What is up with Instagram's New Feature on Their App Called "Reels"?

Grace Jeselson

Instagram has recently launched a new feature on their popular app called “Reels,” a new way to make quick and creative video clips.

Back in August 2020, Instagram launched a new feature on their app called “Reels.” Similar to the popular app, TikTok, Instagram Reels is a new way to create 15 to 30 second video clips that are short, fun, and engaging. You can share these videos to your Instagram Story, Explore Feed, and the Reels tab located on your profile, meaning that even if someone doesn’t follow you, if your account is public there is a chance they will see your Reels. These videos can also include popular music that is available on Instagram. The most important takeaway is that according to Forbes, Reels attract much more engagement than all other content forms on the app, making it most appealing to brands and all other businesses using Instagram. So, what makes Reels so special and how can it help in your business?

Instagram logo and Reels logo shown on a phone screen.

Reels vs. TikTok?

Instagram Reels is different from TikTok in many ways. The first being that Reels is part of an already extremely popular app, Instagram. Instagram has over 1 billion active users, meaning there is a lot of familiarity and exposure. Secondly, the allotted video time is different between the two apps. Reels allows up to 30 second videos and TikTok allows one minute. On the Reels tab, you will see Reels from trending accounts on the app, not just people you follow. Also, Reels has auto-play, meaning the videos on the Reels tab play continuously without the user having to lift a finger. On TikTok, the same video will continuously play until you scroll yourself.

How to Create Your First Reel:

Image of profile section on Instagram with an arrow pointing to the bottom middle part to show where the Reels are located. An example of what the reels section looks like on the Instagram app.

Creating a Reel is easy, as Instagram wanted to make this feature user friendly and a way for people to be creative and entertaining for those that watch. All you have to do is go to the top of the app and click on your story’s camera. There you will see options to post a story, go live, or make Reels; click that. Once your video is filmed, it is time to edit it by using the editing tools on the left side of the screen. There are a plethora of options to choose from when editing. For example, in this section you can choose to change the speed of your video and can add background music. When you are finished recording and editing, tap the arrow at the bottom to publish. From there, it’ll take you to the post screen where you choose a cover image, hashtags, and the many ways you can publish your video to Reels.

How to Use Reels in Business:

Instagram Reels is a great way to grow your community of followers in an original and engaging way. You can do this in three simple steps. The first being create authentic content that is attention grabbing and easy to understand. This offers businesses the opportunity to show a more ‘real,’ less perfect side of their brand, making their business seem more genuine. It is also a way to showcase a side of you that others might not have seen. The second is to share educational content. This way you can appear as an expert on the topic and the account somebody goes to first. Lastly, showcase products. Users might gain an interest in what is being shown to them and then they are able to buy it on the spot, since Instagram now has a shop section on the app.

 The Future:

Instagram Reels seems to have a bright future ahead and it is better to get a jump on the action while it is still new, and competition is relatively low. As said before, Instagram is already a very popular app and adding Reels just seemed to improve it. Everything you need is on one application, rather than having to go on multiple.