Instagram Reels is coming for TikTok!
What are Reels and how do you use them? We created this blog post to help answer some of your questions and guide you on your Reel creation journey! The end of the post has a link to our FREE Reels Guide packed with ideas to jumpstart the creation of your Reels content.
Let's dive in.
Pssst. Download this entire guide + the Reel Ideas Workbook at the button below.
What are Reels?
I know what you’re thinking. Do I have to dance? The answer is ‘No!’
You’ve likely seen a lot of the dance trends circulating Reels on your news feed. You absolutely do not have to dance. But you definitely have to show up. People want to connect with others, especially with an account they are following. Who’s behind the ‘@’?
Reels are Instagram’s version of TikTok videos. With the volatility of TikTok in politics, it’s a good idea to incorporate Reels into your social media strategy- at the very least by repurposing your content from one platform to the other.
Reels are video vignettes of up to 30-seconds. The most successful Reels are either entertaining or educational. That’s why dance videos, challenge trends, and how-to / tutorial videos are so successful. If you can introduce the viewer to something new, useful, or hilarious- you’re in good company.
Why should I make Reels?
Reels are currently the best way to capture a new audience. This is great for business as you are always looking to expand your audience and get noticed! Reels content will go farther in reach than regular content you post on your news feed. Currently, the Instagram algorithm is prioritizing Reels, so it is more likely to be seen by existing followers and new people that don’t know you quite yet. This is a huge opportunity to get in front of strangers and entice them with your content- and convert them into followers- and eventually, customers.
What do the buttons do?
So, what is involved with creating Reels, and what do each of the buttons do? Let’s find out below.
*Note: Instagram is constantly updating its graphical user interface (GUI), so if the screenshot looks a little different than what’s on your screen, it could be that there’s a new update available, the menu got a new look, or the functionality is no longer available.
Let’s talk about the menu options: Clip Length, Audio, Speed, Effects, and Timer.
The first button from the top is “Clip Length.” You can tap here and decide to go for a 15 second or 30 second clip.
The next button down is “Audio.” That is where you can access your saved audio library, or where you can seach from Instagram’s full audio library.
We’ll cover that in more detail in the “Reel Sounds” section.
Next we have the “Speed” button.
Here is where you can record in slow motion, or in fast mode.
The end result will be based on what speed you recorded in. For example, if you want to record something that appears faster once finished, you can record in slow motion (less than 1x speed) to create that effect.
Watch the playback of your recording to see if you are happy with the result.
The “Effects” button opens up the effects library.
There are constantly new filters and effects being added. And any creator can make a filter (in Facebook’s creator studio platform).
If you continue to scroll to the very far right, you will get to the search button. There, you can search effects and discover new ones- then add them to your effects library so they appear as your easy-selection options.
The last button from the top on the Reels menu, is the “Timer.”
Selecting this will give you a countdown timer so that when you press record, you can walk away from your phone and record from a distance. Otherwise, you must keep your finger on the record button to keep recording.
This is a great option for when recording alone and you need a little assistance pushing the record button from far away. You can always trim your clip later if you captured more than you needed to.
**Note: Creator Pages vs Business Pages. Creator Pages have access to more sounds and songs than Business Pages (due to copyright and monetization laws and limitations).
One of the first ways to use the audio feature is to find a Reel that is already using the soundtrack you want to use. Yes, Reels encourages creators to borrow from one another when it comes to audio, sounds and soundtracks.
You can save a sound by clicking on the soundtrack title which will open up the Audio page. If the song is available to be reused, you will see the “Use Audio” or “Save Sound” button. You can access any of your saved sounds by tapping on the Audio button in Reels, and toggling over to “Saved Sounds.”
How do you make a Reel?
Making a Reel is a little more involved than making a regular video or photo post. Some things to note, include:
Adding trending sounds or making a voice over
Hopping on existing trends
Editing multiple clips
To make a Reel, you’ll want to understand what you want your end result to be so you know the steps involved in creating it. My recommendation is to keep it simple at first. Don’t overcomplicate things while you are learning the ropes. You’ll want to consider some of the bullet points above, and generally, follow the steps below:
Soundtrack. Decide what the sound of your Reel will be. An original soundtrack, existing song, or will you borrow the sound fo an existing Reel? Additionally, you can add a voice over to your finished product before you publish.
Storyboard. Make sure you know what your video will include in the beginning, middle and end. You want to map out your scenes so you know what to capture.
Effects. You can add effects to any Reel, just like you would add effects to your Instagram Story. Effects include AR visuals, filters, voice changers, etc. I recommend your effects add to the Reel and are used intentionally, rather than just using them because they’re available.
Creating a slideshow in Rees:
Add photos from your camera roll.
Give each photo a duration (1s, 2s, 3s, etc.)
Preview to ensure it’s to your liking,
In Preview mode, you can add a Voice Over by clicking the microphone icon on the top bar.
Adding Voice Over in Reels:
You can add your own Voice Over to any Reel once you enter Preview mode. After you’ve selected the videos or images you want to use, edited their length / duration and are happy with the sequence you’ve created:
Tap the Preview button on the bottom right.
On the top bar, tap the microphone icon.
Push the big red button to start recording your audio.
If you wish to start it at a specific point in your Reel, drag the time ticker to your desired spot.
Click Done when finished.
Useful apps / tools for making Reels:
Sometimes, it might be better to edit your clips on a third-party app to make sure you can focus on your content and not on the effects and extra features within the Instagram Reels editor. Some apps I highly recommend for this are below.
InShot: This is a free mobile app (there is also a paid version with a few more features). InShot makes it super easy to edit your mobile videos right on your phone. These can then be saved back to your Camera Roll as new videos and exported to be published onto all your social media channels, including Reels! This YouTube video explains the fundamentals of InShot and how to use each of the main tools.
Canva - www.canva.com: A user friendly visual design tool that lets you edit graphics and video. They have a variety of videos on their website that teach you how to use their video editing tools. Canva is also a great tool to edit cover images for your Reels if you want to have more control over the visual aesthetics of your profile feed.
Point-and-Tell - Have something important to share? Point to different parts of your screen. In the editing stage, add text to the areas where you are pointing that reveal what you have to say.
Remix - You can co-create with any video that allows for the Remix feature. Mimic, add your take, or just share your reaction! You will find the ‘Remix’ option on the left hand side of any Reel you are watching, granted the creator has allowed this feature.
Trends are constantly changing...
In early June 2021, Instagram released analytics for Reels! You can access them only from your Creator or Business Profile (if you are a business, you should strongly consider changing your profile to one of these, as it adds new features to your account).
With Reels Insights, you can now track and measure your performance beyond plays and likes. You gain access to insights such as Saves, Shares, Reach and Interactions- all which can tell you why a Reel is or isn’t performing well, and better yet, which Reels your audience is responding well to.
To access your Reels Insights:
Tap on the 3 horizontal lines at the top right to access your menu.
From there, select ‘Reels.’
You’ll be able to toggle between certain metrics and time periods to access the analytics you need.
Download this handy guide along with the attached workbook with the button above. You will find ideas for 30 Reels you can start planning and batch creating right now!
What do you think about Reels? Leave us your comments below, and tag us in your content- we want to see you thrive on social media! @trendingsocials