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Instagram Reels: The Inside Scoop on TikTok’s Younger, Distant Sibling 

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If you have a deja-vu with Instagram Reels, we don’t blame you. If it feels like TikTok, records like TikTok and distributes like TikTok, then it must be…a new feature from Instagram. Joke aside, even if the new feature does resemble the famous Chinese platform a tad too much, it had huge potential.

Instagram has already established itself as a social media platform good for business. With its growing reputation and an impressive number of users, every new feature added is instantly converted into a business tool for awareness, leads and ultimately sales. Instagram Reels opens new doors to new audiences by enabling accounts to reach new followers on a global stage and engage them in a fresh and unconventional way. So let’s jump right onto it and learn how exactly to make the Reels magic happen.

Wait a minute…what’s Instagram Reels?

In Instagram’s own words, Instagram Reels is “a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram”. The main difference between Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories is that Reels will be able to reach wider Instagram communities through a designated feed in the Explore tab. Thus, it promises to open new doors for engaging large audiences on a global scale.

Image Credits: Instagram

From here on, the differences between Reels and Stories keep on piling up. While both features enable users to create short 15-seconds video bites, the Instagram Reels dashboard comes with a more complex built-in editor. WIth Instagram Reels, users can record and patch together several videos, while also adding audio effects and leveraging a more diverse set of creative tools. Not only that, but the audio created by one user will be made available to the entire Instagram community for further video generation.

You’ll easily recognize Instagram Reels in the Explore tab and in your feed by the clapboard symbol that will accompany them. As far as interactions go, you’ll be able to engage with Instagram Reels in the same manner you engage with posts or Stories, with the added option of viewing and using their soundtrack for your own Reels. Users who create Instagram Reels will have a new tab on their Instagram profile that will cluster all their videos. 

Oh, and no more scrolling left or right. Instagram Reels is all about vertical scrolling, similar to the addictive experience created by none other than TikTok. To be fair, Instagram recognized that they have not invented the short video format, but they pride themselves on innovating it. And that’s what they plan to do with Instagram Reels, as Instagram plans to roll-out numerous augmented features.

How to create your first Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels currently lives in the Instagram Stories section. Thus, in order to create your first reel, open Instagram Stories and select from the slide-through menu at the bottom of the screen the Reels option. 

Once you do, a dashboard with creative tools will open. Ready to get your creative juices flowing? In a nutshell, there are five tools you can leverage at will.

Audio: If you don’t want to record your own audio, browse through Instagram Reels’s media library and cherry pick your favorite tune. Instagram Reels offers you the option to directly search by keywords or browse through ready-made categories. Select your theme and hit record.

AR Effects: Instagram bets on this AR tool to smoke its competition. Moreover, it promises to constantly update the AR selection with newer and better filters. Currently, you can select from Instagram’s most used or browse through a wide selection of AR effects from Instagram creators. In a single clip, you can mix and match multiple effects.

Timer and countdown: Look, Instagram, no hands! This option enables you to create Reels hands-free, by selecting a specific amount of time to record.

Align: This tool helps you to line-up all your clips seamlessly snf create transitions that look flawless. As an extra gimmick, align enables you to add new friends into your clip and mix and match your styles.

Speed: This is probably the most straightforward feature of the five. The speed tool enables you to fine-tune your Reel, create slow-mo bits or keep up with a certain beat.

After you record your Reel, Instagram will take you to the share screen. Don’t be nervous, there’s still time to review your clip and make the final adjustments. At this stage you can select your cover image, add your caption and hashtags and, if needed, tag other users. Once you’re fully satisfied with your Reel, it’s time to post! 

You can also share your Reel as a post or as an Instagram Story. But mind you, in this case it will disappear after 24 hours. Yeah, Stories will always be the Cinderella of Instagram.

Reel it in and reel it out!

Since its launch on August 5th, Instagram Reels has caused a stir in the social media world. Whether it will fly or crash remains to be seen, but it deserves a proper chance at stardom. As we’re all, as a community, looking for new ways to be creative, Reels shouldn’t be overlooked.

Let us know in the comments below how your first Instagram Reel went.

We’ll definitely be back with more on the new feature once the honeymoon phase is over. Now reel it in and reel it out!

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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