In an attempt to remain relevant in the rapidly changing world of social media, platforms are forced to redesign and introduce new ideas to keep users engaged. Instagram is the most recent to introduce a new content format to their app: Instagram Reels.  

Instagram Reels is a new short-form video format that allows users to record and edit 15 second, multi-clip videos with audio, effects and creative tools. Reels is Instagram’s attempt to compete with TikTok, a short-form video social media platform that blew up in the U.S. this past year thanks to COVID-19 and life in lockdown.  

How can you create, share and find Instagram Reels? 

Users can create Reels in Instagram Stories, which can be found in the top-left corner of the Home feed or by swiping right on the Home feed screen. Reels comes with a variety of video editing tools including audio, AR effects, timer and countdown, align and speed.  Although Reels are created in Instagram Stories, they can be shared to Stories, close friends, direct messages and a user’s feed. If shared to a user’s Story, a Reel will behave like a Story and disappear after 24 hours, whereas if a Reel is shared to a user’s feed it will remain on the user’s profile page like a traditional post. Public profiles also have the option to share Reels to a dedicated space on the Explore page.  

Reels in Explore showcases the top-trending Reels on Instagram. On the Explore page, users can discover entertaining Reels made by anyone in a vertical feed that is customized to each user. Users can like, share and comment on Reels as well as interact with the Reel’s audio.  

How can businesses utilize Instagram Reels?  

Instagram Reels launched in the United States just this past week, meaning there currently isn’t much data backing how successful Reels is for business profiles. Regardless, Reels should be a fun and creative outlet for businesses to capture and engage their audiences. We’ve gathered a few ideas and best practices for creating an Instagram Reel.  

  • Get Involved in the Trends: Using trending audio and hashtags is a great way to get a Reel in front of a larger audience and remain relevant with followers.  
  • Keep Content Simple and Fun, but Stay on Brand: Get creative with content and explore the video editing tools, but be sure to stay on brand. Keep content funny, intriguing and to-the-point. Don’t try creating content that doesn’t fit your brand’s identity.  
  • Start Your Own Challenges: Create your own challenges and a challenge hashtag. Encourage other users to take on the challenge, share the hashtag when they post and nominate friends and followers to do the challenge.  

As a new content format, Instagram Reels is a great opportunity for businesses to explore the opportunities it offers and engage with their audience in a fun, new way.