On August 5, 2020, Instagram introduced another content placement opportunity for users in the U.S.: Instagram Reels. Unlike Instagram stories (only shared to your followers unless your account is public), Reels are available to anyone using the platform—and that makes a big difference. Instagram Reels offer more screen real estate and opportunities for views in a crowded video market, plus they are easy to create and share. Curious but don’t quite know where to begin? Here’s how to make Reels on Instagram for your business or personal account.
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels allow users to create and share short videos with captions and hashtags. This might sound like some of their other features (e.g., stories and IGTV), but there are some crucial differences in this new type of content placement that go beyond what other Instagram tools offer.
When Reels were introduced in 2019 in Brazil, Instagram’s new users jumped from their standard 1% a month to almost 4.5%. In 2020, when Instagram Reels debuted in India, new monthly installs of Instagram jumped from seven million to almost eight million users (and their time on the app increased by 3.4%).
So, what does this have to do with you and your business account on Instagram now that it’s in the U.S.?
Instagram Reels is video-based content that doesn’t require adding another social media platform, hiring a film crew, or spending all day online. Here are some of the best features Instagram Reels has for your business.
Instagram Reels offer more public engagement
You’re already using Instagram to engage with followers, and Instagram Reels is video that keeps that magic happening.
Unlike Instagram stories (and story ads), where comments come in the form of a DM, users can start a public conversation on your Reel. This type of widespread and public engagement is key in building relationships on social media.
Creators can use captions and hashtags
Instagram Reels allow you to use more hashtags (up to 30) and create a full caption for each Reel.
If you like the idea of a more visual (and audio) social media tool but still want to offer written content, Reels are a win-win.
Content can be created ahead of time
Like to batch your content? Instagram Reels is a great tool for you!
It allows you to create and save drafts of Reels to publish at a later date. You still have to remember to publish, but it’s there when you’re ready.
Frankly, Instagram likes Reels
You know how when a new product comes into the grocery store there are people pushing samples at the end of every aisle? Instagram is like that with Reels. They want to get a feel for the response and interaction of users, so they are prioritizing Reels with a “suggested Reels” tab as you scroll down your feed.
Psst: it’s working to increase organic reach and engagement, according to some experiments.
Instagram Reels are evergreen
Stories disappear in 24 hours (unless you save them), but Reels last forever. Look for them stored in your dedicated Reels tab on your profile.
How to make Reels on Instagram
Interested? Here’s how to make Reels on Instagram.
Head to your camera on Instagram and select Reels (the movie clapper icon). Before you record, select your edits. For example, you can set a timer for hands-free recording or other functions.
One of the things that Reels users prefer over TikTok (Instagram’s main competition) is the robust set of editing tools. When you record clips, you’ll have editing tools that pop up on the left side of your screen. They include:
- Audio: Add your own music (or select from a list)
- Speed: Speed up or slow down clips
- Effects: Add filters
- Touch up: Make your content look its best
- Timer: Use to select how much and which part of a video to use
- Align: Splice together videos for the final Reel
To record, simply press the record button in the center of your screen (multiple clips can be edited together, so take several recordings).
Once your Reel is done, publish by clicking on the right-facing triangle next to the record button. This will take you to the Reel itself, with a button in the lower right-hand corner to share. Write a caption or tag people and share to your feed and your stories.
How to use Instagram Reels to find your customers
Instagram Reels can expand your potential customer base simply because of how they show up on an Instagram feed. Know the saying “location, location, location”? Instagram Reels has you covered in three places, appearing in your Reels feed, your main Instagram account, and the Explore tab (for public accounts). This creates more opportunities for eyes on your content, even before someone follows your page.
If you are already getting good results with video content on any platform, this is an easy expansion. Not yet working in video? Using video is one of the best ways to grow your business on Instagram, and high-quality video offers a better ROI than ads. Instagram Reels are an easy way to explore this type of content.
Have other questions about getting started with Instagram Reels? We have answers!
How long are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels are videos of up to 30 seconds long. These can be in a single video or multiple shots edited together.
What is the best time to post Reels on Instagram?
The best time to post on Reels on Instagram depends on who you ask (and who’s doing the posting!). The most successful posts with the most engagement happen when the business doing the posting knows their audience. When is the audience most likely to be on social media—what times and days?
In general, though, think about break times for your posts. The most popular times often include when people sit down with morning coffee or on a mid-day lunch break.
How to add Reels to Highlights
Even if you miss popular posting times, Reels are still there. On your business’s page, to the right of the grid is the Reel icon. Customers can scroll through at their leisure.
Learn more about Instagram for business
If Instagram Reels seems like just one more thing to learn, we totally get it. Knowing how to make Reels on Instagram is something you might not want to make time for. Boost can help. We create a coordinated digital marketing plan for your business—so you don’t have to.