Instagram Reels: A Guide for Marketers

Instagram’s growth is rather impressive.

No doubt about that!

According to Hootsuite, Instagram users spent an average of 30 minutes daily on the app in 2020, which is a remarkable 13.6% increase since 2019. Recent studies show that Instagram captures around 13% of all stream viewers on social media.

Instagram is often launching new features to help businesses enhance their digital marketing tactics.

One of these very popular and handy launches is Instagram Reels.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything about Instagram Reels, including how to create them and how to use them in your marketing strategy.

Let’s begin.


What are Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is a new Instagram feature that allows users to create short clips and videos.

Here are some key highlights about Instagram Reels:

  • They range from 1 to 30 seconds
  • They can be edited using music, audio, stickers, special effects, and text
  • They can be recorded as one take or several clips edited together

Additionally, Reels can be uploaded to your Instagram feed as well as your Instagram stories.

Let’s look at an example of the Instagram account of the world-renowned Italian fashion brand, Dolce & Gabbana.

To be more precise, here’s how their Reels page—and the high level of engagement it gets—looks:


Instagram Reels Dolce and Gabbana


The number of followers the brand has proved that they most definitely create engaging content for their audience, Reels included.



We’ve seen what Instagram Reels look like, so we’re now going to look closer at TikTok, Instagram’s biggest competitor when it comes to reels.

Let’s see what the difference is between Instagram Reels and TikTok.


What’s the Difference Between Instagram Reels and TikTok?

Although quite similar, Instagram Reels and TikTok, whether it’s TikTok for businesses or individuals, are different in many ways.

Overall, we would say that TikTok is newer than Instagram and thus it’s preferred by younger people and teens, whereas Instagram tends to be more popular with millennials.

In terms of their capabilities, users can use Instagram Reels to record videos for up to 90 seconds.

On the other hand, on TikTok, users can record videos of up to 10 minutes.


60-second tiktok


A key difference between the two is that TikTok has only one feed which users can check out videos from.

Instagram has a designated Explore page where users can find Reels.

As we’ve already said, they are quite similar, so, let’s have a look at an example of a company that uses both.

Known for its energy drinks, Red Bull successfully uses the two platforms to keep their audiences engaged.

Here’s their official TikTok account with over five million followers.


tiktok redbull


This is the Red Bull Instagram account, with over fourteen million followers.


instagram redbull


Impressive, isn’t it?

You’ve probably noticed that companies you already know are posting Reels on Instagram and managing to get a very high level of engagement and reach their KPIs.

Let’s see how you can use this Instagram feature for your business in four simple ways.


How to Use Instagram Reels for Your Business: 4 Simple Ways

We’re now going to take you through the process of using Instagram Reels for your brand.

Let’s get into the first way of using this powerful feature.


Method #1: Reach a wider audience

First of all, uploading Reels can help your business reach a wider audience.

The reason for this is that video content is usually far more compelling and eye-catching than images or mere text.

Put another way, video content, including Instagram Reels, makes people want to engage with your content more, thus increasing your chances of raising awareness for your business.

Many brands are particularly active when it comes to sharing engaging content with their social media audience.

Let’s see how Dior is doing it.


Dior Reels


Dior’s marketing team uses this new feature to attract more Instagram users.

The brand achieved millions of views in several videos, raising brand awareness and popularity.

Given that Reels on Instagram can be seen by your followers as well as be found by people who might not follow your account, it gives you the opportunity to reach new people and share your brand’s vision with a wider audience.

Let’s get to the second way you can use Instagram Reels for your business.


Method #2: Promote exclusive offers

Because of its 90-second time limit, using Instagram Reels is ideal for promoting exclusive offers.

Trying to fit your message in 90 seconds can be challenging, but it’ll allow you to produce clear, simple, and interesting content.

Given the fast pace of everyday life, most Instagram users appreciate brands who deliver their message in a quick and easy-to-get way.

In the screenshot below, you can see how the fashion brand Louis Vuitton leverages Instagram Reels.



In this case, the brand creates and shares an Instagram Reel to promote a music performance, thus promoting its clothing.

We therefore can see that Instagram Reels is a place where companies can promote or share anything noteworthy, from as an online event to a big offer on their products.

Such a feature can be very efficient because users can learn about an offer or an event without losing valuable time watching long videos.

Moving on.


Method #3: Use reels as an extra content format for your Instagram ads

You can use this feature for your business as an extra content format to promote and monetize your offerings.

Put another way, they work as an alternative to traditional Instagram ads.

Let’s take a look at how cosmetic brand Maybelline is making sure to promote its products through Reels.



We can see that the beauty brand has incorporated Instagram Reels that feature its make-up products into its social media marketing strategy.

If we take into account the millions of views these Reels get, we can only assume that the brand manages to successfully promote their products there as an alternative to or alongside with the paid ads they might be using.

This applies to all sorts of companies.

In other words, as a business, you can use Reels to promote your services in new and exciting ways.

Moving on to the final method we have for you.


Method #4: Boost content engagement

The final way is to use Reels to boost content engagement.

Instagram Reels can be funny, informative, and compelling.

Just like with TikTok, people can comment on and like your Instagram Reels too, thus boosting engagement.

Similar to infographics and other types of content, Reels can help companies boost engagement and increase their reach.

Author’s Tip: If you’re looking to improve your video quality and marketing strategy, a video production agency might be all that you need.

Ready to start making Instagram Reels?

We got you.

We’ve compiled a detailed step-by-step process for how to create an Instagram Reel.

Let’s get started.


How to create your first Reel

As we’ve already discussed, Instagram Reels can help you increase your social media presence and engagement.

Videos in general tend to have this advantage, and our latest survey backs up this claim. For that reason, we’re taking you through the process of creating your own Reel on Instagram.

Here’s the first step.


Step #1: Create your Instagram Reel

The very first thing you need to do is swipe right to access your Instagram camera and select the REELS option, exactly as highlighted below.


create your reel step 1


Some of the settings you can adjust are the following:

  • Audio
  • AR Effects
  • Timer and Countdown
  • Align
  • Speed

As we covered a little further up, Instagram allows the creation of maximum 90 seconds Reels.

At this stage of the process, your screen will probably look like this:




Tap and hold the center record button to start shooting a new video using your own original audio.

You can also add music if you search for a song in the Instagram music library.

For the sake of our example, we’re looking for the best royalty-free music that matches our video:



What’s great about adding audio to your Reel is that you can also choose which specific part of the audio you want to use.

Exactly as shown below:



There’s also the option to upload a video from your phone by tapping the camera roll icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.

Here’s the selection of videos we’re choosing from:



As we move forward in the process, we’re choosing a short video we already have in our library and working on that.

As you can see, Instagram allows users to trim the video and use only a part of it.



To make sure our Reel looks fabulous before people click and start watching it, we pick a cover.

At this stage, we can either:

  • Choose a still from the clip
  • Choose a picture from our camera roll

As soon as you get to choose your cover, your screen will most likely look like this:



Let’s get to the next step; adding hashtags and writing our caption.


Step #2: Add hashtags to the caption part of your Instagram Reel

You’re now done deciding what clips to include in the Reel you’re creating, it’s time to write your caption.

Your Reels’ caption is important because it’s one of the first things viewers get to see.

Additionally, hashtags are also important because they help you get more visibility on Instagram.

The Louis Vuitton reel we saw earlier features just one hashtag:



As does this one:



The engagement and popularity of these Reels shows us that including hashtags in your captions is definitely a good idea.

They can be a combination of trending hashtags and brand-specific hashtags.

Let’s now get back to the reel we’re creating.



Our reel features a woman on a boat looking at the sunset.

Thus, some relevant hashtags could be the following:

  • Sunset
  • Sun
  • Summer
  • Summervibes
  • Summertime
  • Boat
  • Boatlife

To mention a few.

No matter which hashtags you choose to include in your caption, try to make it engaging and write a caption that gives your audience a taste of your Reel before they even get to watch it.

Author’s Tip: Keep in mind that the right place for your hashtags is the Reel’s caption, not the first comment. 

Moving on to the next step of the process.


Step #3: Share your Instagram Reel post to your feed and to your stories for more reach

Once you’ve got everything ready, you can proceed to share your Reel.

If you’re wondering where to publish it, the answer is all over Instagram, including your Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories.

Tap on the Share to button at the bottom left corner of your screen to manage your options.

Take a look:



Sharing your Instagram Reel to your regular Instagram feed as well as your stories can help you reach a wider audience, thus having more people interacting with your content and, as an extension, with your brand.

We’ve now completed all our steps for creating your own Reel on Instagram.

Let’s wrap this up with some final thoughts.


Over to you

Instagram Reels will undoubtedly be a great addition to your 2021 marketing and media relations plans and now you know why.

In fact, in this post we looked at a number of examples from well-known companies that share reels with their audience.

We hope that our step-by-step guide on creating Instagram Reels will help and inspire you to create your own fabulous reels.

Have you already started creating your first Instagram Reel?

We’d love to hear all about your experience, so connect with us on social media.

This post was written by Amir Shahzeidi. He is the SEO Lead at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and OTT platform provider that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving businesses around their videos.

Posted by MotionCue

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