All About Instagram Reels

  • Written by Allison Herrera

    This month, Instagram released a new feature in the U.S. called “Instagram Reels”. Instagram Reels is another opportunity for Instagram users to creatively express themselves on the platform, much like on TikTok, a rival app. Instagram Reels offers users a set of creative tools in creating fun, engaging short clips to share with their followers. They essentially show off…

    • 15-second videos – multi-clip reels
    • Audio, text, special effects and stickers
    • A new dedicated Feed on the Explore page

    With over 25 million businesses utilizing Instagram, it’s time for you to step up your game and shine within the crowd. With brands like Louis Vuitton, Sephora and Walmart already utilizing the platform’s new feature, we’re urging businesses to follow their lead. Just like we promised in our blog post Optimizing Video Content, we are going into depth on what Instagram Reels is, it’s importance & how you can use it. Here’s the skinny on what Instagram Reels features…

    • Several editing tools, which include AR effects, speed controls and the option to align multiple clips (Pro Tip: these are great for cleaner transitions)
    •  Options to share on the Explore page and Stories – a place that over 50% of Instagram accounts use every month, causing your brand to have a larger change of drawing in new followers
    •  A dedicated section of your profile where all of your Reels live and the option to post Reels in your feed, both similar to IGTV posts
    • The attribution of audio – if you include original audio (the sounds you recorded in your video), your audio will be credited to you. This gives other users an opportunity to use your original audio for their reels; but as we previously mentioned, the audio would be attributed to you, the original creator of it

    Many say Instagram Reels is an attempt for the platform to compete with TikTok. Both apps sport the same goal: provide users with an environment where they can create and share short videos with others. But, although Instagram Reels is very similar to TikTok, the two also feature many differences.

    Instagram Reels are important for many reasons. The first is you can tap into a whole new audience, people who prefer quick content that’s easy to digest. These short-form videos that Instagram Reels promote are popular, especially with Gen-Z. Brands can also collaborate with influencers, by creating content via Instagram Reels. Also, without going into logistics, Instagram has a tendency to “reward” users when they utilize all of the platform’s features. Most importantly, we over at Uptown Girl Media predict that Instagram Reels will have success similar to TikTok.

    Facebook (who owns Instagram) is notorious for pushing new features that their rival apps developed. Let’s rewind back a few years ago to when Facebook replicated the Snapchat Stories feature, by carrying it over to Instagram. Now, Instagram Stories are more widely used and popular than Snapchat Stories. Although it started off as a clone of Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories are now an effective channel for brands to showcase their personality and build their audience. Now, let’s think about the power of influence. Combine all of those highlights together, and gear it towards Instagram Reels. How can the feature not succeed?

    Tiktok is also under fire – just Google “TikTok ban” and you can find all the research you need. We’re not here to talk politics, but if the U.S. follows India’s lead in banning the app, Instagram Reels will naturally fall as its successor (unless Microsoft buys the app, which has been in discussion as a potential opportunity…but that’s a whole other conversation). Either way, TikTok’s public image hasn’t been all positive for everyone; whereas Instagram hasn’t had any PR messes, at least this week.

    With TikTok creating a culture based on short-form videos, it shouldn’t be a struggle for the new Instagram Reels feature to gain popularity. In our opinion, TikTok creating this hype is merely a step for Instagram to take their app to the next level. Instagram can finish building the house TikTok set the foundation for, since Instagram is one of the most widely used apps in the world and translates between more generations than TikTok.

    Although Facebook’s initial attempt to compete with TikTok by launching an app back in 2018 called Lasso failed (Lasso shut down on July 10, 2020), we believe Instagram Reels is bound for success. With TikTok’s statistics rising over the past few months (more than back in 2018) and Facebook learning from past mistakes, we wouldn’t sleep on Instagram Reels, if you care about growth and success on social media. Businesses can utilize Instagram’s new feature multiple ways, but here are 5 creative ideas business profiles can grow on…

    1. Repost TikTok videos on Instagram
    2. Share educational content
    3. Showcase products
    4. Share behind the scenes
    5. Announce sales

    Before we wrap up, we aren’t saying to delete TikTok, but you can enhance your social media game by either creating more unique content on Instagram (a larger platform with multiple features other than Reels) or you can reuse your content from it by translating it to Instagram. A great example is ColourPop Cosmetics. By utilizing both apps, you can…

    • Bring your Instagram followers who are not on TikTok a new type of content
    • Help expose your TikTok content to new audiences on Instagram
    • Gain new followers on Instagram based on unique content by utilizing TikTok’s short form strategy

    If you’ve made it to this point in our post, it’s a no-brainer that brands should grab the opportunity to be some of the first creators on Instagram Reels. What do you have to lose? If you have any questions about Instagram Reels, campaign ideas or creative strategies regarding individualized success for your specific company or brand, please reach out to us at for support.

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