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How To Make Reels On Instagram

Posted by Peyton Henderson on Jan 31, 2022 8:08:24 PM

Have you started using Instagram Reels yet? 

Instagram Reels launched back in August of 2020 and over the last few months, Reels have become surprisingly more popular and is a topic that's frequently talked about.

Reels allow Instagram users to create short attention-grabbing videos that help creators get in front of new audiences, boost engagement, extend reach on their posts, and build a community of superfans. 

But why so much talk about Instagram Reels now? 

The short answer: video content is on a huge come up.

Video content has become so popular amongst consumers and creators that TikTok has taken over Google and is now the most visited domain in the world.

Wait...what? 😳

If that isn't a sign of a massive shift in the way we consume technology, then I don't know what is. 

The rise of TikTok itself indicates there's been a drastic shift in the way people are using technology, searching for information, and consuming content (especially with the younger generations).

Having an "entertainment" video app sitting #1 on the charts above Google shows the importance of including video content in your social media strategy and proves that social media isn't only for entertainment.

So, what is my point here?

Social media channels and domains like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, and YouTube are also being used to:

  • Make money

  • Find and search for information

  • Create educational content, like how-to videos to make learning fun, fast, and easy.

  • Build personal brands and businesses
  • Create informative content

  • Create "edutainment" that educates and entertains 

  • Learn about other parts of the world (since it's video, you can actually see the geography)

  • Create "cult-like" followings or superfans
  • Connect and build relationships with other people: For example, social media apps like Clubhouse are allowing people from all over the globe to have conversations or debates about whatever topic they'd like

  • Express our voices and passions

And there's no better time than now to start using Instagram Reels. 

This blog will teach you everything you need to get started with Instagram Reels, plus some of my favorite Instagram Reels tips that will make your Reels really pop.

Use this blog as your Reels tutorial.

This blog post will cover: 

What Are Instagram Reels? 

Instagram Reels is a feature that allows users, content creators, influencers, and business owners to create and discover short-form video content from all different types of people around the world.

Creators and Instagram users have the option to record, edit, and share fun video clips with trending music or sounds, AR effects, filters, and other creative tools that we will go over below.

how to watch instagram Reels videos

How Long Can Instagram Reels Be?

Instagram Reels can be 15, 30, or 60 seconds long.  Meaning the max length of Instagram Reels is one minute. 

Here's a short video clip of what Instagram Reels looks like when in the Instagram app:

HubSpot Video

How To Find Reels On Instagram

You can find Instagram Reels in a few places in the Instagram app.

One place to find Reels on Instagram is at the bottom of your screen directly in the center, like shown in the image below.

How to watch reels on instagram

Or you can create Instagram Reels from the top of the home tab.

How to find reels on instagram SommerRay Instagram example

And lastly, you can find your Instagram Reels and other people's Reels on their profile page.

However, when you watch Instagram Reels from someone else's profile you don't have the option to create Reels — you can only watch that creator's Reels.

As you can see in the image below (circled in red), you can find Instagram Reels right under the bio on an Instagram profile.

What are Instagram reels?

The @creators at Instagram is also a great Instagram account to follow to get the latest updates and best Instagram Reels tips to boost engagement and help you learn how to make viral Reels.

Tip: One of the best ways to learn how Instagram reels work is to spend some time in the Explore tab watching a variety of popular and trending Reels to see what's working and what's not and get a feel for what kind of Reels content you like.

Or to even get fresh new ideas for content creation.

If you don't know how to watch Reels on Instagram, here's how to watch Reels in the Instagram app. 

How To Watch Reels On Instagram

⭐Related Post: What is a content creator?

To find Instagram Reels tap the record reel icon in the Instagram app.

You can watch Reels in the Explore tab the same way you can scroll your Instagram feed or the same way you scroll through videos on TikTok. 

When you tap the Reels tab, you can immediately start watching and engaging with Instagram Reels made by creators all over the world. 

Remember, the Reels tab is located between the search and Instagram shopping icons at the bottom of your screen. 

How to watch reels on instagram

And then when you're ready to watch the next Reels video, simply swipe up and the next Reels will automatically start playing.

Who Can Watch My Reels Videos?

With an Instagram account, you have the option to create a private, public, or professional account.

One of the cool things about Reels is the Instagram algorithm shows Reels to other users who have similar interests as you, giving you the chance to get in front of new people that your posts wouldn't normally reach which will more than likely grow your Instagram following, increase views, likes, and overall engagement.

With a private Instagram account, only your Instagram followers and people you know can see your posts and watch Reels.

But, if you don't care about keeping your posts private then I suggest setting your Instagram account to "public" to reach a bigger global audience, especially when creating Instagram Reels.

For public Instagram accounts, anyone can see your Reels and can record their own Reels using your original audio.

Your Reels may also appear on audio and hashtag pages, and in the Reels tab.

With a professional or business account, one of the first things I noticed is there's a smaller selection of music and some other effects and features are different.

Which has to do with music copyright rules and regulations. But, the same as above applies here.

Reels How-To: How To Do Reels On Instagram 

How does Instagram Reels work?

Have you ever watched a TikTok video or an Instagram story? If so, Instagram Reels aren't much different.

Many Instagram, TikTok users and creators like to compare Instagram vs TikTok as they share some similarities and each social media platform obviously has its pros and cons.

To see how similar Instagram Reels are to TikTok, take a look at the image below.

Instagram Reels (left) vs TikTok video (right). 

Instagram reels vs tiktok?

So, if you already have a basic understanding of TikTok then Instagram Reels should be a breeze for you!

Don't sweat though if you're a beginner or newbie to video content, this blog post will be your guide through the entire process and you can come back to use this as a resource anytime. 

⭐Related Post: Tips to grow your following and crush Instagram marketing

How To Use Instagram Reels

Let's start off with something easy.

Instagram reels have many similarities to a regular Instagram post.

With reels you can:

  • Like a video

  • Leave a comment

  • Share Reels to Instagram Story
  • Share Reels with friends, family, other Instagram users, etc.

  • Save Reels to your camera roll

  • Send Reels to other people

  • Report a Reel

  • Search for Instagram Reels by hashtag, topic, song, name, etc.

  • Download Reels

Take a look at the image below to get a better understanding of how an Instagram Reel works, what the symbols on the screen do, and what functionalities you have as an Instagram creator.

How do Reels work on Instagram?

Disclaimer: Keep in mind the location of icons, functionality can change, and new features can be added that could switch up things.

Now, let's go a little more in-depth on how to use Reels and answer some of the most common questions asked about Instagram Reels.

How To Save Trending Songs And Music

If you come across a video that is using a trending or popular song you like and you want to use it to create your own Reels, there is an option to save Reels songs to your account. 

To save Instagram Reels music simply tap the music sticker in the lower right-hand corner of your screen and then tap "Save Audio".

When you tap the music sticker, Instagram shows how many Reels have been created using the audio, the length of the audio clip, and every Reel video that has been created using that audio sound.

How to save trending instagram reels songs

If you aren't sure which sounds or what is considered trending music, you can search Instagram to find Reels tips that teach you about trending audio on Instagram.

There are many videos available to also use a resource when creating Instagram reels.

How to add music to reels video

How To Find Saved Instagram Reels Music

To find your saved music tap the music sticker in the lower right-hand corner of your screen, then tap "Saved" at the top of the next screen to view a list of all your saved music and sounds.

The image below displays what your "Saved Music" will look once you save some.

how to find saved Instagram reels songs

One of the most important things you can do before you get started with Instagram Reels is preparing and finding a social media strategy or plan for your Reels that works for you and your Instagram audience.

You want to find a system that you can flow with so you can keep up with it for a long period of time. 

Creating social media content with no plan or goals in mind can confuse your audience, attract the wrong people, or completely waste your time.

There's also a chance it could work out for you! Who knows, but I recommend having a plan in place.

Here's a short checklist of questions you may want to consider when creating your Instagram strategy and/or Instagram Reels:

  • What is the purpose of the content? To entertain, educate, attract, inform, etc.?

  • What audience are you speaking to? 

  • What type of content are you going to make?

  • When is your audience most active on Instagram? What time and what days?

  • Will you include hashtags? What hashtags are relevant to your content, niche, and audience?

  • How often will you post content? 

  • Do you want to have a consistent theme or style?

  • Do you have content for people in all stages of the buyer's journey?

  • Does your content capture someone's attention in the first two seconds?

  • How often or frequently will you (or someone else) create new reels?

  • Are you going to spend money to promote your reels?

  • What is your ad spend budget?

  • Do you have any brand partners or sponsorships you can include in your reels?

  • Will your Reels video have a call-to-action?

How To Make Reels On Instagram

Instagram gives users and creators the option to create Instagram Reels in two ways:

  1. A user can press and hold the record button to record a video or

  2. Upload photos and/or video content from your camera roll

Remember, Instagram Reels can be one or multiple clips that add up to a max of 60 seconds.

Make sure to pay attention to popular reels songs, reel challenges, and trends you see. Instagram Reels that use trending sounds, hashtags, and other eye-catching effects tend to get more views, saves, and engagement.

Watch this "Get ready with me" Instagram Reels video from the @creators page. It's is a great example of how to do reels on Instagram, plus it also gives you a cool reels idea for a video.

How To Make Reels On Instagram In 8 Steps

Before we dive into the steps, ensure your Instagram application is updated to the latest version. Updates can affect change, add, or completely remove features, AR effects, music, effects, etc. 

Follow the steps below to learn how to post Reels on Instagram.

Step 1: Open the Instagram app and tap the create new icon at the top right of the screen. 

Step 2: Tap "Reel"

How to make Instagram Reels

Step 3: Take a moment to get familiar with the editing tools on the screen and prepare to record your video.

The editing tools on the screen will allow you to edit basic camera settings, choose Reels video length, add music or voiceover, edit the speed, add effects, and set up the hands-free recording. 

How to do reels on Instagram

Tip: Before you start recording, take note that you can choose which side of the screen your toolbar is on which can make recording Instagram Reels so much easier for both lefties and right-handed people.

To change the location of your toolbar, tap the "Settings" icon in the top right of the screen to go to your camera setting to select which side of the screen you want your camera toolbar to be on. 

There's also an option to default to the front-facing camera every time you go to record content.

how to edit camera settings on Instagram

Now that you're familiar with how Instagram Reels work and have customized your settings, let's talk about the hands-free feature and how it's helpful if you don't have anyone to help you take photos or record video content.

How To Use 'Countdown And Timer' Feature (Hands-Free)

If you need hands-free recording, the timer and countdown allow you to easily create hands-free video clips in a matter of seconds. 

When you tap the clock, the Timer options will appear.

Drag and choose how long your first video clip will be, anywhere from 0.1 to 60 seconds long. 

How to set a countdown timer for Instagram reels

After you've chosen how long your video clip will be, set the countdown timer for 3 to 10 seconds to give yourself time to get ready and in position for recording your Reels.

Once you tap "Set Timer" a countdown will begin and you can get in position to record your Reels video!

The image below shows an example of what the countdown timer will look like once you've set the timer.

How to use the timer feature on instagram

Step 4: Record your Reels!

Tap and hold record reel to record a video clip, use the "Countdown and Timer" as discussed above, or upload any pre-recorded video clips or photos from your camera roll by tapping the square box in the bottom left of your screen. 

Once you start recording, a progress bar will appear at the top of your screen to show you how much time is left to add content. 

How to find the progress bar when making Instagram Reels

Cool Instagram Feature Alert: If you want to record multiple clips in a row try out the align feature.

How To Use The Align Feature

The Instagram align feature helps you align each new video clip over the last to build seamless transitions. The feature will only appear in your camera toolbar after you record your first video clip. 

When you tap it, a translucent vinyl image from your last video will appear on your screen so you can align your new camera shot to the last video clip. 

This feature is helpful because you can line up objects from your previous clip before recording your next, which helps create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes.

Step 5: Tap previous to watch, trim or delete the previous clip you recorded or uploaded.

After editing your clips, tap Done in the bottom right.

You can always come back and edit your clips before you post your reels. 

How to edit Instagram reel

Step 6: Tap "Preview" to add voiceover, filters, trending music, original audio, special effects, stickers, or text to your Reel before publishing.

All of the Reels features' for your reels video can be found at the top of the screen as shown in the image below. Keep in mind with updates these can change. 

How to edit instagram reels

How To Save Instagram Reels

To save Instagram Reels to your phone simply tap the downward arrow in the top left corner.

You can also select in the setting for your Reels to be automatically saved to your device. Meaning your videos will automatically be saved once you publish your Reels.

How to save instagram reels

How To Add Music To Instagram Reels

To add music to Reels search for a song in the Instagram music library or pick a saved song from your saved music.

Tap the audio icon in the top left corner of your screen (shown in the image above), scroll through the feature tracks, or use the search bar to search for a specific song.

If you're not seeing the music sticker, here is exactly what Instagram suggests:

how do I add music and effects to my reel? reels music

Now you want to search for a song in the music library. You can choose which part of the song you want to add to your reels.  Tap the play button on the right to hear a preview of the song.

To choose the section of the song you’d like to use, select the song and play with the slider at the bottom until it sounds the way you like.

How to find saved music on Instagram Reels

How To Add Voiceover To Instagram Reels

Content creators, influencers, and businesses can use their original audio by simply recording a Reel with your voice.

The image below shows the exact steps to add a voiceover to your reel on Instagram:

how do i add voiceover to my reel on instagram

There are also additional audio controls that allow you to alter the sound of your voiceover and camera audio.

how to add a voiceover to instagram reels

Once you publish a reel with your original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and if you have a public account, people can create Reels with your audio by selecting "Use Audio" from your Reel.

For example, if you record a Reel with a voiceover product tutorial, others can tap "Use Audio" from your Reel, and use your audio to make their own versions of the video.

Once you have added all of the extra effects to your Instagram Reel it's time to move to the next step. 

Step 7: Tap "Next" and write a caption, edit your cover photo, tag people, rename your audio, add a location, or any advanced settings. 

How to post reels on Instagram

When writing your caption, it works just like an Instagram feed post.

You have 2200 characters and you can use up to 30 hashtags relating to your niche or Instagram reel.

However, Instagram announced creators should use around 3-5 hashtags for Instagram Reels videos. Make sure that the hashtags you use are relevant to your Instagram Reels, audience, or niche. 

To change the cover photo, tap Cover and select a frame from your Reels video or select an image from your camera roll.

How to change cover photo on Instagram reel

Remember the cover photo, is the thumbnail of your Reels video and is the first thing someone sees when they view your Reels tab on your profile.

Making it important to choose an image that will capture someone's attention and make them want to watch your video.

Many creators and influencers make the Reels cover photos on theme with their brand, be creative!

Step 8: Tap "Share" to post your Reels video!

If you’re not ready to post the Reels yet, you can select "Save as Draft" which comes immediately after the share button.

When you tap it, it saves your Reels video as a draft and a notification will appear in the bottom left that says, "Draft Saved".

How to find draft reels on instagram

And if you ever decide you want to publish any of your draft reels then follow the steps below.

How To Find Draft Reels On Instagram

  • To find draft Reels on Instagram, go to your profile 

  • Click on the Reels icon

  • You can find all draft Reels in the top left

Instagram Reels Tips

One thing to understand about Reels is that Instagram has a different audience demographic than that of TikTok.

Some videos on TikTok might not be as successful as they would on Instagram Reels.

However, many creators work smart and create their video content so they can use it for both Instagram and TikTok, which saves them time.

There's an app called Snaptok that will remove the watermark from any TikTok videos so your reach isn't limited to not creating original content specifically for Instagram.

Top Instagram Reels Tips:

  • Choose your niche and stay consistent

  • Always Add Value 

  • Make the first two seconds interesting (it's the most important)

  • Always be your true self

  • Use trending music 

  • Research and use trending hashtags

  • Know your audience and what type of words and content speaks to them

  • Give one clear call-to-action 

  • Ask users to save your reel (the more saves the better)

Instagram has always been about aesthetics, so when you’re making your reels video always keep it in mind to make your video aesthetically pleasing.

⭐Related Post: What are the best photo-editing apps for Instagram?

Final Thoughts + Resources

Instagram Reels is by far one of the best social media growth strategies right now.

It's important to try to find an Instagram strategy that works for you and that you can get in the flow with. One of the main keys to success is consistency and to keep showing up.

If you haven’t tried reels before, you should give them a try and follow the tips above. 

Additional Resources: