How to Create Instagram Reels: Instagram Reels is a new feature used to create short, snappy, engaging videos. It’s the hottest upgrade to come out of 2020, having been in the works for over a year.

After being trialled and tested in Brazil and India before the rest of the world – users and downloads increased significantly since the introduction of Reels. With this promising start, plenty of businesses will surely be jumping on the Reels hype.

What’s more is that where companies normally invest a lot of time, money and effort into video – Instagram makes this quick, easy and cost-effective. While they are a form of fast content, they open up the opportunity for users to engage with you, without the confinements of pushy advertising techniques. 

But before we get too excited – it’s worth doing research before diving straight in. Once you find out what you’re working with, you can then start creating with confidence. 

That’s why we’ve made this easy, handy step-by-step guide to show you how to create Instagram Reels, and make your ideas come to life.

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How to Create Instagram Reels: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating Reels on Instagram is easy, convenient and accessible. You can do this through many different ways: the Instagram home screen, the Reels tab, or the Stories camera. 

Although it all works the same – it is worth experimenting with to find your favourite option. In this guide, we will start off by showing you where you can access the Reels camera.

Step One: Access Reels Camera

The Reels camera can be accessed through the homescreen, dedicated Reels tab or Stories. 

To access through the Reels tab, simply locate this section of the app – it will look similar to the Instagram logo, with a play button inside. Instantly you will see videos playing. In the top right corner, tap the camera. Here you will be able to record your video.

Through the Instagram home screen, tap the ‘+’ on the top right corner and scroll to the Reels tab at the bottom of the screen.

How to Create Instagram Reels

To use the camera through Instagram Stories, find the Reels icon at the bottom of the screen, where you would normally select either ‘Story’ or ‘Live’ formats. From here, you will be able to select your editing modes such as audio, speed, effects and timer.

Top tip: Take time to try each pathway. You will probably find that you have a favourite depending on what you reach for more e.g. through Stories or grid posts.

Phone camera with a keyboard in frame and a green circle at the left-hand side of the screen showing the editing tools icons

Step Two: Experiment With Editing Tools

In this stage of creating your Reel, you’ll need to know how each of the editing tools can help you make the best version of your content. Albeit an ‘edit’, these are usually applied pre-recording.

While it seems like a lot to choose from – they each have simple yet effective functions. You don’t have to apply all, or any of them – but they are an easy way to make your content look so much more professional.

With audio, this is where you can search the Instagram music library. You can also use your own original audio, which will be attributed to you, and available for others to use if you have a public account.

Speed controls exactly what it says. It either slows down, or speeds up part of the video or audio you have selected. This tool is particularly useful if you want to create a time lapse, or make a slow-motion video.

Effects houses many special effects to choose from in a one-stop gallery. These are made by both Instagram and creators from all over the world. You can even record multiple clips with different effects if you desire.

You can also set the timer to countdown before recording to give yourself a head start. It’s worthwhile practising with this feature to ensure you get your timings right. This is also where you’ll choose the length of your content, especially if you have a capped timeframe in mind.

Top tip: Try out each editing tool with drafted clips and save them to your camera roll. These will help you trial run what features you like and don’t like. Plus, you can store them as handy reminders to plan your future content.

How to Create Instagram Reels

Step Three: Ready to Record

Once you have planned your Reel and chosen your desired effects, you can finally get to the fun part!

To capture footage, either hold down the record button, use hands-free, or upload from your camera roll. You can also do different takes by tapping the record button to end a clip, then start a new clip. 

Top tips:

  • Make the most of the timer! A countdown will give you a headstart and save you lots of editing time. 
  • Position your phone on a sturdy stand if you are doing hands-free. If you don’t have a tripod – fear not! You can simply get creative. For example: prop your phone on a windowsill so you can make the most of good lighting.
  • Again, if you’re doing hands-free and you want to create seamless transitions, mark a reference point for where the transition should carry on from. This could be anything from a prop to counting how many steps you take from the camera. Ultimately, this will avoid constantly readjusting what you’re filming!
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Step Four: The Finishing Touches

If you’ve created your first Reel and think it looks like a mess – never worry!

Not only does the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ apply here – but you will still have essential finishing touches to make.

Align is a handy tool that appears once you’ve recorded. This will allow you to line up objects from the previous clip, which helps when trying to achieve seamless transitions. You’ll have probably seen this before with outfit changes, or adding new items to a shot. This can be very handy for businesses showcasing different variations of their products.

If you want to trim or delete any of the clips you’ve filmed, select the individual clip you want to edit, then either tap the scissors to trim, or the trash to delete.

Once you’re happy with the result, you can also draw or add text and stickers to personalise your Reel even more! 

All that’s left to do now is choose your all-important cover photo. 

This cover photo will be the first thing people see when they come across your Reel, plus it will feature on your grid. If aesthetics are important to you, this is something worth thinking about. You can either add a thumbnail straight from your video, or pick a static image from your camera roll. 

Top tips: 

  • For inspiration, browse the Reels tab and make use of Instagram’s ‘Save’ feature. It looks like a small bookmark, and essentially keeps your favourite content all in the one handy place. This way, you can easily refer back to content you’ve seen before, to help you plan and personalise your own when it comes to filming and editing.  
  • Choose your music before you edit. Things like the beat could be a key helper in when to transition your clips, and make for more effective content!
Three phone screens (L-R: one showing how to choose a Reel cover image, the middle one signposting the video is live and the last showing where to write a caption and share content

Step Five: Share Your Masterpiece

You’ve made it! You’re now ready to share your masterpiece to the world. 

This is the easiest part. All you have to do now is add a caption like you would for any other Instagram post. 

However, if you’re not ready to share your Reel just yet – that is okay too. Instead of publishing straight away, you can save it for a better time as a draft that you can return to. 

Alternatively, you can hit the share button and you’re done! 

You can find your Reel on your Instagram profile by tapping the Reel icon just underneath your bio. This is where your drafts will be stored too. Your followers will be able to see your Reel on your grid, their feed and maybe even in Explore!

Top tip: Let people know about your Reel by also posting it on your Story. Often people will use Stories as a preview method, by using ‘New Post’ stickers partially covering the content to entice viewers to watch the full Reel on their profile.

By learning how to use Reels on Instagram, you can reach brand new audiences. This is so important for businesses who want to use Instagram effectively to maximise their online presence. In light of the app’s new update, Reels content is especially favoured, which will help you achieve even more exposure than the likes of creating videos for Stories or IGTV. 

Investing time and research into Reels is extremely worthwhile. If you are stuck for inspiration, we’ve got a handy round-up of our top Reel content ideas to help you start strategising. 

If you’re wondering how to view Instagram Reels that are specific to you, try Instagram’s new Search and Explore feature, where you can search for particular keywords and hashtags.

Now that we’ve shown you how to create Instagram Reels, you will be a pro in no time! For more content ideas or social media advice, simply drop us a message.

Mastering the art of captivating audio and visual effects is key to creating Reels that stand out in the crowd. Here’s how to leverage trending sounds and effects to spice up your content and maximize engagement:

Browsing Reels Music and Effects Libraries:

  • Explore the Dedicated Tabs: Instagram offers built-in libraries for Music and Effects. Utilize the search bar and browse curated “Trending” and “For You” sections to discover hot sounds and trending visual filters.
  • Focus on Genre and Mood: Filter music by genre, mood, and theme to match your Reel’s concept. Play around with different effects categories like “Face,” “Green Screen,” “Transitions,” and “Overlays” to find the perfect fit.
  • Listen for Popular Sounds: Pay attention to Reels blowing up on your feed and Explore page. Note the music choices and recurring effects that grab your attention.

Adding Popular Songs, Trending Sounds, and Hashtags:

  • Use the “Audio Search” Feature: Find specific songs or trending sounds by entering keywords or song titles. You can even search by mood or genre to discover hidden gems.
  • Pay Attention to the “Trending Hashtags”: When selecting music, check the associated trending hashtags. Include relevant hashtags in your caption to increase discoverability for users searching those terms.
  • Don’t be Afraid to Remix: Take inspiration from popular sounds and experiment with adding your own creative twist. You can adjust the volume, trim sections, or layer them with other sounds for a unique touch.

Using Effects to Spice Up Your Video Clips:

  • Experiment with Face Filters: Enhance your visuals with filters that adjust your appearance, add playful masks, or incorporate augmented reality elements.
  • Master Creative Transitions: Utilize transition effects to smoothly connect clips, adding dynamic impact and visual flair to your storytelling.
  • Play with Overlays and Animations: Incorporate fun overlays like text snippets, confetti, or graphic elements to highlight key moments or inject a touch of personality.
  • Green Screen Magic: If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the Green Screen effect. This opens up a world of creative possibilities, allowing you to transport yourself to any location or create fantastical backgrounds for your Reels.

Bonus Tips:

  • Stay in the Loop: Keep an eye on social media trends and influencer Reels to stay ahead of the curve and discover emerging audio and visual trends.
  • Join Challenges and Events: Participate in hashtag challenges and Instagram-hosted events that often come with unique effects and music filters.
  • Seek Community Inspiration: Follow creators known for their innovative use of audio and effects. Analyze their choices and adapt them to your own style.
  • Don’t Overdo It: Remember, balance is key. While trending sounds and effects can amp up your Reels, avoid overloading your viewers with too many elements.

Optimizing Your Reels for Engagement: Maximize Reach and Captivate Your Audience

Creating compelling Reels is only half the battle. To truly thrive in the Instagram ecosystem, you need to optimize your content for maximum engagement. Here’s how to master the art of post-production optimization and turn your Reels into viral magnets:

Reels Video Best Practices for Engagement:

  • Hook ’em in the First 3 Seconds: Capture attention instantly with a strong opening scene, dynamic action, or unexpected humor. Remember, users scroll quickly, so make those first few seconds count.
  • Keep it Short and Sweet: Aim for Reels between 15-30 seconds long. Brevity is key to maintaining viewer attention and encouraging repeat watches.
  • Tell a Story with a Clear Beginning, Middle, and End: Think about your Reel’s narrative arc. Provide context, build tension, and deliver a satisfying conclusion to keep viewers hooked.
  • Prioritize Vertical Video: Shoot and edit your Reels in portrait mode (9:16) for seamless viewing on Instagram’s mobile-first platform.
  • Embrace Creativity and Authenticity: Experiment with different editing styles, transitions, and effects. Let your unique personality shine through to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Writing Compelling Captions:

  • Go Beyond “Cute Outfit” or “Fun Day”: Craft your caption to tell the story behind your Reel. Add context, humor, or insightful commentary to engage viewers and encourage interaction.
  • Ask Questions and Spark Conversation: Pose open-ended questions, invite viewers to share their thoughts, or run polls to boost engagement and build a community around your content.
  • Include Relevant Hashtags: Research trending and niche-specific hashtags to increase discoverability. Target a mix of broad and focused hashtags to reach a wider audience while attracting viewers interested in your specific content.
  • Don’t Forget CTAs: Tell viewers what you want them to do! Whether it’s visiting your profile, checking out your website, or leaving a comment, encourage action with clear and concise calls to action.

Using Relevant Hashtags and Tagging Accounts:

  • Research Trending Hashtags: Utilize tools like Instagram Explore and online analytics platforms to identify trending hashtags within your niche. Include a mix of popular and niche hashtags to balance broad reach with targeted engagement.
  • Create Branded Hashtags: Develop a unique hashtag specific to your brand or content and encourage viewers to use it. This fosters a sense of community and helps track your content’s reach.
  • Tag Collaborators and Relevant Accounts: If you feature other creators or brands in your Reel, tag them in the caption to gain additional exposure and connect with their audience.
  • Consider Location Tags: Tagging your location can attract viewers interested in local content and expand your reach within your community.

Amplify Your Reels: Strategies for Maximum Reach and Visibility

Creating exceptional Reels is only half the battle. To truly conquer the Instagram algorithm and reach a wider audience, you need to embrace effective promotional strategies. Here’s how to get your Reels out there and ensure they resonate with viewers beyond your immediate circle:

Leveraging the Power of Instagram:

  • Share to Your Feed and Story: Don’t let your Reels languish in isolation! Share them to your regular feed and Story to maximize visibility within your existing audience. Consider using different caption variations or tailoring your Story teasers to pique your viewers’ interest and drive them to watch the full Reel.
  • Explore IGTV and Live Video: If your Reel exceeds the 60-second limit, consider splitting it into an IGTV series or going live to showcase your extended creation. This is a great way to deepen engagement with dedicated viewers and offer longer-form content experiences.
  • Utilize Instagram Insights: Analyze your Reels’ performance data to understand what resonates with your audience. Track views, engagement metrics, and completion rates to identify high-performing elements and shape your future promotional strategies.

Cross-Promoting Across Social Channels:

  • Share to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter: Don’t confine your masterpiece to Instagram alone! Share your Reels to other social platforms where you have an established audience. Adapt your captions and hashtags to fit each platform’s format and audience sensibilities.
  • Collaborate with Other Creators: Partner with other creators in your niche for cross-promotion opportunities. Feature each other’s Reels on your accounts, host live collaborations, or participate in hashtag challenges together to tap into new audiences and boost mutual engagement.
  • Engage with Relevant Communities: Share your Reels on relevant Facebook groups, subreddits, or online forums. Create discussions around your content, answer questions, and participate in ongoing conversations to gain traction and attract potential viewers.

Exploring Paid Promotion:

  • Consider Running Reels Ads: If you’re serious about maximizing reach, consider investing in Reels ads. Target your ads to specific demographics, interests, and locations to reach a wider audience beyond your followers. Monitor your ad performance and adjust your targeting parameters to optimize your ad spend.
  • Utilize Influencer Marketing: Partnering with relevant influencers to share your Reels can be a powerful way to break through the noise and reach a highly engaged audience. Choose influencers who align with your brand and content style to ensure your message resonates with their followers.


1. My Reels aren’t getting any views! What am I doing wrong?

Analyzing your Instagram Reels Insights is key. Check reach, engagement, and completion rates to identify what resonates with your audience. Adapt your content based on insights and experiment with trending topics, hashtags, and editing styles. Remember, consistency is crucial! Keep creating and promoting your Reels to build momentum and reach a wider audience.

2. I’m overwhelmed by all the metrics and data. How do I know what’s important?

Focus on key metrics like reach, engagement rate, and completion rate. High reach with low engagement could indicate repetitive viewership within your follower base. Low completion rate might mean your content isn’t holding attention. Set clear goals for your Reels (increased engagement, reach new audiences, drive traffic) to prioritize relevant metrics for measuring success.

3. I don’t have enough time to create multiple formats for my content!

Repurposing is your friend! Extract valuable snippets of your top Reels for Stories, feed posts, or IGTV. Offer behind-the-scenes glimpses or transform educational moments into mini-series to extend reach and engage your audience across platforms. Optimize your workflow by planning multi-purpose content creation sessions for maximum efficiency.

4. I’m afraid to experiment with different styles and trends. What if I flop?

Remember, failure is a stepping stone to success! Experimentation and iteration are key to refining your content. Analyze performance of different Reels to identify what works and adapt your approach. Participate in hashtag challenges and observe trending ideas to stay inspired. Don’t be afraid to try new things! Your unique voice and creative touch will shine through eventually.

5. Where can I find more tips and inspiration for creating Reels?

Follow successful creators in your niche, analyze their top Reels, and adapt their strategies to your style. Stay updated on industry reports and influencer insights to keep up with emerging trends. Consider online communities and forums dedicated to Reels creation for inspiration and knowledge sharing.


Conquering the world of Instagram Reels requires creativity, consistency, and a data-driven approach. By leveraging Reels Insights, repurposing top content, and staying informed about trends, you can unlock the full potential of this powerful format.

Remember, your unique voice and authentic stories hold the key to captivating your audience. Embrace experimentation, analyze your performance, and keep creating engaging Reels that resonate with your viewers. With dedication and the right strategies, you’ll be turning heads and hearts, one Reel at a time!

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