Reels are a new video-sharing format on Instagram. Inspired by the popular video-sharing app TikTok, Reels are short, customizable 15-30 second videos. With the option to include music, text, and closed captioning, your Reel can be segmented and edited to fit your needs. With practice, a Reel can be crafted and published in less than 3 minutes. Since Reels launched in August 2020, many digital natives have used the platform to share dance routines, lifestyle vlogs, recipes and other interesting clips. Businesses as well have been piggy-backing off this trend to share clips of their products or services in action. Here is a guide on Instagram reels, how they work, and how to create them.
How can reels work for your business?
With Instagram’s most recent update, Reels take center stage, if you will, when it comes to Instagram’s newest navigation bar. This is a prime area for you to introduce yourself to new and potential customers.
If you’re a business with products…
- Showcase how your products work
- Showcase how your products are made
- Showcase why you created your product
If you’re a business with services…
- Showcase what your services entail
- Showcase who is behind your services
- Showcase why you offer your services
Start by creating a rough storyboard of how you want your reel to look. If you’re emulating some of the existing trends, scroll through the Reels section of Instagram and identify the hallmarks of popular trends.
Here’s an example of key clips you would want to include if you were creating a popular How-To or Step-by-Step trend.
How to create your first Reel?
This guide will help familiarize you with the reel creator interface to help you create your first Reel.
Familiarize Yourself with the Interface.
This is the frame interface when you first open Reels on Instagram. The icons on the left-hand side of the screen allow you to customize your Reel to your liking. Here you can determine the length, add music, set the video speed, add filters or touch ups, and set a timer (this is useful if you are filming on your own).
Filming Your Reel:
The most important tool to get familiar with when creating your Reel is the timer button.
This allows you to select which part of your Reel you are filming in seconds and allows you to set a timer before the Reel begins recording.
- To set the amount of time you want to film, drag the pink bar until you’ve found the ideal length for your segment. Having a storyboard can help you to anticipate how long each will take which will help to make this go smoothly. The timer provides two Countdown options: 3 seconds or 10 seconds. This is useful if you are filming alone as it helps you position yourself or your products before recording.
2. Once you’ve set your timer for your first segment, hit ‘Record’! You’ll repeat this process until you’ve reached your 15 or 30 seconds and filmed your Reel.
3. To move on to the next segment of your Reel, click on the right most arrow on the screen (circled in red).4. After creating your Reel, you can add supplementary text, GIFs or sketches. On this screen, you’ll see familiar icons from Instagram’s Stories feature. Here you can add context to the content of your Reel. When adding text you will be able to determine where and when the text appears on your Reel.5. Finally, once you feel satisfied with the overall look and feel of your Reel, you’re ready to publish! Select the ‘Done’ button when you are finished, give your reel a caption, and tag any featured products.
Congratulations! You’ve completed your very first reel.