How to create Instagram Reels

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How to create Instagram Reels — Instagram Reels are quick, short and fun clips that you can post on your feed. Many believe that Reels is Instagram’s own response to TikTok’s clip-centered platform. Being quick, easily absorbed and processed content, Instagram Reels have a high capacity for virality as compared to the average post or story on your feed.

Businesses actively engaged in social media should know the importance of capitalizing on viral content to attract their target audience. As marketers, it should only come naturally that you need to have content that’s engaging and attention grabbing to make their mark on a consumer. Reels, in this regard, can be of great help.

Here we’ll be tackling how you can get started in creating Instagram Reels for your brand and a few top tips that can take your Reels game to the next level. So if you’re ready to start creating some viral content, let’s get started! (Note: dancing not essential)

Reel basics

On the Instagram interface, there are three primary ways to shoot Reels. You can do so using the Reels Tab, the plus sign found on the Instagram Home Screen and through the Stories Camera. Whichever way you choose doesn’t matter. And it’s all a matter of preference or what you find most convenient.

Finding Reels in the IG Home Screen

To shoot a Reel from the home screen, locate the plus (+) sign on the top right of your Instagram Home screen. You’ll be met with a variety of post styles to choose from including Post, Story, Reel and Live. Swipe to Reels and you’ll be met with the reel creation interface.

Using the Reels Tab

From your Instagram home screen, you can find the Reels tab by tapping on the center button on the bottom menu of your Instagram Home Screen. From the Reels Tab, simply tap on the camera icon to access the Reel creation interface.

Reels using the Stories Camera

On the Instagram Home screen, you can access the Stories camera by tapping on your display picture with a subtext indicating “your story” on the upper left side of the screen. Tap on your profile picture, and you’ll be taken to the same screen as the one found in creating Reels from your home screen. Simply select the reels tab and shoot from there.

Using the Reels interface 

The Reels interface will present you with a selection of tools you can use to personalize your Instagram reel. From here, you can add some music, apply filters, modify the duration and speed of your video, set a timer for you to prepare for your shoot, fix your video layout or apply gesture controls to control your shoot remotely. You can also choose to upload past videos or pictures you’ve taken from the gallery by tapping on the plus (+) sign found on the bottom left of the screen.

Music Tool

Add some music from the Instagram music library or take tracks from your personal playlist to give your Reel an engaging background and personality. Once you’ve selected your music, you can freely choose what section of the song to play during the recording, so choose wisely and see which part fits best.

Effects Tool

Select from a library of filters and effects you can apply to your video that will be applied to the duration of your clip. The filters you’ll find here are the same ones you’ll see from the menu of filters in your Instagram Stories interface. Add a touch of personality or look for appropriate effects that you think will fit well with the theme of your clip.

Length

Similar to TikTok, Instagram Reels are short clips designed to catch your attention in a split second. To enact this, Instagram allows you to create clips in 3 lengths—30 seconds, 60 seconds and 90 seconds.

Speed Tool

As you might expect, the speed tool allows you to adjust the video at which your video plays. Setting it at a higher speed will make the video more quickly while setting it at a lower speed will do the opposite.

Video Layout

You fancy a fancier layout for your clip? The video layout tool allows you to divide the screen into multiple frames from which you can record separate clips unique for each frame.

Timer

Set a timer before your video starts rolling. Plan this accordingly so that you have enough time to prepare before you start officially shooting your video.

Gesture Control

As an alternative to the timer tool, you can set a hand-raise gesture to toggle whether you want the Reel to start recording or stop. This is especially great for clips that have a lengthy prep time.

Editing and Publishing

Clicking next following your recording will bring you to the edit screen where you will be greeted with nifty tools that can help you personalize your Reel even further. From this screen you can add some text, stickers, drawings or sketches or add music if you haven’t done so yet. You can also edit specific clips and add transition effects.

Afterwards, you’ll be sent to the share screen from where you can add an appropriate caption for your Reel. While adding a caption, ensure that it’s short, sweet and straight to the point. Few things can communicate ideas more than clarity and brevity.

You can also tag some of your contacts or invite contributors to help you edit and co-author your reel. Finally, you can select a cover image by selecting any specific frame from within your video clip. Alternatively, you can also select an image from your phone gallery.

Once everything’s set, a caption ready and content just waiting to become viral, you’re now free to publish your Reel for the entire world to see.

Steps to create winning reels


Now that you know how to set up a Reel, let’s dive into how you can get deeper into planning your Reels for easy and effective execution. Below are a few simple steps that can help you get started with planning your Reels around your brand.

Step 1 create a storyboard

It’s great for your social media to already have a plan or have a storyboard in place — this includes your Instagram Reels. Before you step into this realm, have a plan ready for your general concept and break it down into specific clips you need in order to make it whole. It will greatly help if you already have a visual idea of how your Reels will go.

Step 2 Identify fitting topics

Lay out ideas and topics that you think fits well with your brand. Look back into your brand story, your product, audience and brand’s mission and you’ll already find a melting pot of ideas to get you started. These ideas need to resonate well with your brand and communicate who you are, what you do and why you’re in business — How to create Instagram Reels.

Step 3 Identify your target audience

Why create content when you don’t have anyone to speak to? As common sense may dictate, any performance or piece of content needs to have an audience, and it’s your job to look for one. For any brand, the natural option choice for your audience, is your client. Work hard to get to know them and how you can communicate effectively with them using your Reels.

Step 4 Plan to make your reels consistent with all your platforms

With respect to your branding and marketing, it’s just great to remain consistent with all of your platforms. Remain consistent with your voice and messaging across all your platforms in digital and social media. This will create coherence that can help your brand become more easily identifiable and memorable for your audience.

Pro tips to elevate your reels

Seek inspiration from trending reels

Check out some Instagram Reels, particularly those with the nifty rising arrow icon on the bottom left corner of the screen. This arrow indicates trending Reels in your feed and can be a great source of inspiration for how you do your content. You can grab some of their ideas, content formats and editing styles and put your own personal twist to it. Ride the waves and who knows, maybe your audience will surf along your page.

Share everywhere!

Instagram Reels grants you the feature to share your Reels to your page, on the Instagram Feed and to recommend your feed on Facebook. To maximize your reach, let your voice be heard by as much people as possible by sharing it wherever possible.

Start with a hook

A certain study has found that brands only have eight seconds to capture a consumer’s attention — this is much shorter than a goldfish’s attention span. This poses a crucial challenge to marketers to identify ways to keep their consumers glued to your brand.

It’s critical for brands to have quality, eye-catching content that can get their audience hooked. This makes Reels exceptionally great tools for brands since they’re constrained by the length of each clip, so they need to make every second count. To get you started, you can start off with some captivating visuals, exciting updates or inquiries that can get your audience engaged.

Experiment and intently observe how your audience responds and what works best. This will make things a lot easier for you the next time since you already knows what makes them tick.

Focus on Value

What separates content that works and doesn’t is most often one thing: value. Provide some real value to your audience and make the time they spend on your page worth every second.

Start with understanding your audience and what they might expect from you. Provide them value by giving them what they like and what they might find useful. Create a quick guide, some tips or something as simple as content that can make them chuckle for the day. Value-driven content can take on many forms, it’s just a matter of finding the right one.

Piggyback on trends

Going back to following trends, look at what already works and work off of them. Gain some inspiration by looking at the best practices of what seasoned content creators already do. Immerse yourself in the culture of Instagram and Reels and soon you can also find success in communicating your brand using Reels.

That’s Just About It!

We’ve already laid out a plan for you to follow on How to create Instagram Reels and it’s now just a matter of you simply wanting to enter the world of Instagram reels.

Regardless if you’re brand, content creator, influencer or an individual, using Reels to market yourself and your ideas is a great way to expand your reach and cultivate trust and credibility with your target audience. Prepare your plan, tickle your creative juices and soon you’ll be harvesting the fruits of your labor in the form of some juicy engagement.

So come on and get real with Instagram Reels!

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About Me

Heather DeSantis is the CEO and Founder of Publicity For Good (PFG), Forbes 30 Under 30 nominee, PRNEWS Top Women in PR 2021 Entrepreneurs Award, Platinum PR Awards CEO Finalist 2021 and Ragan’s PR Daily Award – PR Leader of the Year for 2021 and has been working with CPG clients for nearly a decade.

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