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How to Use Instagram Reels (for Reals)

Celeste Grant

Watch out, TikTok. There’s a new rival in town. Instagram debuted its version of TikTok, called Instagram Reels, in August 2020. According to Forbes, “61% of users said they’ll be spending more time on Instagram as a result.”

The timing is perfect. With TikTok being forced to sell to an American company because of pressure from the Trump administration, Instagram Reels has the advantage of being the product without the controversy.

So, let’s cut to the chase. What is Instagram Reels, and how can you use it for your brand?

What is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels gives users a quick way to create and discover short, entertaining videos. You can share reels with followers on your feed or publish them to the Reels space on the Instagram Explore page. If you’re a marketer, this is great news because it gives your brand an opportunity to reach a larger audience.


How to create an Instagram Reel

To make a reel, launch your Instagram app and open the in-app camera. Tap on the word “Reels” at the bottom of the camera. From here you can shoot a 15-second reel just like you would shoot an Instagram Story. You can also view a brand’s reels by tapping on the movie clip icon.


The difference between Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels is that you can slow down or speed up footage, add words that appear and disappear, and set timers for how long the clips should be. You can do all this from the camera view.

Step-by-step guide on how to create your first Instagram Reel:

  1. Open Instagram Stories and select the Reels tab. This opens the video recorder.
  1. Select the audio you want to use by tapping the music icon. You can play music or sounds in the background to bring your reel to life.
  1. Choose the section of the song you want to use for your reel. Get creative and match the energy of the music to the context of your video.
  1. Press and hold the record button to capture your footage. If you have pre-recorded video to use, you can also choose to upload it from your camera roll.
  1. Have fun. Use filters, play with the speed, and add music and gifs. Once you’ve perfected your reel, tap “post” to share it to your feed.

Telling your story through Reels

Remember: Instagram Reels are short, 15-second videos. Reels are meant to be fun, in-formal, and real! We love this feature because gone are the days of impeccable editing and perfect, flat images. Now you can reach a new audience that values creative content over a perfectly manicured feed.

The most important part of using Instagram Reels is telling your story creatively. Your brand should speak human. Creating content that resonates with your audience is critical for building trust online. Reels gives you the tools to do just that—with quick, creative ways to help you create captivating content.

Reels also empowers businesses to show their human side, which helps build authentic communities and relationships. You can use it to share educational content, an inspirational message, or even showcase your products (but don’t be pitchy).

No matter your industry, there’s an opportunity waiting for you on Instagram Reels.

Let us know how you plan to use Instagram Reels. Come join the conversation on our Instagram channel: t3_custom.