Back in August 2020 Instagram came out with something called Reels. Similar to TikTok, Instagram users can now record and edit together 15-second video clips set to music and share them to their Stories, Explore Feed, and the new Reels tab on a user’s profile.
What are Instagram Reels?
Reels invites you to create fun videos to share with your friends or anyone on Instagram. Record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and new creative tools. You can share reels with your followers on Feed, and, if you have a public account, make them available to the wider Instagram community through a new space in Explore.
Reels in Explore offers anyone the chance to become a creator on Instagram and reach new audiences on a global stage.
I know what you’re thinking. “I barely post on Instagram and IG stories, now I have to worry about ANOTHER platform?!”
While it can be a bit overwhelming to keep up with all the changes, it’s another way to get your products/services out there and that makes it all worth it, right?
Plus, it’s free so can we really complain?
To save you some time, I thought I’d break down what Instagram Reels is and how you can use it to your advantage!
Reels is basically a video format within the existing app, similar to IGTV and Stories, that comes with special editing tools and resources that allow for a more produced look.
Creating Instagram Reels
Select Reels at the bottom of the Instagram camera. You’ll see a variety of creative editing tools on the left side of your screen to help create your reel, including:
- Audio: Search for a song from the Instagram music library. You can also use your own original audio by simply recording a reel with it. When you share a reel with original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and if you have a public account, people can create reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your reel.
- AR Effects: Select one of the many effects in our effect gallery, created both by Instagram and creators all over the world, to record multiple clips with different effects.
- Timer and Countdown: Set the timer to record any of your clips hands-free. Once you press record, you’ll see a 3-2-1 countdown, before recording begins for the amount of time you selected.
- Align: Line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next to help create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes or adding new friends into your reel.
- Speed: Choose to speed up or slow down part of the video or audio you selected. This can help you stay on a beat or make slow motion videos.
Reels can be recorded in a series of clips (one at a time), all at once, or using video uploads from your gallery.
Record the first clip by pressing and holding the capture button.
You’ll see a progress indicator at the top of the screen as you record. Stop recording to end each clip.
With Reels, you can share with your followers and promote your blog to be discovered by the huge, diverse Instagram community on Explore.
- If you have a Public Account: You can share your reel to a dedicated space in Explore, where it has the chance to be seen and discovered by the wider Instagram community. You can also share your reel with your followers by posting it to your Feed. When you share reels featuring certain songs, hashtags, or effects, your reel may also appear on dedicated pages when someone clicks on that song, hashtag, or effect.
- If you have a Private Account: Reels follows your privacy settings on Instagram. You can share to Feed so only your followers can see your reel. People will not be able to use original audio from your reels, and people cannot share your reels with others who don’t follow you.
Once your reel is ready, move to the share screen, where you can save a draft of your reel, change the cover image, add a caption and hashtags, and tag your friends.
After you share your reel, it will live on a separate Reels tab on your profile, where people can find the reels you’ve shared.
If you also share to your Feed, your reel will appear on your main profile grid, though you have the option to remove it.
Whether you have a public or private account, you can share your reel to your Story, close friends, or in a direct message.
If you do so, your reel will behave like a regular Story — it will not be shared to Reels in Explore, it will not appear on your profile, and it will disappear after 24 hours.
Reels in Explore showcases the best of trending culture on Instagram.
Discover an entertaining selection of reels made by anyone on Instagram, in a vertical feed customized for you. If you love a reel, you can easily like, comment or share it with your friends.
You’ll also see some reels with a “Featured” label. If your reel is featured in Explore, you’ll receive a notification. Featured reels are a selection of public reels chosen by Instagram to help you discover original content we hope will entertain and inspire you.
Reels gives people new ways to express themselves, discover more of what they love on Instagram, and help anyone with the ambition of becoming a creator take center stage.
How to Promote Your Blog With IGTV
Now if you want to post longer videos than 15 seconds you need IGTV.
To create an IGTV channel, just follow the easy instructions here:
- Click on your avatar (from the main page) which will take you to your account.
- Click the “+” in the right hand corner to add a new video.
- Select a vertical video from your camera roll.
- Add in your title and description. Note: just like when you upload a video to YouTube or write a blog you want to utilize relevant keywords. Same goes for IGTV, make sure your videos are “searchable” by adding in some powerful keywords.
- Link your video to an external page. Think of all the possibilities. You could link to your website, a gallery, your portfolio or even your online store.
- Create a thumbnail for your video so your channel stays neat and organized.
- Hit that post button and you’re all set.
- After you’ve done a well deserved celebratory dance, check your IGTV stats: click on the “…” button next to the like, comment, share section. From here, select “View insights”. Now you will be able to gain access to information such as: number of views, likes and comments.
Why use IGTV?
- It’s another way to use video in your marketing (research shows that video is more effective than images or even blog posts!)
- It builds trust and connection with your audience when they can see your face
- Not everyone is using it yet, so it will help you stand out from your competitors
- Gives you an opportunity to get really creative – you can showcase your services, show people different ways to use your products, educate your audience, entertain them with a variety of demos and more!
Instagram is another incredible platform to promote your blog and business and grow your following massively.
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About Emily Standley
Emily Standley is a nationally published author, content creator, social media and SEO professional. She is a digital content strategist who has helped companies and individuals improve their online presence since 2014.