How to Create and Promote Reels on Instagram
‘My TikTok feed is full of it’, ‘Check out the reels I’ve sent u’, ‘The shorts they launched are so great, the channel’s growing!’ — short videos are now all around us. The short entertainment clip formats are currently actively developing on various social media and gaining new fans. In this article we discuss how to create Instagram Reels, how to shoot videos that are entertaining, engaging, and how to earn views and new followers for you Instagram account.
What is Instagram reels
Instagram Reels is the format of short vertical entertainment videos, 15 to 60 second long, launched by Instagram in 2020. Instagram decided to focus on Reels and actively promotes the new format: they placed the Reels on the app’s central button, where the ‘Add Post’ button used to be previously; the feed shows it as a separate block placed between normal posts.
How recommendations work with Reels
The Reels’ recommendation system works on the same basis as on other social media with a similar quick video format: your feed remembers what videos you like, what topics you watch/save more often, and what you forward to your friends. As time passes, Instagram recommends more and more similar clips in the topics you are interested in. The platform also tracks the overall popularity and the entertainment aspect of every Reels clip.
Today Instagram Reels offers a great way to develop and promote your Instagram account, because if your followers react well to your clips, the feed starts showing them to other people who were interested in a similar topic. Thus, high-quality bright videos gather new audience and bring it to your account. The audience of Reels continues to grow, therefore it is now high time if you want to try and shoot Reels on Instagram.
What Instagram Reels look like
How to create Reels on Instagram
To create your first Reels on Instagram, you can either use an already made video or shoot directly in Instagram. Let’s look at the both options in detail.
- If you make a new Reels video in Instagram
Choose the option that suits you: either tap the central button and then the new clip button in the upper right corner, or, when creating a new story or post, swipe right and select the Reels format.
Then hold the central button and shoot the video to the required length — all at once or in pieces. Turn on the timer for convenience. The next step is to add music and effects.
- If the video is already made and needs to be loaded in Reels
As with the option above, select creating new Reels and tap the lower left button to add a previously shot video. When loaded, add music and effects.
Reels creation screen:
In the lower center there is the record button, while on the left tools are listed for editing, adding music and effects. There are even hints from Instagram!
How to promote Reels on Instagram
To help your video gain views, remember several important points that are discussed in detail below.
The key to the success on how to promote Reels on Instagram is clip main idea. Having come up with the idea, try to express it as clearly and simply as possible. Lifehack: show the video to a friend and ask what they feel and understand about it — and compare it with your original idea.
Remember the platform’s requirement of 15 to 60 seconds. Short videos are easier to watch fully, which helps the algorithm to see that your Reels is interesting and recommend it to other users.
Quality video content is valued on Instagram. It can be achieved by using properly set lighting, remarkable scene change, bright colors, trending video processing techniques.
The audio track is what creates a certain atmosphere and helps convey your idea. Find new tracks in the Instagram’s library, monitor trending music and make sure to use it.
An effective way how to promote Reels on Instagram is using trends. Reels is favorable to clips made based on a certain clear trend, since Instagram specifically assesses the video’s entertaining aspect. To make reels on Instagram look original, combine the creation of trending videos with your unique view, joke or presentation — thus you will spark followers’ interest.
What to avoid in Reels
Every platform has its own content restrictions and advices. Here's what's important to consider when promoting reels on Instagram. Instagram encourages users to create original videos using the Reels format, therefore let’s point out what kind of videos are not favored based on the Instagram’s recommendations:
- Poor quality: blurry, pixelated, fuzzy.
- A lot of text on top of the image.
- Logos of other apps or platforms (e.g., TikTok).
- Unsuitable format: framed, cropped.
How Reels is different from Stories and TikTok
It seems that short video formats are very similar. However, there are differences between and even within platforms. If you can tell the difference between Reels and Stories and Tiktok, you can easily make suitable clips for each of those.
Every format on Instagram has its purpose and place in the app. Instagram Stories are a personal diary format. They vanish after 24 hours, they show life right here, right now and help catch the moment. When stories are deleted, they are only visible to the author in the personal archive, from which any story may be pinned or highlighted.
In contrast to Stories, Reels has its own place — a separate tab in the profile, where all the user’s clips are available. Also, Reels are shown as normal posts in the feed and they are also in open access. This is why it is important that Reels should be clear without any background — they may be watched by people who know nothing about you.
The Reels format is more similar to TikTok: these are short, often dynamic vertical videos that are picked by algorithms based on user preferences. However, there are differences, too, which need to be understood before launching video content in Reels and TikTok.
Specific communities around narrow topics have already formed on TikTok, which allow you to get to the other side of TikTok. These include booktok, witchtok, role-playing, horticulture, history and education. It’s not there on Reels yet — the topics used in videos are more mainstream, without narrow, niche topics that are interesting to small groups of people. The good news is that you can put it to your advantage :)
- Trends and topics
This point is closely related to the one above — Reels authors mainly take acute topics from TikTok, repeating videos that became popular there. In Reels you can often find repeated jokes and sketches from TikTok and reshot trends. Among other areas, Reels is currently abundant in topics such as aesthetics, beauty, fashion, makeup, atmosphere, while TikTok is rich in educational, professional and expert content.
- Video length
As of 2021, Instagram Reels allows posting videos not longer than 60 seconds, while TikTok after recent updates allows videos up to 5 minutes.
- Processing and editing capabilities
At first glance, the video editing tools are similar for the both platforms. TikTok, however, offers wider capabilities in audio editing, video effects and cutting within the app itself.
- Analytical tools
On TikTok, users who switched to Pro have access to wide analytics for the posted clips: view count, follower gender and age, average viewing time per video, followers’ interests and other indicators help improve your content. On Reels, you now only get standard metrics of views, likes, comments and saves, even if you are the author or switch to business account.
What to make your first Reels about?
If you decide to promote you Instagram account using Reels or you just enjoy trying new things or creating video content, try one of the trending Reels formats below.
Videos with instant changes of outfits to striking pop music gain lots of views. The editing pattern and sounds may be peeped in popular fashion blogs that use this trick. The format is good in its suitability for almost any blog topic and time period: whether it is New Year, Halloween, or summer holidays, it can inspire you to shoot outfit-change Reels.
Spectacular makeups also attract many fans on Reels. Go to extremes here: the brighter and more unusual it is, the more captivating the video is. And don’t forget good lighting, which is especially important here.
The cottagecore aesthetic wins Instagram users’ hearts. Slow videos to charming music, with a set of views of nature, simple everyday life, countryside landscapes and vintage style are tempting to rewatch to feel as tranquil and comfortable as the people there. Draw inspiration from the mood of your favorite calm languishing tracks and make your first Reels.
Before vs. After
When you think about how to make your Instagram reels more engaging, using before vs. after is very effective. Such metamorphoses are also very likeable by Instagram Reels users. This works with repairs, clothes, makeup, cleaning, hairstyle. There are many tracks used specifically for such a format, remember to pick suitable music to hook followers even more.
Tips and Lifehacks
Even if we never bring them to life, lifehacks and quick recipes and solutions are what we like to watch. Reels is not an exception; therefore, think of useful things you could share with your followers.
New content formats on social media are a great opportunity that you don’t want to miss. While the Reels audience is still growing, Instagram ‘helps’ with views to users who try creating video content: it recommends clips, shows them more frequently to your followers and other feed users, adds them to the section. So, take your chance as you still have time to find your idea that will bring millions of followers.
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