In our article, you will learn what Instagram Reels are and how to use them to improve the performance of your personal blog and business page.
"Sticky" videos, the duration of which does not exceed 1 minute, is a very successful format for presenting information. With their help, you can easily build a comfortable relationship with the audience and attract new customers.
What is Instagram Reels
The massive craze for the Reels format on the TikTok social network prompted Instagram developers to think about introducing a similar short video format. Considering that today almost everyone is able to shoot and more or less qualitatively edit a good video, it was decided not to miss this opportunity to retain existing and attract new users.
Reels are mini videos up to 1 minute long. They, like stories, have a vertical format, but do not disappear after a day, but are stored in the user's account.
- limited duration - up to 60 seconds;
- format – 9:16;
- the ability to shoot and edit in the Instagram application;
- video can be shot in full or in fragments;
- the ability to apply special effects, add sounds, musical compositions and text;
- pre-shot videos can be loaded into the application directly from the smartphone’s memory;
- the function is only available on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet).
Instagram Reels vs Tik Tok: similarities and differences
In general, Reels on Instagram is very similar to TikTok: the video feed “swipes” ad infinitum, and your own interests influence which stories you come across. Filters, editing specifics, and effects also coincide with TikTok, but the functionality is still limited. Each video is accompanied by an indication of the music track used in the video. In addition, users can prescribe hashtags containing keywords to it.
Key Difference: TikTok is an entire platform, while Reels is a feature built into Instagram. While watching such a video, you can look at its owner's profile to see its other content: IGTV, photos, texts. Another difference is the length of the video. On TikTok, it can be up to 3 minutes, which gives you more opportunities to shoot logically completed stories according to a well-thought-out scenario.
How it differs from Stories
The main difference is the display time. Stories are only displayed 24 hours from the time they were uploaded. When this time expires, they can be transferred from the archive to the Stories Highlights category if necessary. But Reels are initially saved in a separate gallery.
The captured videos can be cut into fragments, "glue" them together, perform artistic editing using a whole palette of special effects - and from all this make one Reels video. The result is a real mini-clip. You can't do that with Stories.
And one more distinctive moment. Stories is characterized by live mode: the user shows what is happening to him at the moment. Reels videos are dynamic and do not require any continuation.
How did Reels appear on Instagram?
In November 2019, Instagram developers began testing a new video product called Reels in Brazil. Then the same tests were carried out in Germany and France.
On August 5, 2020, Instagram was officially updated with a new feature. Since that day, users from 50 countries, in particular the USA, Great Britain, Germany, and France, have gained access to it. In Ukraine, it appeared in the spring of 2021 in a test mode, and even then not for everyone at the same time.
Initially, the duration of the video in Reels was limited to 15 seconds. In September 2020, it was increased to 30 seconds, and in July 2021 to 60 seconds. They could add musical compositions and elements of AR (augmented reality). It was also allowed to change the playback speed in the direction of increasing or decreasing. All these video manipulations can be done now.
Instagram came up with its own TikTok?
Apparently, yes. At TikTok, they don't even doubt it. Its chief executive, Kevin Mayer, a month before the full launch of the Reels feature, having been informed of Instagram's plans, referred to this innovation as a "copycat service." And on the first day of the Reels launch, the official TikTok Twitter page reposted an Instagram post about the new product and accompanied it with the ironic comment “well…looks familiar.”
Are Reels and TikTok content different?
You can hardly say so. At least for now, the differences are not noticeable. On Reels, Instagram users upload almost the same things that they do on TikTok - funny moves or lip-synching, remixes of other people's videos, interesting creative experiments and infectious flash mobs. Some, without bothering to take new shots, simply upload to Reels those videos that they used to make for TikTok.
Should TikTok be afraid of a competitor?
It is too early to talk about the competitive war between Instagram and TikTok. On the one hand, not all users are satisfied with the new feature - it is "accused" of cluttering and unjustifiably complicating the mobile application. At the same time, the introduction of Reels in the first months attracted a huge audience from TikTok to Instagram - we are talking about a billion people a month. Despite the fact that there is no open competitive confrontation between social networks because of this novelty, it is quite possible that everything is still ahead.
How to Find Reels on Instagram
The Reels icon looks like a movie clapperboard icon. It is located in the central part of the lower menu. To view such videos, you need to click on it and scroll the tape up. The Reels category will also appear in the user's profile if he has uploaded at least 1 video to the social network. It is located here under Stories Highlights, near IGTV.
Thus, the "home" button of the application, previously used to upload new photos or Stories, is now responsible for Reels. This confirms the words of the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, that the social network decided to change its priorities in favor of video, relegating photos to the background.
How to remove Instagram Reels
- On the main page, swipe left as if you were about to record Stories. Go to the bottom menu and click Reels.
- When the camera opens, you will have access to the shooting tools. Choose special effects (speed control, desired filters, etc.) before you start shooting. It will not work after that - if you forget, you will have to do everything again.
- The shooting process looks like this: hold the launch icon and do not release it until you complete it. Need free hands? Then use a timer.
You can record the whole video at once or separate fragments of it. The screen will display the timing of the footage, which will help you trim the video (click on the scissors icon if you need to do this). The finished video can be supplemented with text and stickers. To save the result to your phone, click the arrow in the menu at the top.
How to upload Reels to Instagram
You don't have to make a video for Reels right now. You can also upload a pre-shot video if it fully meets the criteria for this format. To add, you need to click on the plus sign, which is located at the top right on the main or your Instagram profile page. In the menu that opens, click "Video Reels".
When the video is loaded, complete it with sound, decorate with stickers and create a cover. During the posting process, Reels, like IGTV, can also be placed in the main feed of your profile. Note that the video thumbnail in the feed is displayed square instead of rectangular, so shoot with the most important things in the center.
Please note that adding music to videos is only available for simple custom Instagram pages. If you have registered a business profile, you will not be able to do so. Nevertheless, Reels are great for promotion and advertising. Read on to find out how to use this marketing tool effectively.
Instagram Reels for business
For marketers and SMM specialists, Reels videos on Instagram are an additional opportunity to promote a brand, advertise a product or service. Since the feature appeared relatively recently, it is now easier to promote using it than the classic methods - through the feed or Stories. As long as the competition is low, you can get views and popularity quickly.
The theme of Reels on Instagram is not limited to funny and funny stories. A business can focus on the content it needs:
- step by step instructions and tips;
- stories about employees;
- product manufacturing process;
- interesting work cases;
- options for the use or use of the product;
- backstage of company events.
The Reels feed is basically "sharpened" for the interests of the user. Therefore, high-quality and really useful videos are the key to successful promotion on Instagram in 2022 without additional financial investments.
Focus on originality
Recently, Instagram introduced an “originality rating” – this is how the social network promotes unique content. Specially developed algorithms now determine which video is the author's (created using its tools), and which is someone else's work copied from another source.
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Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, believes that creators of original content deserve more recognition than those who simply repost the work of other users. How the social network will establish the exclusivity of the video and how exactly it is going to encourage their authors is not yet known. But something else is clear: such an innovation will deal a significant blow to aggregator profiles, all of whose content is represented by photos and videos copied from other social networks.
What to shoot for a company or brand
Are you promoting a company or your own brand on TikTok? Then you will quickly "make friends" with Reels. Both the format, the subject matter, and the presentation method are very similar. If you're not on TikTok but you're planning to make Reels for Instagram, here are 7 real-life shoot ideas to inspire you as you develop your content plan.
Product overview on Reels
Short videos that demonstrate the company's product from different angles, as well as show it "in operation", are invariably popular among users.
For example, on the official page of the L'Oreal Paris brand (@lorealparis), a Reels video is posted in which a girl advertises Magic Retouch anti-gray spray. She sprays a miracle spray on the gray hair roots, and they literally change color in 3 seconds.
The world-famous Ukrainian designer Oksana Mukha (@oksana_mukha_official) demonstrates exquisite designer wedding dresses on her official page. Some of them are shown by female models in short videos (up to 1 minute). Thanks to this format, the dress can be viewed from all sides and understand how it sits on the figure.
The catering chain Lviv Croissants (@lvivcroissants) also uses the short video format to seduce regular and potential customers. For example, a 12-second clip, where we see a beautifully set table on the summer terrace of a cafe with mouth-watering croissants with strawberry filling and chocolate, will not leave indifferent a fan of delicious and aesthetic pastries.
The Reels format in this topic is dynamic videos that cover only one topic, help you learn something new and remember it. They should be as simple, accessible and fun as possible.
Ted Talks (@ted) is an English-language platform where many experts from different fields (science, creativity, design, culture, politics, business, global issues, technology, entertainment, etc.) share their thoughts. There are videos with Ukrainian and Russian subtitles. In Reels, an interesting topic is briefly presented here, and the description of the video indicates where the user can see the full version. One example is speaker Wendy Suzuki explaining whether exercise can prevent aging.
Yana Alexandrova (@aleks_english_iana), an English tutor with 13 years of experience, wrote to Reels about the use of the word “get”, explaining its meaning and when it is appropriate to use it.
Record Reels with the process of packaging your products for the customer. Try to do it aesthetically: carefully put the product itself into the box, add a nice note or postcard to it, stick a beautiful sticker, decorate with ribbons. Show your customers how much you care about them. Show love not only in the banal phrase printed on the package, but also in your attitude towards them.
Confectionery house "The M Cakes" (@the_m_cakes) in short videos demonstrates several options for the original packaging of their desserts.
Zaza Pizza (@zaza_pizza_) page shows how an employee carefully packs a pizza in a branded box. By the way, the process of unpacking by the client is also filmed.
The step by step guide is the perfect scene for shooting Reels. Accelerated playback and editing of individual fragments make it possible to keep within just 30-60 seconds.
The world-famous brand Snickers (@snickers) has posted a video tutorial on how to make SNICKERS Ice Cream Coffee Floats on its official Instagram page. The duration of the video is only 36 seconds. The recipe in text form is left in the description.
The Ukrainian ethnic clothing brand Etnodim (@etnodim) offered its customers a video tutorial on how to wear an embroidered shirt in winter. Within 1 minute the female model managed to demonstrate options with a coat, a combination of light trousers and blue jeans with a Whitewood embroidered shirt and a gray embroidered shirt.
Thematically, this category refers to training videos, but it is still desirable to consider it separately. Tips and Tricks Reels are popular with users as they provide valuable life hacks, as well as concise and understandable explanations on how to solve everyday problems.
Yaroslav Demyshyn, founder of Prostir, a turnkey complex repair company, maintains a personal blog on Instagram (@demyshyn_pro). In short videos, he gives his audience helpful tips. For example, how can you use a hygienic shower in your home or how to choose upholstered furniture.
On the page of the public organization "Ukraine without Smitya" (@nowasteukraine) you can watch a 43 second video on how to properly sort plastic bags. In addition, there are videos about the disposal of glass containers from antiperspirant and other recyclables.
Videos on this topic demonstrate how a specialist works. Such stories allow you to at least casually assess the skill of a person or group of people to whom you may turn for a purchase, service or help. Reels with the process of work are recommended to be recorded by makeup artists, cosmetologists, massage therapists, confectioners, and some doctors.
Confectioner Julia Volkovskaya (@j.volkovskaya_cakes) shows the process of decorating holiday cupcakes. Thanks to the accelerated playback, users can see it in its entirety: from the beginning of work to the final touches.
The Ukrainian clothing and footwear brand Kachorovska (@kachorovska_atelier) offers a service of individual tailoring of non-standard bags and shoes. The 15-second video shows part of the craftsman's process of making specific sandals.
The Medical Center of St. Paraskeva (@stparaskevamc) offers to watch a video lasting only 58 seconds, which shows the process of performing an endoscopic examination (gastroscopy) of a patient in a state of medical sleep. The video focuses on modern equipment, leading experts, international standards, infection safety and guarantees of high quality diagnostics.
In Instagram, most often people come to admire the beauty and examples of an ideal life. If there is demand, then there must be supply. To attract visitors and customers, show them something atmospheric so that they urgently want to go there. Such videos are recommended to be shot by restaurants and companies that organize travel.
The five-star Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Bali (@mandapareserve) showcases guest villas with one, two and three bedrooms, terraces with breathtaking views, pools and outdoor showers. All this can be seen in professionally shot short videos.
Travel agency "VOYAGE" (@voyage.travel.agency) offers travel around the world, individual selection of tours and online booking. As examples, illustrative atmospheric videos are posted on the page. In the 25-second video, a company employee flaunts in the desert among the dunes, and in the 11-second sketch, against the background of stone pillars in Cappadocia.
Reels is a very promising Instagram feature that could well compete with the entire TikTok social network. Determining the right approach, a good choice of topics and high-quality content will help to form and increase loyalty to a brand or company with its help. Want to check it out? Record and post one Reels daily for a month. When the deadline expires, study the statistics of your page - pay special attention to the growth of subscribers. The result will definitely please you.
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