Instagram Reels: Introducing the latest kid on the Instagram block

Been hearing whispers about a hot new Instagram feature called Reels but have no idea what anyone’s referring too? Well, don’t stress – we have your back. Today, we break down the most talked about update in a long time and why you should be considering it for your business’ marketing strategy. Let’s get up to speed:

Who?

If you’re a business or brand who wants to be on top of its social media A-game, you’re going to want to at least give Reels a real-hot go (pun fully intended!). 

What?

Similar to the social media phenomenon that is TikTok, Instagram Reels lets people create short-form videos that can be shared with friends and followers.

Think 15 second snack-sized videos layered with special effects, filters and separate audio tracks.

When?

Instagram Reels is so fresh – it launched just over a month ago on 5 August.

Where?

Instagram Reels is quickly becoming the app’s top dog, so much so that Instagram has revamped its platform to create a specific landing spot for Reels. Find it at the top of the Explore page screen in its own dedicated feed that people can vertically scroll through — similar to Tik Tok “For You Page.”

Why?

You can’t be blamed for thinking that Reels sounds a lot like its older sister Instagram Stories, but we promise they’re different. How?

  • Reels offers a wider variety of editing tools, including AR effects, speed controls, and the ability to align multiple clips for smoother transitions.
  • There is a notable difference when it comes to sharing an Instagram Story and a Reel. Instagram Stories won’t be added to your feed and disappear after 24 hours. Reels can be shared to Instagram’s Explore feed so people who don’t follow you can find them — great for grabbing the attention of potential new followers.
  • If you include original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and other users can include it in their own reels.

How?

Creating a Reel is a bit of a process – but as they say, all good things take time. Here’s what you need to do:

To create a Reel, open the Instagram camera just like you would to use Stories, and select Reels on the bottom scroll bar. You’ll see the editing tools stacked on the left side of the screen. Use the record button to create your clip or series of clips (there’s a progress bar at the top of the screen to show how much of your 15 seconds you’ve used). Tap the arrow at the bottom when you’re ready to publish.

From there, you’ll have the option to write a caption, choose a cover image, add hashtags and share your video to Reels (if your account is public). Reels will appear on Explore and be stored on a tab on your profile page, similar to IGTV.

Another option for both public and private accounts is to post reels to your Feed — they’ll appear on your main grid and on the Reels tab. 

To watch other users’ reels, tap the search icon on the main toolbar. Reels are featured at the top, and all you have to do is tap and scroll to cycle through the clips. From there, you can follow users and like, share and comment on reels directly.

Easy enough?

Story or Reels – which way should you go?

When it comes to using Instagram for marketing, we believe Reels come out on top. Stories are a more personal way to share memories with friends and family, and are in our view better suited to bloggers and individuals. For businesses and brands, Reels offer a whole lot more in terms of marketing potential and have a professional edge. 

It’s also worth noting that using new Instagram features early on often leads to increased visibility and exposure as algorithms may be tweaked towards showcasing content in these new formats. This, coupled with the fact there is less competition means that well-crafted content has more of a chance of being seen.

Have you given Instagram Reels a go yet, or are you a faithful Instagram Stories user? Which feature are you using the most to connect with your audience? Share your opinions in the comments section below.

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