10 Aug How to Use Instagram Reels + 8 Ideas (updated!)

If you loved Vine and obsess on TikTok, there’s a new feature on Instagram that has your name all over it:  Reels. Launched on iOS and Android in over 50 countries in August 2020, including the US, UK, Australia and Japan, Reels lets you record short form videos and add your own style in the mix.  And one of the best parts?  It isn’t a new app. It lives entirely within Instagram.

Creating your own Reel is simple.  At a maximum of 15 seconds long, you can record a video then add popular music and layer an impressive amount of effects and filters over them. How do you start? In Instagram, you’ll find a new section of the camera that is tricked out with a variety of tools, making it possible to record your Reel all at once or as a series of clips. You have the option of uploading videos from your photo gallery as well.  You can modify the speed, set a timer, add in an audio track and add special effects. Instagram shines in simplifying technology for whoever wants to create a video.

How is it different than Stories?  Inherently social, Stories is designed to share quick snippets with your followers. Reels is entertainment based and lets you put your creative hat on. With more than half of Instagram’s users checking out the Explore page each month, Instagram is providing the opportunity to watch and be inspired to create.

Want to use Instagram Reels to expand your following?  Check out Instagram’s Explore page and you’ll find a specific landing page at the top of the screen and you can vertically scroll through videos.   With both private and public options available, Instagram will help you keep your videos private, only posting to a person’s Feed and Stories. A public profile will allow your Reels to become widely discovered, allowing you to become the Insta star you’ve always dreamed of becoming!

Reels is launching during a time of upheaval for TikTok, which could potentially be at least partially acquired by Microsoft and is targeted to be banned in the United States. Reels and TikTok both feature the short video format but the two are different.  You can send Reels to your friends directly on Insta  using Instagram-specific AR tools and filters, staying in the existing network. Unlike TikTok, you won’t be able to “duet” with someone on Reels and you won’t be able to upload songs directly into the app’s system.

At this point, Insta won’t be paying popular creators for their videos, as TikTok is beginning to offer.   Insta will let creators and influencers make money via sponsored posts and brand deals but they don’t directly pay anyone for content.  TikTok began paying recently, opening up a $200 million fund in the United States to pay users for videos and they’re looking to expand that.

One of the charms of Reels is that it isn’t its own world like Vine or TikTok but another format in Instagram, allowing users to enjoy multiple types of experiences without leaving the app.

8 ‘Reel’ Ideas for Your Business

  1. Yup, Nope. Record a video of yourself shaking your head “yup” or “nope” to E-40’s song, “Choices”. Then add in questions about your industry that you’re ‘answering’.
  2. Outfit change. Our personal favorite as anyone in any industry can have one with this. Record clips of yourself jumping into different outfits. Here is a fun example!
  3. The “new” handshake. From foot bumps to simple waves, record clips of how your family or staff is safely saying “hello” these days.
  4. Recipes. (Made one? Tag us @socialcow – we LOVE simple recipes!). Relatively easy to make, these simply require
  5. Before / Afters. Instagram Reels’ “Align” feature makes these fun and easy to do.
  6. Tutorials. Using basic editing apps to splice and merge your Reel, you can do all kinds of tutorials. From hair to app features and everything in between, tutorials are a great way to attract new followers by displaying your authority on the topic.
  7. Product Show. One of our favorite displays of this is how representatives of the hair company, Monat, are doing it! Fun and informative, these Instagram Reels are tidbits of helpful information about hair care. Whether you sell products or services, focus on displaying what makes you different from everyone else.
  8. Time Lapse. From medical treatments (especially beauty ones!) to how you create your product, time lapses are a great way to squeeze minutes into the 15 seconds Instagram Reels allows you!

You can also upload pre-existing videos, including your TikTok vids, which we recommend you transfer over – you know, just in case!

Want more ideas? Click here to request a free brainstorming session.