This past week, Instagram announced that it’s TikTok-like functionality, ’Reels,’ is now available in 50 regions, including the US, in addition to the 4 where it was already available.
Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore.
With TikTok potentially facing a ban in the US, it makes sense for Instagram to capitalize on the moment by trying to provide an alternative outlet for creators who may be worried that their viral video making days are numbered.
While we’re not convinced that TikTok will be out of the picture, speculation may be enough to scare the app’s creators and fans and inspire them to start creating more video content on Instagram.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about how to use this new functionality!
To get started, select Reels at the bottom of the Instagram camera. You’ll see a collection of editing tools on the left side of your screen to help create your video, including:
- Audio: Choose a song from the Instagram music library, or use your own original audio by simply recording a video with it. When you share a reel with original audio, you’ll be given credit for it, and if you have a public profile, others can create reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel.
- AR Effects: Select an effect from the effect gallery, created both by Instagram and creators all over the world, to record multiple clips with different effects.
- 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 the video starts recording.
- 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 elements into your video.
- 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 one at a time, all at once, or using video uploads from your gallery.
Once your video is ready to go, share it with your followers as well as the larger Instagram community!
If you have a Public Account:
- You have the ability to share your reel to the Explore page, where it has the chance to be seen by the larger Instagram community. You can also share your reel with your followers by posting it to your Feed. When you share reels featuring certain songs, hashtags, or effects, your reel may also appear on dedicated pages when someone clicks on that song, hashtag, or effect.
If you have a Private Account:
- Reels follows your privacy settings on Instagram. You’ll be able to share to Feed so only your followers can see your reel. Other people will not be able to use your original audio, and followers can’t share your reels with anyone who doesn’t follow you.
When you post, you’ll be able to choose your cover image, add a caption and hashtags, and tag others. After you share your reel, it will live on a separate tab on your profile, where other users can find all of the reels you’ve posted. If you choose to share to your Feed, your reel will appear on your main grid. You can also share your reel to your Story! If you do so, it will not be shared to Reels in Explore or on your profile, and it will disappear after 24 hours.
In Explore, you can watch an entertaining selection of reels made by anyone on Instagram, in a vertical feed, much like how you consume content on TikTok. If you like a reel, you can like, comment or share it with others.
Some reels will also have a “Featured” label. If your reel is highlighted on the Explore tab, you’ll receive a notification!
Should You Use Reels?
Reels is a huge opportunity for your business if you’re looking to drive awareness and sales from the platform. Given that Reels are pushed out into the Explore page, users who don’t follow you will see your content, which is a huge win!
While it’s not clear how the algorithm works just yet, it’s a good idea to use relevant hashtags and descriptive captions to let Instagram know what you’re talking about.
If you’re ready to start making videos, now is the time to jump on this feature, as competition is still low, especially since Instagram could be giving extra promotion to get the feature off the ground!
Ready to take your creativity to the next level? Call, DM, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. We would love to help your company shine on Instagram!