How to Use Instagram Reels for Business in 2021 (1/2)

Instagram reels in 2021

Instagram Reels is a new content format that lets you make and share short compelling videos that — unlike Instagram Stories — don’t disappear after 24 hours.

Despite originally being criticized as a “TikTok copycat,” Instagram Reels has got positive responses from influencers, brands, and users. Many creators embraced Reels while also building their fan base on TikTok. Brands like SephoraWalmart, and Beardbrand are already taking advantage of Reels.

So, all the answers to your questions like what are Instagram Reels in 2021? How does it work? How can you use it as a marketing strategy for your business? are here in this guide.

What are Instagram Reels in 2021?

Instagram Reels are 15 or 30-second videos.

Like TikTok, Reels provides tons of editing tools that help users to make compelling and fun video footage. Reels include multiple video clips, filters, captions, interactive backgrounds, stickers, and more.

A scrollable tab full of trending Reels (a.k.a. Instagram’s version of the TikTok For You page) can be accessed using the Reels icon at the bottom of the Instagram app’s home page:

Instagram Reels icon at the bottom of the app's home page

A personal account’s Reels can be seen in a dedicated tab that can be accessed above the account’s Feed:

Accessing a user's Reels in the tab on their profile page

Reels are also heavily featured in Explore. If you’d like to expand your presence with Reels using this powerful discovery tool, check out this guide to getting your content on the Instagram Explore page.

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok in 2021

Since Instagram Reels is TikTok’s rival, we should discuss how they’re similar, and how they’re different.

The essence of Instagram Reels and TikTok is the same: giving users a creative space to make and share short videos with others. They come with creative tools, supporting users to make their most creative clips.

Instagram Reels and TikTok comparison

However, they are different from each other, as shown below:

Instagram ReelsTikTok
A feature inside the Instagram ecosystemA platform
Available video length: 15s, 30s, or 60sVideo time limit: up to 3 minutes
Reels shared to Stories will disappear after 24 hoursAll videos stay on the feed

Instagram Reels in 2021 vs. Instagram Stories

Don’t be confused between Instagram Reels and Stories. Even though they seem a lot like each other, they have some significant differences:

  • Reels give several creative tools, including AR effects, speed controls, and the option to align multiple videos for cleaner transitions.
  • Reels can be featured in Explore and shared with Stories. When you publish a Reel, you can also choose to show it on your Feed as well. All the Reels you make will also be in a dedicated section of your profile, the same as IGTV posts.
  • If you add original audio, the audio clip will be attributed to you, and other users can use it to make new Reels.

Let’s move on to the way to use them as one of your marketing strategies.

How to make a Reel on Instagram

If you’re familiar with Instagram and/or TikTok, you’ll find it easy to make a Reel video.

How to log in to Reels

To access Reels, just go to the Instagram camera and select REELS.

Instagram Reels button

This button will help you create a Reel.

How to create an Instagram Reel

Instagram Reels has two options for you to create a Reel:

  1. Press and hold the record button to record footage.
  2. Upload video footage from your camera roll.

Reels can be recorded in multiple clips (one at a time), or all at once.

Follow these steps to make your own Reel:

Step 1: Scroll to the bottom of the screen and choose Reels.

Step 2: Use tools to make your recording. Tap Audio (1) to choose audio from the Instagram music library and include it in your video. You can even choose to add the part that you want.

Instagram Reels Audio

Tap Speed (2) to change videos’ speed, choose Effects (3) to use special effects, and choose Timer (4) to determine the length of your video.Instagram Reels Speed Effects and Timer features

Step 3: Tap and hold the record button to record a clip when you’re ready. If you set a timer early on, you’ll see a countdown before the hands-free recording starts.


You can tap the record button to end a clip during the recording and then tap it again to start a new clip. Then, the Align button (5) will be shown, you can line up objects from the previous clip before recording your next. This is helpful to create seamless transitions for moments like changing outfits, adding new music, or adding new friends into your Reel.

If you want to watch, trim, or delete the previous clip that you recorded, you can choose the clip (6) and edit it.

watch trim or delete clip

Step 4: Once you finish recording, you can add stickers, drawings, and text to your Reel.

Add stickers and drawings to clip

How to share a Reel

Now, you feel that your clip is ok, you can choose the Next button (7) to access the Share page. Then, choose Cover (8) to edit the cover photo with a video thumbnail or include a cover from your camera roll. You can write a caption as well. If you don’t want to post the clip right away, just save it as a draft.

share pageInstagram Reels allows you to:

  • Share the clip to the Reels tab only. Your Instagram audience can access it in the Reels tab in your account. The Instagram algorithm may also pick it up and boost it to users browsing the app’s main discovery Reels tab.
  • Share the clip to your Feed as well. If you pick this choice, the Reel will show up in your profile grid along with your other posts.

Here is what you see after finishing sharing your Reels.

completed reel

How long can Instagram Reels be?

From July 2021, all Instagram users are able to create 15 and 30-second long Reels. Select accounts can create 60-second Reels.

Instagram Reel sizes

You’re creating Reels on the go and recording your video footage using the Reels camera, don’t worry about file size. However, if your Reels include uploaded footage, ensure that your files are the correct size and dimension to avoid a blurry and awkwardly cropped end product.

Like Stories, Reels are a mobile-first format, designed to take up a full vertical screen. The suggested aspect ratio for Reels is 9:16 and the suggested size is 1080 x 1920 pixels.

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