Maybe you’ve already discovered the new feature of Instagram, Instagram Reels.
How can you recognise the Reels? The short videos are very similar to TikTok. By scrolling through your feed, you can discover the Reels of your favourite creator. On their accounts, you will find the Reels in an extra tab, not in the regular grid, but more about that later.
Instagram Reels – what is that?
Reels is a comparatively new feature of Instagram. How can you recognise the Reels? The short videos are very reminiscent of TikTok. By scrolling through your feed, you can discover the Reels of your favourite creator. On their accounts, you will find the Reels in an extra tab, not in the regular grid. The short videos do not last longer than 15 seconds where music and effects get added, similar to TikTok. Different backgrounds, filters, slow motion or lip-sync – Instagram offers some creative possibilities for the new format. Just like the Instagram Story and IGTV, the Instagram Reels are in portrait format.
Create Instagram Reels step by step
You can create the short clips within the story function. There you can select the Reels tab below, next to “Live” or “Story”. Now you can’t miss the button for the recording anymore. In the middle left corner, you see the different elements you can use for your clip: Audio, tempo, effects and timer.
Audio is the music you can use to accompany your Reels. You can choose not only a song but also the part of the song. It doesn’t matter whether you first select a song and then shoot your video or vice versa.
You have to set the tempo of your video before you start recording. Making a recorded clip faster or slower afterwards is not possible.
The effects section will look familiar to you. Here you can play with the usual Instagram filters and effects.
With the timer, you can determine in advance how long your video should be. You can also set a countdown, which runs down before your recording starts.
All other settings are familiar to you from the Insta Story function: the wheel in the top left corner for the story settings, the flash function and the possibility to close Reels. Also, when you press record, a pink bar will appear at the top of the screen to show you when the maximum length of 15 seconds is reached.
Edit and share Instagram Reels
When you have recorded a video, the “Align” button appears on the left. With this feature, you can clean up the transitions between two clips. You can create several clips at once by starting a new recording again and again. This way, you will end up with a whole series of video sequences, which combined form a reel.
Next to the record button, once you have created a sequence, two arrows will appear. The arrow to the left takes you to your last clip, and you can edit or delete it. At the moment, you can only edit your last sequence and not the second last. Therefore, you should make sure that you are satisfied with one clip before you create the next one.
With a click on the right arrow, you can go to the beginning of your whole series, and you can watch your complete reel.
Afterwards, you can use GIFs, text and the usual stickers. If you now click on the right arrow again, you will get to the penultimate step: Caption and hashtags.
Then you can share your video, it will automatically be posted to your grid. This way, your followers can find it on your profile but also in their feed. If you don’t want to post your Instagram Reel right now, you can save it as a draft for later.
Use existing images for Instagram Reels
If you don’t want to create new recordings for your Reels but want to use existing pictures and videos of yourself, it’s easy. At the bottom left, you will find a small preview image that Instagram takes from your photo gallery. With a click on it, you can access your pictures and videos and can choose freely.
How can I use Instagram Reels as an influencer?
As already mentioned, Instagram Reels are not stored in the regular grid of your Instagram profile. Instead, you will find an extra area for them in your profile – just like for IGTV, filters and linked photos. If you click on the Reels tab, you will find all your Instagram Reels collected.
The big advantage is that the clips do not break up your uniform IG Feed. Instagram Reels offer you as an influencer – similar to the Insta Stories – the possibility to show a different facet of yourself: personal, funny, crazy. With Instagram Reels, you offer your followers new points of contact.
By the way: Instagram Reels also appear on the explore page – and they are quite popular! So with a good reel, your chances of being discovered by new users increases.
Instagram Reels versus TikTok: Cheap copy or better than the original?
Instagram likes to trick the competition by copying their features. We know that since Instagram copied from Snapchat the story element. Instagram stories have become more successful and also the core of Instagram. With Instagram Reels, they copy from their competitor TikTok this time.
But that didn’t stop the function from being launched: many influencers tested Reels immediately. Influencer @elliesummermclean shows in her Instagram Reels, for example, her fashion looks, fashion hauls, outfit inspiration for her daughter, and everyday situations with her family.
Views versus followers
An essential difference between TikTok and Instagram Reels should be clear to you as a creator: your Instagram Reels are seen by your followers (except for the explore page). With TikTok, in contrast, the algorithm in the “For you section” plays the videos in a personalised way for everyone. The “For You” tab is always automatically selected and is the focus of the app. As an influencer, you have less control over who sees your videos on TikTok.
What are your experiences as an influencer? Do you prefer to use TikTok, or are you happy about the Instagram Reels? If you use both platforms, you certainly have the best chance to expand your reach and build relationships with different audiences on those platforms. The more Social Media platforms you use, the more flexible you are.