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How to Utilize Instagram Reels

By: Athena Alexander

In 2020, Instagram released Reels, a feature that allows users to post videos of up to 60 seconds on their regular Instagram feed before being prompted to transfer to the Reel feed. However, users are able to watch and upload videos up to 10 minutes when uploaded as an Instagram Video. Users can customize videos by adding effects, text, music, and more. Each Instagram profile includes content tabs or pictures of their own posts as well as photos in which they’ve been tagged. Reels are also formatted into each user’s Instagram profile and remain there until manually deleted. So, how do businesses use this exciting new feature of Instagram grow their companies?

How to Make a Reel

Creating a reel is simple: tap the “+” icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select reel. A screen appears with a selection of tools located on the left side of the screen, including:

  • Music: users can record their voice or audio, or optionally, upload a song.

  • Length: users select the video’s duration: 15, 30, or 60 seconds (specific to Reels)

  • Speed: users may record at normal speed, or speed up/slow down.

  • Layout: This option can reformat the video into various grids and increase or shrink the zoom.

  • Self-timer: This feature gives users time to set up the desired angle/height and step away, so they are not holding the phone while recording.

At the bottom of the screen, the option to add filters and effects before recording enables users to try out options. Once the choices are made, press the big white button at the bottom of the screen and begin filming. Users may also upload prerecorded videos, which is useful when posts need to be preapproved for appropriate content by a business’s management. In the lower-left corner, press the camera icon button. If a user wants to use the filters and other formatting options provided by Instagram, they are able to save their live recorded video to their camera roll and post it whenever they would like.

How to Use Reels for Your Business

Reels provide a new way to market products and services, spread brand awareness, create a personal perspective, and drive engagement from new and returning customers.

  • Marketing Products/Services

Marketing products and services in new ways attracts both new and returning customers. Reels are also shoppable, meaning a business can add a tag that a user is able to click on that sends them directly to the website to buy the product. The use of filters, green screens, and gifs makes the reels a unique way to market products and services.

  • Spreading Brand Awareness

Reels and photos operate by separate algorithms. Similar to TikTok, Instagram enables users to scroll specifically on reels. Reels can still appear in a user’s feed with pictures, but only when an account is following the user that posted the reel. To view a continuous feed of reels, click on the lower middle button on the screen and go to the reel feed. Here, reels will appear depending on the topic, hashtags, sound, and the potential to go viral. Reels must abide by the Instagram community guidelines and do not have a paid ad feature (yet).

  • Creating a Personal Perspective

Businesses can use reels to show behind-the-scenes footage of the production process, employees, and other company features. Creating authentic content about situations customers usually don’t see connects clients to the brand and increases engagement. For example, let’s say a shoe brand is brainstorming ideas for reels. A great way to connect with clients might be to show the shoes the employees are wearing. A customer can see the styles the workers are fond of and put faces to the people working to serve them. Creating reels is also a fun way to bond with employees and feature everyone on social media.

  • Driving Engagement

Reels are viewable on public Instagram accounts, (both professional and regular), by all Instagram and Facebook users, and in this way appear on randomized users’ reel feeds. In this way, reels increase traffic to business accounts. Reel views, comments, and likes go up the longer a reel has been posted, so in this way, reels keep boosting engagement the longer they are posted and viewed. Reels are a fun, creative, cost-effective, and personalized way to promote and market products while engaging and entertaining customers.


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