Reels on Instagram: instructions for use

Reels on Instagram: instructions for use

Reels is a new feature on Instagram that allows you to shoot short videos, add music and additional effects to them. In the CIS, this tool is still available only to a select few, but you need to be ready for release, so in today’s article we will tell you in more detail about what it is and to whom Reels can come in handy.

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What are Instagram reels

Reels is a function that allows you to record 15-second clips with sound and various effects (like in TikTok). The release date is August 2020. If you post Reels, then a special tab automatically appears in your account, where videos of this format will be published (in the privacy settings, you can restrict the use of the original sound and access to videos.). Plus, once Reels gets to our edges (so far the tool has only been launched in 50 countries, including America), videos will be high on the recommendation.

As explained in the Facebook press service, the format is not available in countries where the company does not have music rights.

Format specifics

Reels users can shoot video by selecting sound from the music library or by recording their own audio track. Of the useful options, it is worth highlighting: countdown, smooth transitions, alignment, slowdown and acceleration of the video, choice of cover.

Instagram developers tested the tool at the beginning of 2019. Then the Stories format first appeared in Brazil, which was compared to music videos on TikTok.

Reels Features:

  • 9:16 video;
  • video length – from 3 to 15 seconds;
  • videos can be shot both in the app and downloaded from the gallery;
  • you can shoot in whole or in separate parts;
  • can only be downloaded to mobile devices.

Особенности формата

Now let’s see how Reels is different from TikTok:

  • Video length . TikTok gives users the ability to shoot videos up to 60 seconds, Reels – up to 15.
  • Video editing tools and functions . At first glance, the functionality of Reels and TikTok is almost identical, but there are still differences. Firstly, TikTok has many more tools for working with video and sound (in Reels there are no sound effects at all), and secondly, at the moment in Reels there is nothing close to Duet tools (with its help you can create joint videos with other users) and Stitch (allows you to use fragments from other people’s videos) from TikTok. Users can only record their own videos or upload content from the gallery.
  • Algorithm . How TikTok algorithms work, in principle, has long been clear (the feed is based on your interests – what you share, who you follow, and so on), but Reels is a “dark horse”, so the algorithm needs to be tested and hypotheses checked. It’s not entirely clear yet whether your geo-location, interactions, and subscribers affect rankings.
  • Analytics . For example, owners of TikTok Pro profiles have access to all internal analytics. With it, you can even target a specific target audience. This feature is not yet available in Reels. Users can only see the number of views, likes and comments.

How to create a reels

The easiest way to make Reels is from camera to story. Open the camera in the app, select Reels at the bottom of the screen and record a video or download from the gallery.

Next, a panel with many tools will open in front of you:

  • Music . You can find the desired song in the Instagram music library. You can also use the original audio track by simply recording a video with it (if you have an open profile, users will be able to use your sound in their videos in the future).
  • AR Effects . Reels allows you to use effects from its own library, which was created by Instagram and authors from all over the world.
  • Эффекты AR

  • Timer and countdown . Want to record video hands-free? Then use a timer. After clicking the record button, you will see a countdown.
  • Alignment . Align objects from the previous video before recording the next to create smooth transitions.
  • Speed ​​. With this option, you can either slow down or speed up the video. The function also allows you to control the speed of audio playback, helps you get into the bit of an audio track or record a slow mo.


To record, you need to press and hold the button in the middle of the screen at the bottom. During recording, a progress bar will be shown at the top of the screen.

How to share Reels videos:

  • Each user with an open account can share his video with the audience. There is a dedicated Explore area for this.
  • Share the video by uploading it to the feed.
  • Reels videos are also divided into categories: tags, music, effects. When you click on a specific tag, you can see all videos containing that hashtag.
  • If you have a private profile, then only your followers will be able to see the video.
  • Reels can be shared in stories or sent to Direct.

When Reels is ready, go to the Share tab. Here you can change the cover of the video, add tags, come up with a title, and even tag your friends. After you share your video, it will appear in a separate Reels tab on your profile.


Applying Instagram reels

Reels is a cool feature that doesn’t stop with dancing and antics to music. For example, using this tool, you can create step-by-step instructions for using the product, give lessons, or write down useful life hacks. There is also an option to post backstages from filming, or upload videos with employees to increase loyalty and show all aspects of the work.

For representatives of the fashion industry, Reels is a great opportunity to show off their looks in an unusual way.

Nowadays, videos in the style of stop motion (when one scene ends and goes to the next) are popular. If your product requires assembly, make a fun video of the process. Believe me, this format will grab the audience’s attention.

Instagram reels examples

Below are some examples of popular brands using Reels:

Tips and tricks

Here are some interesting things to look out for when using Reels:

  • Reels can be paused, but not rewound.
  • There is no progress bar while shooting, so it’s hard to know how long the video is.
  • If you have already uploaded the video, the caption cannot be changed.
  • In Reels itself, the signature is shown in its entirety, but only one line is visible on the preview.
  • There are no detailed statistics in Reels, as, for example, in TikTok.


Reels is a pretty interesting feature that can easily compete with TikTok (especially against the backdrop of political problems that have been dragging on the Chinese platform since June last year). With the right approach, Instagram Reels will help increase brand loyalty and significantly increase the size of the audience, so we are waiting for the new tool to fully work in the CIS.

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