Everything you need to know about Instagram Reels

Have you tried Instagram’s relatively new feature that allows you to create short, engaging videos? Yes, we are talking about Instagram Reels. If it's still a bit of a mystery to you and you aren’t sure how to use Reels effectively for your content and business, read our new article where we take a closer look.
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What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels became available to most users in August 2020 as a response to the huge popularity of TikTok. Instagram didn’t want to be outpaced, and introduced a new feature within its platform for sharing similar content – namely, the much-loved short video.

The developers avoided a key mistake they’d made with IGTV. Unlike IGTV, Reels is integrated directly into the existing Instagram interface, which should lead to greater efficiency and, more importantly, a higher usage rate than IGTV. In addition, the video format remains the same as for IG Stories.

Here is a clear list of the main characteristics of Reels:

  • Short video content in full portrait mode 9:16
  • Videos can be up to 30 seconds long
  • Videos can be recorded directly in the Reels interface or imported from your photo gallery, just as they can from TikTok.
  • Videos can be shot as a single scene or a series of ‘stitched’ together shots
  • Reels can only be recorded on mobile devices

You can recognize an Instagram Reels video by the icon in the lower left corner of the video when browsing posts on the homepage, or in the upper right corner when viewing content on a specific profile. Reels also appear in the regular feed like any other post.

On the Explore page, you can discover Reels from other users. At the top of the page, a large format of video sequences selected just for you and based on the content you most often watch, is now displayed. If you scroll further, you will see more Reels videos, scattered around.

How to work with Instagram Reels in business?

Now that you know what Instagram Reels is, you are undoubtedly interested in how to use it for your brand or company.

You may have thought before now that all Reels or TikTok videos are just about dancing and music. However, this is not true. Corporate accounts, moreover, do not have the option to add musical scores to videos, so you will need to use other creative approaches.

There are dozens of possibilities. The fashion industry uses Reels to introduce various combinations of clothing and styles. Artists often record the process of creating their own work – whether it’s drawing, singing, or anything else.

Another interesting option is filming various tutorials from your field (freelance photographers use Reels to bring tips to their audience on how to use various features for photo editing, etc.). If you need to introduce a specific product that you are just launching on the market, Reels are also a great choice. You can also make a short video from backstage, meetings/introductions of employees, which can serve excellently to present what your company actually does, how it operates, and what it specializes in.

Stop motion videos, where one scene ends and immediately jumps to another, are also very popular right now. If you need to introduce a product that requires assembly (e.g., furniture), you can create a fun video showing the process of assembling the product from start to finish in quick cuts. Or if your product has several different color variants, it is an ideal tool for a quick presentation while maintaining the same background.

It’s worth mentioning that most people watching Reels will not read the video caption, especially if it’s long. If you have a call to action (CTA) in your post or information you want to highlight, make sure the viewer hears it in the video itself, or sees it as highlighted text directly in the video.

Top 3 Brands on IG Reels

#1. Louis Vuitton –  publishes high-quality, stunning, and creative IG Reels videos.

Each of their videos has gone viral with an average of 5-7 million views. The global fashion brand uses Instagram Reels to promote new collections. In their latest set of videos, they introduce #LVCruise.

Louis Vuitton has also partnered with TikTok and will be streaming live from fashion weeks around the world. Like TikTok videos on the For You page, Instagram Reels appear on the Explore page – meaning people who don’t follow you will be able to see and engage with your Instagram Reels, too. This is a key growth hack, as every time you post, it puts your brand in front of an entirely new audience. So, while your view count starts to climb with each Reels post, your follower count may also get a little boost!

#2. Sephora France

With more than 300,000 views on each of their videos, Sephora France seems to have mastered Instagram Reels. They do a great job engaging their audience in the comments section with captions like “tag a friend you want to shop with” and “which color is your favorite?” they achieve great success.

#3. Red Bull France

Given its strong global community on Instagram, it’s no surprise that Red Bull France already has several viral videos. Red Bull France understands their demographic and offers exciting content that appeals to their audience – especially outdoor sports. Their most popular video – a POV on a dirt bike on a super steep hill – has over 2 million views!

How to Create Instagram Reels

Before you dive headfirst into creating Reels, we recommend looking through videos of your favourite creators. This will give you a better idea of what works, what you like, and what inspires you to create. But let’s look at how to actually create the videos themselves.

You can access Reels from the classic interface for Stories. Just swipe right with your finger. At the bottom of the screen, you will see three options: Live, Story, and Reels. Switch to Reels – this automatically activates your phone’s camera.



Once the camera starts, you will see navigation tools on the left side of the screen. In the top left corner you’ll find the settings icon, which keeps the same settings as for your Instagram Stories. The icons in the middle of the screen are for recording and editing your videos.

It’s important to realize that if you want to add creative effects to your clips, you need to select them before recording. After uploading Reels, you can no longer go back and add or edit clips.

Instagram business profiles have access to these four features:

  • Sequence Length: 15-30 seconds.
  • Speed: choose a higher or lower video recording speed.
  • AR Effects: tap on Effects and browse through filter options at the bottom where the trigger button is. If you don’t choose from the offered effects, at the end of the selection there is an option to browse effects.
  • Timer: by tapping on the clock icon, you set the recording timer, and dictate how soon it starts recording and how long the video will record.



Personal profiles and Instagram creator profiles have access to the same features plus the sound (or music) feature.



Once you select the effects, it’s time to record the clip itself. You start recording by pressing and holding the large trigger button at the bottom of the screen. You can record multiple clips with a maximum total length of 30 seconds. During recording, you will see how much time you have left.

Once you record your clip, you will see two arrows on both sides of the trigger. The arrow pointing to the left is for replaying the clip you just recorded.



If you tap the left-pointing arrow, you can trim or delete the clip.



In addition to recording with the Reels camera, you can record videos directly from your camera gallery. However, note that the platform supports only videos, so you can’t upload pictures.

If you want to record another clip for Instagram Reels, tap and hold the trigger button and record another clip by repeating the steps above. Remember that if you want to add the same music or effects to the next clip, you need to select them before you start recording.



If you want to align your shot with the last one you took, use the Align tool (icon with two squares) on the left side of the screen. This creates a transparent copy of your last clip, so you can align the new clip and create a smoother transition between the sections.



If you are satisfied with the entire video clip, tap the arrow pointing to the right next to the trigger button to move to the next phase of creating the Reels clip. In this phase, you can add stickers, text, and drawing, similar to what you are used to in Instagram Stories. By tapping the down arrow on the top toolbar, you can save the video clip.

Publishing Reels

After completing your Reels clip, tap the arrow pointing to the right at the bottom of the screen. You will be redirected to the Share screen, where you choose sharing options on the Reels tab, feed, or Stories.

Don’t forget to select a good cover image for the video. Do this by tapping on the thumbnail image labeled “Cover Photo”. Drag your finger across the video player at the bottom of the screen to select the ideal cover shot.



Now you can add a caption to your video. It can be up to 2,200 characters long and you can add up to 30 hashtags, just like in a regular Instagram post.

Warning: If you exceed the character or hashtag limit, your video will be published without a caption. It’s recommended to always copy it in case you need to make edits.

Once your post is ready to upload, you can choose where to share it. It will automatically appear in your feed. If you don’t want to share the video in your feed, tap the slider for this option, and the video will be uploaded only to the Reels tab.

If you are not yet ready to share the post publicly but want to save it for later, tap on the Save as Draft option at the bottom of the screen. This will save the video file as you prepared it. Later, you can return and add more clips, update captions, etc.



Instagram Reels Limitations

Like any new feature, there are significant limitations with Instagram Reels. If you are familiar with TikTok, you will notice that many features offered by TikTok are not available in Reels. Even if you are used to using Instagram Stories, you will feel that some key features are missing in Reels. You can find their basic list below:

  • You can pause Reels while watching, but you can’t skip or rewind. You must let the video play and then it will play again.
  • For Reels you’ve created, you can’t edit the caption after it’s been uploaded. So watch out for typos! To correct them, you would have to delete the video and upload it all over again, which can be quite frustrating…
  • Only a preview of the caption, i.e., one line, is displayed. Followers tap on “More” to display the entire description. This is not an ideal solution for long texts or CTAs, as we mentioned above.
  • There are no detailed statistics available for Instagram Reels. The video thumbnail shows you the total number of views, but so far there is no data on likes, comments, clicks, followers, or other metrics. And the Statistics tab on your profile currently does not provide any details about your Reels. However, if the post was uploaded to your feed, this reach is counted towards your account’s total reach for that week.


Instagram Reels was a highly anticipated feature, and many brands are still looking for ways to stand out on this platform. Some creators are flipping their content from TikTok to IG Reels, but we recommend focusing on creating original and unique content directly on the Instagram platform. Shared videos don’t look quite right in the feed. Set your own style, stick to it, and use all the features to the fullest.

Before you dive headfirst into it, make sure you’ve tried creating content and are used to the limitiations of Reels. Once you get a handle on the process of filming, editing, and uploading videos, it will come naturally. Or, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we’ve been creating content on social networks for quite some time :-).

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