How to Make a Reel on Instagram: Ultimate Guide
Follow the changing internet landscape and learn how to make a Reel on Instagram to develop a modern video content marketing strategy.
Instagram has fought for its mainstay as one of the most downloaded apps worldwide – it has since made video content a priority feature for the Instagram algorithm, prompting some users to call back for a more photo-centric app.
The strategy is, however, widely successful. Instagram Reels dominate all other short-form video platforms in average engagement and have almost double the engagement compared to other post types.
This blog post will cover all the essentials for creating a Reel on Instagram. You’ll learn about Instagram’s creative tools, business essentials, and tips and tricks to develop engaging marketing content that aligns with the platform’s algorithm:
How to Make a Reel on Instagram
The Instagram Reels feed and Explore page, along with TikTok, YouTube Shorts, even Snapchat, have all tried to adapt to new forms of engagement.
High-demand videos with easy editing and trending music samples are a major factor in the current mobile culture. Creative tools like captions, tags, featured augmented reality (AR) effects, and quick-to-use editing and timer features make the process interactive and unique to your version.
To create Instagram Reels, first, make sure your Instagram app is up-to-date on your mobile device.
We’ll further describe six essential steps on how to make a Reel on Instagram, so open your Instagram app and get ready to play around with Reel video features:
1. Open Your Reels Page
On the Instagram feed homepage, click on the plus icon at the top right of your screen to add a new post, and swipe to the Reels tab from the bottom list of options. There, you’ll be able to see the recording screen.
Alternatively, click on the Reels icon at the bottom of your home page – a clapperboard with a play icon in the middle – and then click on the camera icon at the top right to start a new Reel.
If you haven’t already, allow Instagram to access your camera, microphone, and device storage. Otherwise, you won’t be able to create Reels.
Once you’re on the creation page, you’ll see a variety of tools:
- Left toolbar – audio library, effect controls, editing, layout tools, and other creative tools
- Top left corner – control settings
- Top middle – flashbulb settings
- Capture button – selection of augmented reality effects
- Bottom left corner – media gallery icon
2. Select Audio
Browse Instagram Reels music by clicking on the audio icon in the toolbar on the left. The app will direct you to the Instagram Music Library. It has a few different sections:
- For You – you can add music you’ve previously interacted with or that matches your Instagram profile preferences
- New Releases – shows audio from popular emerging trends or new tracks from artists
- Original Audio – shows audio tracks created by other Instagram Reels content creators
We recommend choosing your music first and basing your content around it. Intertwine the narrative of your Reel in a way that matches previous trends, adds a catchy backing track for your camera audio, or relates to the topic you’re presenting.
Watch the Reels of other content creators or brands to find trending audio samples, and select Use Audio from their public account to incorporate it into your version. This will save audio from your selection, which you can use freely in your music library.
Create your original audio tracks – spoken lines, mix tracks, or edited audio compilations. Your original audio will be available to everyone unless you post your Reel exclusively to your followers or friends through your Instagram Stories camera.
3. Record Video Clips
If you’re familiar with TikTok, learning how to make a Reel on Instagram is pretty much the same process. Reels can be recorded and paused at appropriate cuts, recorded all at once, or you can use pre-recorded video clips from your camera roll.
Use the timer feature for hands-free recording while creating Instagram Reels.
Find the timer tool on the left of your screen – the clock icon – to define your Instagram Reel length and timer countdown. Once you hit the capture button, the Reel will start the countdown timer (3 or 10 seconds) and begin recording.
Once you start recording, you’ll see a progress indicator at the top of the screen. Release your hold to stop recording at the end of your video clip, or allow it to finish on its own if you’re using a timer. Then, press the record button (or select a new timer) to record multiple clips.
Click Next once you’ve finished recording, and don’t worry – you can always edit a previous video clip and cut it down in size.
4. Align Assets
After recording, line up your effects and objects to create seamless transitions. Ensure that your captions, tags, stickers, and photos stay on the same dimensions, maintaining a fixed narrative that’s easier to follow.
Note that the captions page has built-in prompts for any Instagram Reels hashtag. Add hashtags to increase your Reel visibility, but make them relevant to the content, and try not to use too many generic prompts.
Try to keep the camera in a fixed position or add practical effects that swipe to the next scene and create a smooth look that blends any cuts, shot changes, camera flips, or scene transitions.
5. Set Speed
Changing your speed is incredibly simple. On the toolbar, select the third button and pick between 1x speed (original) or change your clip recording – ranging from .3x to 3x speed.
You can use a bit of variety to heighten your production value. Slowing the action at the right moment and transitioning to a faster pace can make a regular scene more dramatic and eye-catching for Instagram users.
6. Post Your Reel
After choosing the right audio, adding effects, defining speed, and aligning your visuals, you can click Next. The app will ask you to write a caption – make it short, place any necessary links for ads, and describe the content.
Then, tag any people seen in the Reel, add a location tag if necessary, and choose where to share your content. You can enable auto-generated captions on the Advanced Settings page, which we recommend if you haven’t placed your own.
Save the draft and post it in the future, or click Next to share your Reel immediately.
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Instagram Reel Size
Let’s talk about in-app settings – Instagram Reel dimensions, durations, and how to share your posts for a professional-looking Instagram account.
Ensure your Instagram profile image is at 110 x 110 pixels, centered, and clearly recognizable from a mobile screen.
Align your Instagram Reel size for a vertical mobile full-screen. Optimally, set your draft Reels and cover photo on an aspect ratio of 9:16 or 1080 x 1920 pixels.
When framing your video, don’t put any details at the bottom fifth of the screen. Otherwise, the video caption will conceal a large part of your content.
Instagram Reel Length
Ever since competitor sites like TikTok made efforts to expand their video length to satisfy even longer niche content – the maximum allowed Reel video length gradually increased to 90 seconds.
When it comes to answering what the appropriate length should be, no Instagram strategy is the same. There isn’t one right answer – content always remains key to engagement.
Try to vary your Instagram Reel length for a content format that best fits your subject and marketing goals:
- 7 to 15 seconds – entertaining videos that last up to 15 seconds have the chance to loop and account for more views, increasing your favorability in the algorithm and boosting potential traffic
- 15 to 30 seconds – Reels up to 30 seconds can involve product showcases, seasonal campaigns, Reels ads, and topics on current social trends
- 30 to 90 seconds – longer Reel content should provide informational value: how-to videos, tutorials, testimonials, and partnered projects with other creators
Best Time to Post Reels on Instagram
On weekdays, the best time to post Reels on Instagram is between early morning and late afternoon – 8-12 am and 4-5 pm PST. Daytime users constitute most of all Instagram engagement, while weekend users extend that time to the evening.
Your Instagram account should aspire for daily video uploads. However, too many posts in a single day can be labeled as spam by the algorithm, effectively handicapping your progress and alienating your Instagram audience.
You can use data tracking analytics tools to put your engagement metrics into numbers. Still, we recommend taking your time to research whether any third-party data tracking site will produce effective results.
How to Repost a Reel on Instagram
There are a few ways to share Reels on Instagram once you’ve started posting consistently. While Instagram hasn’t launched an official function to repost on your app feed, there are a few ways around it.
Download your video:
The brute-force option on how to repost a Reel on Instagram is to manually download your Reel and repost it from your camera roll, but it’s prone to affect the quality of the new post. This is the easiest option if you simply want to learn how to save a Reel on Instagram.
Open a Reel you want to save, and put it on full screen. Press the three dots icon on the bottom right corner to open the menu – then press Save to Camera Roll. This will save the video to your device storage.
Use repost software:
To repost a Reel to your feed directly, use free apps like Repost: For Instagram, which has a straightforward interface available for iPhone and Android phones.
The app allows you to copy the link of the Instagram Reel, archive it, and edit captions, tags, and image sizes to effortlessly repost the Reel and maintain its quality.
Repost to your Instagram Story:
Sharing a Reel directly to your Story is possible through the app itself but will only show the first 15 seconds of the video before linking the Instagram user to the full cut on the Reel page.
Click the paper airplane icon (share icon) on the right side of the Reel you wish to share, and select Add Reel to Your Story from the pop-up menu. Then, tap on the My Story button to share it among your mutuals.
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Can You Promote Reels on Instagram?
Once you’ve learned how to share a Reel on Instagram – a form of promotion in and of itself – you should look into other strategies to boost your social media engagement.
The following steps will describe how to promote your Instagram posts through the Facebook Ads Manager.
1. Log in to Facebook Ads Manager
Make sure to connect your Instagram account with your Facebook business page. To pursue Facebook Ads, your Instagram post profile should be from a business or creator account.
Log in to your Facebook profile and go to the Ads Manager section.
Can you promote Reels on Instagram? Press the Create button to see if your ad matches Facebook Ads’ terms of service, and follow these technical steps to create your first promotional material on Instagram Reels.
2. Fill in Campaign Details
On the next screen, you should see three defining objectives to define your ad campaign’s goals and metrics: awareness, consideration, and conversion. Check all that apply.
Next, set up your campaign details: daily budget, schedule date, and target audience settings. Knowing your niche ahead of time will help you locate the most appropriate users to target.
Finally, in the section to add placements, choose Manual Placements – this will help you track your ad performance. Then, find Instagram Reels in the Stories and Reels section. Only check the Instagram Reels option, leaving the others blank.
3. Set up the Ad
Customize your ad by adding a title, choosing to post from your business profile, uploading your ad video, an existing post, or creating one from scratch. Add a caption text and set up URL tracking, and you’re done.
Before publishing, take the time to watch the Reels of your ads using the preview tool. Check for inconsistencies and errors, and make sure your work stands up to the brand image you wish to cultivate.
When all is said and done, press Publish. After a review phase – which can take up to 24 hours – your Reel will be posted to your selected target audience through their Explore and Reels Home pages.
Why Use Instagram Reels for Business?
The Instagram app Reels feature launched in 2020. During its short rise in popularity, Instagram Reels have increased video engagement by around 22% relative to traditional video media.
As technological access becomes more widespread, almost a third of global marketers invest in short-form video content as a top advertising strategy.
The catchy short-form content variety connects to more niches than ever, promoting the current value for authenticity and on-demand content on the internet – Instagram Reels for business is a perfect strategy to connect to modern audiences.
If you’ve successfully established a large social media following on Instagram, consider designing your own branded merchandise with Printify.
Create an additional revenue stream through apparel and clothing sales without any initial investment costs, no inventory, and automated shipping and handling. Focus on creative design ideas and easily publish them through our print on demand platform.
Instagram Reel Tips and Tricks
Need a few Instagram Reel tips to get your gears turning? We’ve got you covered with a list of useful advice to improve your traffic and engagement and get you ready to master how to make a Reel on Instagram:
Niche Down and Be Creative
Select a skill that you’re more knowledgeable in, and you’ll be able to surpass other Reel creators. Check out our blog for profitable Instagram niches.
Here at the print on demand market, we know that any marketer worth their salary will have a developed target audience, niche, and content format catered to boosting business metrics. Start your marketing strategy by finding your niche first:
Work With Length
Instagram Reels creators have consistently asked for a longer Instagram Reels length, which points to the fact that a more extended time window creates more opportunities for creativity.
Introduce longer videos along with your regular content. Promote with variety – try to frame your old content for retrospective analysis, make behind-the-scenes footage, or talk about your journey as a creator.
You can use the slider in the timer menu to increase your video length even after recording a clip, so don’t be afraid to try out new variations.
Use Captions and Text
Captions are hugely important for users with hearing disabilities but did you know that nearly 85% of video views on Facebook are with the sound off?
Users read text faster than you can speak it, so adding text captions can hook them in before they instinctively begin to scroll down.
You can use online tools to transcribe your audio – try Google Cloud TTS, Veed.io, Transkriptor, etc., or take the time to do it manually.
Play Around With Speed, Effect, and AR Filters
Try to keep your videos clear of too much clutter but do think of using some of the available editing tools – AR filters, motion arrows, location tags, GIFs, and images – when appropriate to boost engagement and entertainment value.
Similarly, don’t put too much weight on appearance corrections and color filters. Excessive post-production can make your videos look fake and unrelatable. Use filters and effects for a slight change for dynamic shadows, color grading, and focus points.
Consider changing your video layout.
Many Instagram artists add multiple clips on a single screen that play off one another. You can use this effect to compare two different video clips, duet another artist, or frame your Reels together.
Interact with your audience and use the layout tools to increase your reach and network of other Instagram users and content creators.
Reposting From TikTok? Don’t Do It
The Instagram algorithm de-prioritizes visible reuploads from other apps, which effectively shadowbans your content from the Reels tab and Explore page.
You can always try to use editing tools to erase the TikTok watermark, but try to create original content on Instagram instead. Reposted content will diminish your brand image.
Hop on Trends and Share Your Reels
Trends will change weekly, so as soon as you see a new video craze that can fit your content, jump at the chance to gain more passive followers. For smaller trends that aren’t as likely to catch on, add them to your stories.
Once you’ve made enough content over a longer period, there might be an occasion where something you’ve previously covered becomes trending. Don’t be afraid to repost a previous clip if it has the potential to get more views than last time.
Don’t Limit Yourself
Always pursue learning new design software to make your cover image more visually appealing – or a third-party app with more video montage tools.
Practice using additional lighting types and practical effects, and make your trending audio and mix it perfectly with your visuals. Always push the boundaries of what other creators post in the Reels tab.
Ready to Create a Reel?
Once you know the basics, you can master a style and creative vision you’re proud of. Your audience will notice your effort as long as you’re authentic, punctual, know your niche, and respond to trends and new Reel features.
Here are a few quick points of summary on how to post a Reel on Instagram:
- Define your niche and target audience
- Find popular audio by researching other creators
- Size your Reels to 1080 x 1920 pixels
- Use a Reel length appropriate for your content
- Center your effects and objects but keep the screen clear of clutter
- Try to post a new Reel once a day
- Share and promote your Reels
- Never stop experimenting with new editing techniques
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