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What Exactly are Instagram Reels?

November 26, 2020

Are you hearing all about Instagram’s newest feature, Reels, and think, I seriously have NO idea what this even is? As someone who is LOVING the Reels feature, I’m breaking down exactly *what* Reels are, where they came from, and how we experience them! 

All about Instagram Reels from online business educator Stephanie Kase

Tik Tok: The Start of Reels

If you’re not familiar with Tik Tok, it’s essentially a platform all about short form videos. Short form videos are under 1 minute long (uusally 15-30 seconds) that users can watch. There’s no photos on the app, just videos. Trends are a HUGE part of Tik Tok’s experience. This means making videos with the same sounds, movements, or ideas and sharing it as part of the “movement”. What’s always struck me as interesting is that this isn’t considered stealing – it’s simply part of the experience. 

Earlier this year, there were rumors that Tik Tok would be banned in the US. And, while it almost happened, it hasn’t actually been banned yet. In the wake of that announcement, Instagram capitalized on the idea and added what they call “Reels” to their platform. They’re also short form videos that started as 15 second clips and are now able to be up to 30 seconds. I imagine in the future, we may even see longer clips happening! 

The Instagram Reels Experience

 Instagram Reels doesn’t seem to have the same trend experience that Tik Tok does. At least not yet! The only REAL trends I’ve seen have all been brought over from Tik Tok. Additionally, the user experience is a bit different than Tik Tok or even IGTV. Once you post a Reel, users experience it by watching it in their feed! It’s different from IGTV because they’re short, fast paced videos and the expectation isn’t always to have audio… you can use solely music and not talk in the video at all and that is normal! These can live in both your feed and the Reels section of your profile, too! 

In the end, Instagram Reels are another short form video platform in which to share tips, educational content, and other fun information with your audience. Instagram always rewards users for creating content for their new features, so if you’re ready to jump in – let’s get started! I have a great Instagram Reels tutorial and some ideas to get you started. You can also download my FREE Instagram reels cover photo template if you want a resource to help you in creating your reels! Go have fun!

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