audio (or music) feature on Instagram reels. You can search through suggested audio clips, popular music, or genres to use in your video.
After you’ve selected your effects, to record simply press and hold the shutter button at the bottom of your screen. When recording, you are able to record multiple videos up to 15 seconds in length.
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 2 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, to trim the clip(s), select the scissors icon. From there 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, just 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?
If you want to film another clip for your Instagram reels video, tap and hold the shutter button, repeating the steps above to film your next clip. Remember that if you want to add the same music or effects to the next 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 2 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 complete 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 a great idea in the event you want to repurpose it later, be able to edit it in 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 that appears on your Instagram profile. Additionally, 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 save the video file as-is. You’ll then be able to go back and add more clips, update your caption, and so on.
For those of you actively preparing content ahead of time — this is a great feature to take advantage of.
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. Not only will this help you stand out from others but this will ensure you are keeping your messaging aligned with your brand and your brand voice for the Instagram platform.
So, let me know — are you currently using Instagram reels for your business? Will you be?
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