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What Are Instagram Reels and How to Leverage Them for Your Business

Almost every business has an Instagram presence. Many use IGTV, Stories, Posts, etc., to stay on top of the Insta trends. But what about Reels?

Can businesses leverage Instagram Reels the way they use other Insta video forms and make their presence felt on one of the hottest social networks?

In this post, we’ll tell you how.

First, let’s understand Instagram Reels better.

What Are Instagram Reels?

Before we begin, let’s see how the platform defines Reels. Instagram itself says Reels are:

a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.

Well, that pretty much suffice what they are.

If you’ve ever seen a TikTok video, consider Reels as its mighty rival that’s been winning masses.

Reels let you record and edit 15 to 30-second multi-clip videos. And you get to enhance these videos with audio, text, special effects, and more. In the overarching Instagram ecosystem, Reels come as a refreshing take.

They let users create short, compelling videos to entertain or educate their communities. The aim is to garner attention with creativity. But, how are Reels different than Stories? Let’s find out.

Instagram Reels & Instagram Stories: What’s The Difference?

Instagram Reels and Instagram Stories may seem similar. While there may not be too many differences between the two, here’s what makes them different:

Format – With Instagram Reels, you can only share videos. Whereas, Stories let you share both images and videos.

Captions – While you can add a full caption on Instagram Reels, Stories don’t let you add any caption.

Hashtags – You can add up to 30 hashtags on Instagram Reels and up to 10 on Stories.

Lifespan – Unlike Instagram Stories, which disappear after 24 hours, Reels won’t disappear after 24 hours and stay in a dedicated Reels tab on your profile.

Engagement – Like on your Instagram Feed posts, users can comment publicly on Reels. Whereas on Instagram Stories, users can only engage through direct messages.

Placement – Instagram Reels can be shared to your main Instagram feed, the Explore tab (if you have a public account), and the dedicated Reels tab on your profile. You can also share Reels to the Instagram Stories feed, in which case they will disappear after 24 hours.

Editing – Instagram Reels come with several editing tools such as AR effects, speed controls, the ability to align or stitch videos for cleaner transitions, and even add a watermark. There’s also an option to include your original audio in your Reels, which will be attributed to you, and other users can also use that audio to create their reels.

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Do Businesses Even Need Instagram Reels?

Of course, they do!

Firstly, Instagram offers a large “active” audience base that you can easily tap with Reels. With the option to share Reels on the Explore page, you can put your content in front of a large audience apart from your Feed.

Secondly, Reels let you be as creative and smart with your content as you want. Going viral gets easy when you experiment with the feature-packed Instagram Reels and power-up your messaging with short, engaging videos.

Going viral gets easy when you experiment with the feature-packed Instagram Reels and power-up your messaging with short, engaging videos.

Plus, using it doesn’t require any investment. This is why, no matter the size of your business, consider making Reels a part of your social marketing strategy to reap the advantages they offer.

How To Make A Reel On Instagram?

There are three ways to access Instagram Reel and begin the creation process. You can do it from the Instagram home screen, from the designated Reels tab, or by clicking on the Instagram Stories camera.

Step 1 – Access Instagram Reels

From the Instagram home screen: To access Instagram Reels through the Instagram home screen, click on the “+” icon on the top left and pick the REELS option from there.

Access IG Reels from your home screen

From the Instagram Reels tab: To create a Reel through the Reels tab, tap the Reels icon on the bottom of the home screen and then click on the camera on the top-right.

Reels Tab

From the Instagram Stories camera: To create a Reel by accessing it through the Stories camera, tap on the “+” icon on Your Story tab on the top-left.

Access Reels through the Stories tab

Click on the “Reels” icon positioned either between the default Normal mode and Create mode or on the bottom menu next to “Story”.

Step 2 – Adjust the settings

Insta Reels Settings

Duration: Instagram gives you the option to toggle between 15 and 30 seconds when choosing a time limit. Hit the top tab from the options on the left and select the duration you want. Note that you can create a Reel shorter than your chosen time but not longer than that.

Audio: Next comes the music icon. Tap on it to add audio. You can record a Reel with your original audio or add it from the app. Select it from your saved audio (other people’s original audio that you can save) or browse the available options. You can also search music to find the one you want to add to your Reel. Once you have selected the music, scroll the bar at the bottom to include it in your video.

Note: Some businesses may not be able to add audio to their Reels or may not have access to the Instagram music library because of commercial music rights restrictions. But they can use their original audio by recording it with the Reel.

Speed: Press the play icon to select a playback speed. It goes from .3X to 5X.

Effects: Click on the face icon to get access to a slew of effects and choose the one you like.

Timer: If you want to record your Reel hands-free, click on the stopwatch sign to set the timer.

Step 3 – Record your video or upload a pre-recorded one

Hit the record button to film your Reel. To stop filming, press the record button again. You can also trim or delete the Reel you recorded by going back through the “<” icon.

You can record as many clips as you want and align them to create a seamless transition that Reels are famous for.

If you don’t want to record, you can also upload a pre-recorded video. However, you can’t edit the footage or add music. You can only add text, stickers, and filters to pre-recorded video.

Step 4 – Add stickers and text

Once your recording is complete or you have uploaded a video, use the drawing tools to choose a sticker from the host of options available.

Get creative with stickers

You can also add text to your reels and show your creativity.

Add text to Instagram Reels

Step 5 – Add a caption and hashtags

After adding the final touches to your Reel, click “>” to go to the final screen. Now, you can add a catchy caption and include hashtags to expand your reach.

Step 6 – Share your Reel

Now your work of art is ready to be shared. You can share it with your Stories if you want or post it to your Feed. It may also appear on Instagram’s Explore page if you have a public account.

15 Ways To Leverage Instagram Reels For Business

Wondering “how to use Reels on Instagram?”

Here are 15 ways to leverage Instagram Reels and grow your business with customer-centric content:

1. Inspire, inspire, inspire!

Let’s admit it: inspiration is all we need to get going, and Insta is no exception. In fact, if there’s one little secret you must know about the platform, it is: most of the users follow accounts to get inspired. It could be health, wealth, business, career, relationships – but Instagram followers connect with businesses and influencers to level up their lives in some form.

You can create inspirational reels to help your followers learn the ropes and be successful at what they seek out there.

Women’s Health UK aces at creating inspirational Reels for their Instagram followers. This Reel is the perfect example:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Women’s Health UK (@womenshealthuk)

2. Show and tell

You have a business, promote it. Show and tell the world what you are offering. And, no, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a product. While product demos are all great, you can show a glimpse of your services too.

Tara Wilkinson of Lovlie Cakes regularly shares Reels displaying mouth-watering cakes, macarons, and more. Below is a good example:


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A post shared by Tara Wilkinson || Lovlie Cakes (@lovliecakes)

3. Educate your target audience

When you think of Instagram Reels, you think of engagement. And what’s a better way to drive engagement than sharing educational content. Tips, tricks, how-tos, tutorials – all work splendidly to win more followers on Insta.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is an excellent example of a brand that uses Instagram Reels to educate its audience. Check this Reel they shared on the beautiful Echinacea flower educating their followers on using homegrown echinacea roots for a healthy, immunity-boosting tea:


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A post shared by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (@bakercreekseeds)

4. Display your community pride

We all need some community love to progress. And depicting this love through Instagram Reels is one heck of a way to build your audience. Give a shout out to other businesses or customers, tell your followers what your customers love about your offerings, better yet – include your community in your Reels. There’s nothing as authentic as that.

See how Los Angeles Lakers shared a Reel by famous rapper and Los Angeles Lakers superfan Snoop Dogg. In his Reel shared by Lakers, Snoop Dogg shows his new Lakers championship tattoo that pays tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, a Lakers legend:


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A post shared by Los Angeles Lakers (@lakers)

5. Take them behind-the-scenes

Want to make your brand relatable? Take your audience behind-the-scenes through your Reels. It’s your magic wand to build better relationships. From sharing a day in your team members’ lives to sharing the process of creating that superb product/service that you’re proud of – with BTS content, you can rock your Instagram Reels and build some credibility at the same time.

The Wishing Elephant frequently shares BTS Reels, like this one:


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A post shared by The Wishing Elephant (@thewishingelephant)

6. Share some news

Customers love breaking news. Whether it’s a new launch, an exclusive deal going live soon, or a prestigious reward that your business has bagged – share the news through your Instagram Reels, and you’ll end up yielding a bunch of new viewers.

For example, here’s a Reel from FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA where the brand breaks the news about a new exclusive launch on their website:


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A post shared by FENTY BEAUTY BY RIHANNA (@fentybeauty)

7. Keep the fun going

One of the best ways to liven up your Reels is to share some fun content from time to time. While it’s good to mean business, a little recreation can go a long way in fostering your connection with your audience. Whether it’s a before and after video or a blooper, fun and light-hearted content can be great fodder for your Insta Reels calendar.

That’s exactly what EARTH OFFICIAL does with Instagram Reels. Here’s a funny one that would amuse any animal lover:


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A post shared by EARTH OFFICIAL (@earthofficial)

8. Start a trend

Okay, so we all know that following trends is vital if you want to drive engagement on Instagram, but how about starting a trend?

Think of it as your key to building an audience on Instagram. Check out what travel photographer and content creator Olivier Wong has done with this Insta Reel, where he does a photoshoot of random couples. The trend was an instant hit and has garnered more than a million views:


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A post shared by Olivier Wong (@wonguy974)

9. Answer what they want to know

Instagram Reels give you a perfect space for answering what your followers want to know. Create a question bank and add the most frequently asked ones to it. Then, maybe, do a series and answer each of these questions in a quick 15 to 30-second Instagram Reel.

Alisha, Reels & IG Coach, answers the most frequently asked question in her DMs – “How often should I be posting” in one of her Reels here:


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A post shared by Alisha 🌱 Reels & IG Coach (

10. Exhibit your USP

With so many businesses out there, what is it that makes you unique? Tell your audience that with cleverly-crafted Instagram Reels. Something like Xbox does here with the catchy “Booting up Reels” caption:


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A post shared by Xbox (@xbox)

11. Go slow

Utilize Instagram Reels’ speed settings to your advantage and go slow-mo. It’s one of the best ways to grab attention and look cool. Just like Puma looks here with this fantastic Reel that has the right element of slow-motion in the beginning:


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A post shared by PUMA (@puma)

12. Tell a story

Instagram Reels give an excellent storytelling platform to brands looking to create a spark. Be it the start of your business or how you reached the zenith of success with a key team member, telling a story always wins you more customers if done right.

Take a leaf from the books of DIY enthusiast Kristen. She knows how to build an emotional connection with her audience through Reels that have a story to tell. Just like this one, wherein she transforms her girls’ room and shares a beautiful story that resonates with most of the parents out there:


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A post shared by Kristen | DIY & Design (@builds_by_kristen)

13. Promote your contests or giveaways

Another winning strategy for Instagram Reels is promoting your contests or giveaways. As Reels of public accounts have the chances to appear in the Explore feed, the odds of getting more reach multiply with Reels. More the views, more will be the participation, and hence, better will be the engagement.

For example, this Reel on the #WishComeTrue contest from Wish:


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A post shared by Wish (@wish)

14. Trigger the FOMO

Getting your target audience’s attention isn’t as easy as you may think. It gets tricky with so many businesses already working hard to make their Instagram videos powerful than ever before. But you can always generate a good bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) and build some hype around your products or services to beat the competition.

Host a flash sale, run a webinar or share limited-edition products to attract more customers by mentioning the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they wouldn’t want to miss.

Sephora does it right here by showcasing how to create the famous Lara Jean look from To All the Boys: Always and Forever. Well, the key is creating the look using the limited-edition sets available only at Sephora:


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A post shared by Sephora (@sephora)

Triggering the FOMO much? Hell, yeah!

15. Challenge ’em

Challenges are exhilarating. They make you strive for more. And when you run a challenge, you’re one step closer to more followers. So, choose a song or maybe a product and ask your followers to join the challenge.

GoPro takes challenges pretty seriously. This Reel on the #GoProSnow Challenge tells us why the brand is a master at promoting its products with exciting challenges:


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A post shared by GoPro (@gopro)

Instagram Reels Best Practices For Every Business

Take center stage on your followers’ Feeds with Instagram Reels that are engaging and on point. Here’s how to supercharge your Instagram strategy with impactful Reels:

  • Do your research: Instagram Reels may be new for many businesses, but you need to do your groundwork to tap its power. Know your target audience first, and then try to figure out what do they like. Look at the countless Reels that have been published by businesses similar to yours and understand what it is that they are doing to attract views.
  • Create a content calendar: The ability to record Reels on-the-go doesn’t mean you can’t plan them. Create a content calendar, and don’t forget to include your Reel ideas in that. Plan the Reels well, keeping in mind the objective you want to achieve and the message you want to convey through them.
  • Use a stock library: Stock videos and audio can amp up your Reels quality by leaps. Explore’s stock library and choose the footage or music you want to include in your Reels. You can also create videos in and upload them to your Instagram Reels if you plan to ditch the spontaneity with pre-recorded videos.
  • Don’t be pushy: While representing your business through Reels, don’t push your product or service. Instead, create value-adding content and then include it in the Reels without making them too salesy.
  • Practice to be perfect: Envy that business who knows how to strike the right chord through its Reels? Well, you can be that business too. All you need is practice. Test out all of the features Instagram Reels offer, experiment with them, and practice till you become perfect at it. Because, trust us, you will.

Ready To Impress Your Audience With Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels come with a semi-steep learning curve. You don’t have to invest hours and hours learning how to make a reel on Instagram, but you need to be creative enough while you do that.

Keep this guide handy when figuring out how to use Reels on Instagram and connect with your audience better. But don’t forget to track engagement to measure the impact your Reels are creating.

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