Instagram Reels, TikToks and all the other short video formats have become an essential part of social media. They are a great way to share creative short videos with your followers. But how long can a reel be? What is the difference between reels and TikToks? In this article, we'll answer all these questions and give you some tips on how to create successful reels for your business.
Basics about reels:
For those new to the format, here are the key facts:
- Instagram responded to the growing success of TikTok by launching reels globally on 5 August 2020.
- Reels are short, vertical videos. They are a great way to share creative and entertaining content with your target audience. Similar to TikTok, Reels can be enhanced with music, effects, stickers and text to reinforce the message.
- The maximum length of an Instagram Reel is currently 90 seconds. This may seem short, but it provides enough space to share creative and entertaining content. You can find all the other technical dimensions in our short video format infographic.
You can fill those 90 seconds however you like: Whether it's a photo slideshow, spontaneous live shots or uploaded videos, it's up to you.
Why are Instagram reels important for businesses?
Reels are a goldmine of awareness for a number of reasons:
- Increased reach: Instagram prioritises reels alongside stories in its algorithm. This means that your reels can achieve higher visibility and reach than traditional posts.
- Creativity, authenticity and entertainment value: Reels give you the opportunity to be creative while showing your business personality. People love entertaining or educational content and short videos.
- Engagement: Reels encourage viewer engagement as they tend to be short, memorable content. The ability to react to reels, leave comments and share content encourages interaction.
- Trend awareness: Reels allow companies to address and participate in current trends and challenges. This can help increase content virality.
Creating an Instagram reel is relatively simple, and can be done in five steps. Here is a step-by-step guide to creating an Instagram reel:
Step 1: Open the Instagram app.
Make sure you have the latest version of the Instagram app installed on your phone. Open the app and log in to your Instagram account if you haven't already.
Step 2: Go to the Reels section
Tap the plus sign (+) at the bottom centre of the screen to create a new post. You will be taken to a screen where you can choose between different options, such as Feed Post, Story, Live or Reels. Select Reels.
Step 3: Record your reel
You are now ready to record your reel:
- You will now see the camera view, which will default to the rear camera. However, you can switch to the front camera by tapping the camera icon in the top right corner of the screen.
- When you're ready, tap the red record button to start recording your reel. You can either record continuously or record individual clips by tapping the record button between clips.
Step 4: Edit and enhance (combine videos and photos)
Once you have captured video and photos and imported them into your reel, you can edit them together to create a seamless video:
- Add video: To add another video or photo to your reel, tap the plus sign (+) at the bottom of the screen. You can then select the video or photo you want and add it to your reel.
- Adjust the order: To adjust the order of the videos and photos in your reel, tap and hold the video or photo you want to move and drag it to the desired position in your reel.
- Trim and adjust clips: You can trim and adjust individual clips by tapping Trim and dragging the beginning or end of the clip.
- Add transitions: By default, Instagram offers a limited selection of transition effects between clips. You can add a transition between two clips by tapping the transition icon between the clips and selecting a transition effect.
- Add Effects:
- Text and Stickers: Tap the effects icon (glitter star) to the left of the record button to add different effects.
- Audio: You can add music or sounds from Instagram's music library by tapping the note icon. Now you're ready to share your reel.
Step 5: Share and publish
When you're happy with your reel, click "Next" in the bottom right corner of the screen. Here you can add a description, use hashtags and choose where you want to share your reel (Feed, Story or on reels only). When you are finished Once you've set everything up, tap "Share" or "Publish" to make your Instagram reel public.
6 tips for great reels
- Keep it short and sweet: Since reels are limited to 90 seconds, it's important to get your message across in a short amount of time. Keep your reels short, focused and entertaining. In particular, spend a lot of time on the first few seconds, which can make or break a commercial: A longer viewing time without a quick abandonment means more views.
- Creative effects: Instagram offers a variety of effects and tools to spice up your reels. Use filters, transitions and music to adapt your videos to the common audiovisual language.
- Themes and trends: Research current trends and themes in your niche and create reels to match. This can help you gain more visibility.
- Interaction: Encourage your audience to interact by asking questions, running polls or inviting them to leave comments. Then, interact with the community. Respond to comments and questions.
- Continuity: Post regularly to maintain your presence on Instagram. Continuity is key to success.
- Measure and tweak: Monitor the performance of your reels. Which ones work best? Adjust your strategy accordingly.
Instagram Reels vs. TikTok
Instagram Reels and TikToks are both short-edge formats that are popular for sharing. However, there are some important differences between the two:
- Platform: TikTok is a standalone platform, while Instagram Reels is a feature within the Instagram app. This means that TikTok requires a separate app, while Reels is integrated into Instagram.
- Audience: TikTok has an overall younger audience, while Instagram has a broader age range that includes older users.
- Video length: TikTok allows videos of up to 10 minutes, while Reels is limited to 90 seconds. This can have an impact on the way content is presented and designed.
- Discovery and recommendations: TikTok is known for its personalised recommendations and ability to go viral, even with a relatively new account. You'll be bombarded with trending videos from users you don't follow. Reels, on the other hand, tends to tap into the existing Instagram community. The algorithm here is more aligned with Instagram's usage habits.
- Monetisation: TikTok has a TikTok Creator Fund programme and allows some influencers to benefit directly from their popularity. Instagram Reels offers financial incentives through Instagram Live badges and other features to support creators.
Instagram Reel vs. Instagram Story
Reels and Stories are two different features within Instagram, both for sharing short videos, but there are some key differences between them.
- Length: Reels are usually longer than Stories and offer more scope for editing and creativity. Stories, on the other hand, are more suited to spontaneous, authentic content and are limited to 60 seconds per story.
- Visibility: Reels are displayed in a separate section on your Instagram profile and can appear in your followers' feeds when you share them. They also appear on the Instagram Discover page. Stories appear at the top of your followers' feeds on their home pages and automatically disappear after 24 hours. Stories cannot appear on the Instagram Discover page unless you have included a link to a popular hashtag or location tag.
- Interaction options: Stories offer interaction options such as comments and likes, similar to regular Instagram posts. Stories allow interactions such as sending messages via direct message, polls, questions and using tags such as location and hashtags.
- Storage and playback: Stories are permanently stored on your profile and can be viewed by your followers at any time. Stories disappear after 24 hours unless you save them to your Highlights, where they are permanently available.
Reels vs. Posts
Reels are short pieces of video content, up to 90 seconds in length. They are designed to be creative and entertaining and can include features such as music, text, effects and transitions. Regular Instagram posts can be photos or videos and, unlike reels, have no time limit. Posts can usually be longer and more detailed.
Reels for businesses
Instagram reels offer businesses a wide range of content that can engage their audience and increase brand awareness. Here are some ideas for content on Instagram reels that are particularly suitable for businesses:
- Product Launches: Introduce your products or services in short, engaging videos. Show how they work, their benefits and how they can be used.
- Behind the scenes: Give your followers an inside look at your business. Show how products are made, introduce employees or report on processes within your company.
- Tutorials and guides: Create short instructional videos on how to use your products or apply special skills. These can be both informative and entertaining. Share industry-related information, tips and advice that your target audience may find useful.
- Customer testimonials and success stories: Share experiences and feedback from satisfied customers. This builds trust in your brand.
- Challenge videos: Take advantage of current trends and create a challenge or competition.
- Q&A: Allow your followers to ask questions and answer them in reels. This can help clarify issues and better inform your audience.
- Humorous content: A little humour can go a long way. Create humorous reels that make your audience laugh and make your brand seem relatable.
- Seasonal and holiday content: Tailor your reels to seasonal events, holidays or special occasions to capture the attention of your followers.
- Collaborations: Work with influencers or other businesses to create collaborative reels and reach new audiences.
Remember that creativity and authenticity are crucial to the success of Instagram reels. Experiment with different types of content to see what works best for your brand and audience. Keep up to date with current trends and use hashtags to increase the reach of your reels.
Conclusion: Reels for businesses
Instagram reels are a powerful tool for businesses to succeed in the world of social media. You can use them to increase your reach, showcase your business personality and entertain your target audience. Use them creatively and consistently to take your business to the next level on Instagram.
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