Instagram Reels 101 – What they are, How they work & Why you should use them.

Instagram Reels were first introduced on the 5th August and they are a new way of sharing content on the platform. In essence a reel is a 15 or 30 second short video, where you can use audio effects, video effects and even showcase music – almost exactly like Tik-Tok, however it isn’t an entirely different platform, it is in-app. We at Beanie Media have made some, you can check the out here.

Your reels are shown on a separate tab on your profile, alongside IGTV & your tagged photos, but also appear on your main tab if you choose for them to do so. 

Instagram Reels on the story screen.

Creating a reel is easy, you slide over to the camera on Instagram, and at the bottom you should see the reels function. 

You have a few options with reels, you can choose a video that you’ve already taken, or record a new one in-app using Instagram’s camera. Some users may choose to create their whole reel using other software and importing it to achieve higher production value, but Instagram’s editor is perfectly suited for personal & recreational use. 

Instagram reels Augmented Reality effects.

Within the in-app editor, there are multiple effects you can use, such as AR (Augmented Reality), and each clip you record can have a different effect.

Adding music to Instagram Reels

You can select music from Instagram’s music library to play over your reel, it has a large selection of songs spanning many genres, from Drum & Bass to Country, so you can find what suits your reel best. However please note that not all accounts can access Instagram Music.

The Timer function allows for you to record reels without the need for a second person holding the camera, making it a lot easier to film if you are doing them by yourself. They even give you the option to set how long your clip is, so you don’t have to come back and edit out you pressing the stop button. 

Instagram Reels on the explore page.

You can share your reels to your personal Instagram feed, and therefore it gets shown to your followers, but when your account’s privacy settings are set to public, it opens up the option to share your reels to the Explore page – This gives your reel the chance to be seen by anyone on Instagram, depending on the hashtags you use, the audio you use and the effects you use.

This is why reels are a great promotional tool, as they give your content much higher reach – Even if you don’t have that many followers on your account, your reel will potentially reach a much larger audience. 

Instagram Reels that are of a higher production value on balance do better, as even though it’s only 15/30 seconds, the first few seconds are paramount in holding your audience’s attention. In layman’s terms, if your content isn’t appealing, people will click off it quickly, and Instagram’s complex algorithm will remove you as a priority and kill off your reach almost instantly. 

Another positive point surrounding reels is that they automatically play if you share them to your Instagram story, which boosts the amount of views it will get and in turn this pushes your reel to more users’ Explore pages – as the algorithm favours a large amount of views in a short space of time.  

Sometimes Reels are labelled with the term ‘Featured’, this means that Instagram has selected your reel to be shown at the front of the Explore page – If this happens for your reel, Instagram will send you a notification – This is probably the best thing that can happen, as this means your reel is guaranteed to be seen by millions. 

To conclude, Reels are a perfect way to grow your brand on Instagram, as the possibility for them to reach new accounts is incredibly high, and the possibility to go viral is a lot larger than with regular posts. In our opinion, the best way to utilise the function is quick and snappy content, potentially of a more informal nature than you would usually post.