11/08/2020 - What Is Instagram Reels? | Website Blog | Purple Creative Studio
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What Is Instagram Reels?

Last week Instagram launched their latest feature - Instagram Reels. Reels is a brand new way to create and share video content from Instagram stories.

Remember when everyone was using Snapchat to share snaps for 24 hours before they disappeared? Instagram came along and copied that functionality which ultimately led to the decline of Snapchat. Now, Instagram is again out to compete with another hugely popular social media platform - TikTok. Instagram Reels pretty much replicates TikTok’s format, with the sole focus being on video content with plenty of effects and music included. 

Why Have Instagram Launched Reels?

In Q1 of 2020, TikTok took the crown for generating the most app downloads ever recorded in a quarter - so there’s no wonder Instagram wants to jump on this demand. In recent weeks, Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order to investigate and possibly ban TikTok in the US too, so Reels will be there ready to accommodate demand should TikTok suffer huge user losses.

How Does Instagram Reels Work?

Instagram Reels allows users to edit together 15-second video clips and add music to be shared to their stories and the Explore page - there’s a new Reels tab in the app too complete with its own explore page. Within this page, you’ll see Reels not only from users you follow but from popular and trending accounts. TikTok took off for its algorithm allowing small creators to grow quickly - something Instagram has been criticised for not doing in the past. By the sounds of it, Reels will work to resolve this issue with the algorithm working in a similar fashion. It’ll be influenced by people you follow, your location and content you interact with - rather than just being made up of content from accounts you follow and of course, ads.

How to Create Instagram Reels

When creating your own Reel, you can film clips on the spot, or upload from your camera roll and add effects, music and speed up or slow down your clip. To access the feature, you just need to head to your stories and you’ll find Reels as a new shooting option, between ‘Normal’ and ‘Create’ mode. To record, you just need to hold down the central reels icon, or swipe up to browse your camera roll to upload a previously filmed clip.




Then, you can choose your audio by tapping the music icon, amending the speed with the Play sign and capture clips on self-timer too using the stopwatch.


Much like on TikTok, you can start and stop recording multiple times during your 15-second video by pressing and holding the record button. Then, once you’re happy with your clips you can edit them and add text, stickers and anything else you like to make it your own. 

 Finally, choose your cover photo and post to your stories or Reels feed! 

Purple Blog

How To Use Instagram Reels for Business


1. Create Authentic Content that Your Audience will Engage With
When Instagram stories launched in 2016, they offered a new way for businesses to share content that was a little more authentic - shot and posted within seconds so followers got to see what was going on behind the scenes. Reels offers a chance to take that a step further. Maybe you can share the process of how you create or source your products, or compile a how-to for your followers to see how you go about using your products or offering your services. The possibilities are endless - share sneak peeks of products or make it all about the personality of you and your business.

2. Share Educational Content
As mentioned, Reels allows you to give your followers an insight into your knowledge. If your business revolves around food, share recipes and cooking tutorials, if interior design is your niche then share how you go about designing a room. You can apply this to everything but try and make your content entice people to come back. Think more about creating a series rather than a one-off Reel that will perform well but won’t get people looking at you more than once.

3. Showcase Your Products and Services
Reels is a great place to drive customers to your website to hopefully convert. With the introduction of the Explore page, you’ll be reaching brand new audiences too! If your business is fashion focused then share a sleek video of some of your picks being modelled to add some movement to your advertising - rather than just expecting static images on your feed to work over and over for you.

Do you think you’ll be giving Instagram Reels a go? We can’t wait to see how businesses begin to build Reels into their marketing strategy and to help some of our clients do the same! If you’d like our help planning your Reels debut then please get in touch!

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