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Instagram Reels is a content format that allows you to create and share short engaging videos that — unlike Instagram Stories — don’t disappear after 24 hours.

So, what is Instagram Reels? How does it work? How can you, as a brand, use it in your marketing strategy? We have the answers to all of your questions below.

Bonus: Download the free 10-Day Reels Challenge, a daily workbook of creative prompts that will help you get started with Instagram Reels, track your growth, and see results across your entire Instagram profile.

Visuals play a key role in the journey for a user while on the app stores and downloading apps. They are 10 times more likely to scroll through the screenshot preview gallery than they are expanding the description, so it is crucial that the screenshots “sell” the app and become embedded in the user’s life. What is the main aim of screenshots? Simply put, it is to drive installs.

Users on the app store have an intent: to search for and download an app. These may be specific searches like ‘Facebook’ or a theme, like ‘fitness apps’. Either way, you have a warm audience, so utilising the screenshots to stand out from competitors is vital and will drive installs.

What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels are short, 15 or 30-second videos.

Similar to TikTok, Reels offer a set of editing tools that allow users to create engaging and fun video footage. Reels can include multiple video clips, filters, captions, interactive backgrounds, stickers and more.

A scrollable tab full of trending Reels (a.k.a. Instagram’s version of the TikTok For You page) can be accessed through the Reels icon at the bottom of the Instagram app’s home page:

An individual user’s Reels can be viewed in a dedicated tab that can be accessed above the account’s Feed:

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok

Since Instagram Reels is TikTok’s rival, it’s worth discussing how they’re similar, and how they are different.

The essence of Instagram Reels and TikTok is the same: providing users with a creative space to create and share short videos with others. They come with creative options, allowing users to make their best possible clips.

However, they also have significant differences, as shown below:

Instagram Reels vs. Instagram Stories

Don’t get confused between Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories. Even though they sound a lot like each other, they have some key differences:

  • Reels offers several creative tools, including AR effects, speed controls, and the option to align multi-clip videos for cleaner transitions.
  • Reels can be featured in Explore and shared to Stories. When you upload a Reel, you can also choose to post it to your Feed. All the Reels you create will also appear in a dedicated section of your profile, similar to IGTV posts.
  • If you include original audio, the audio clip will be attributed to you, and other users will be able to use it to create new Reels.

Now that you understand what Instagram Reels are, let’s move on to how to use them in your marketing strategy.

How to make a Reel on Instagram

If you’re familiar with Instagram and/or TikTok, you’ll find it easy to create videos with Reels.

How to log in to Reels

To access Reels, simply open the Instagram camera and choose REELS.

You’ll work with this button to create a Reel.

How to create an Instagram Reel

Instagram Reels gives you two options to create a Reel:

  1. Press and hold the record button to capture footage.
  2. Upload video footage from your camera roll.

Reels can be recorded in a series of clips (one at a time), or all at once.

Follow these six steps to create your first Reel:

Step 1: Scroll to REELS at the bottom of the screen and tap it.

Step 2: Use tools to prepare for your recording. Tap Audio (1) to select audio from the Instagram music library and add it to your video. You can even choose to add your favorite part only.

Tap Speed (2) to change the speed of your video, tap Effects (3) to apply special effects, and tap Timer (4) to determine how long your video will be.

Step 3: When you’re ready, tap, and hold the record button to record a clip. If you set a timer early on, there’s a countdown before the hands-free recording starts.

During the recording, you can tap the record button to end a clip, and then tap it again to start a new clip. Then, the Align button (5) will appear, allowing you to line up objects from the previous clip before recording your next. This is useful to create seamless transitions for moments like changing outfits, adding new music, or adding new friends into your Reel.

If you want to watch, trim, or delete the previous clip you recorded, you can tap the clip (6) and edit it.

Step 4: Once you’re done with recording, you can add stickers, drawings, and text to edit your Reel.

For a crash course in Reel’s creative editing features, download our free 10-day Reels challenge:

Bonus: Download the free 10-Day Reels Challenge, a daily workbook of creative prompts that will help you get started with Instagram Reels, track your growth, and see results across your entire Instagram profile.

Done! You’ve known how to create a video with Instagram Reels. Let’s move on to find out how you can share it with your followers.

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