Want to learn all the pro tips and tricks to succeed with Instagram Reels? You’ve come to the right place!

The Reels feature on Instagram allows you to express yourself and entertain people by creating inspiring, engaging videos. You’ll also improve your chances of getting discovered by new audiences on a global stage.

So what’s Instagram Reels? And how does it work? We’re sharing everything you need to know below! 

What’s Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels are 15, 30, or 60 second multi-clip videos you can share as posts and Stories. They appear under a dedicated Reels tab featured on your profile. They might also pop up on the Explore page.  

Similar to TikTok, Reels allow you to record and edit fun and engaging videos. You can also add sounds and effects!

You can view and scroll through trending Reels in a few different ways. On the Reels tab, which is at the bottom-center of the Instagram home page, or the Explore page.

How to create Instagram Reels

You can create Reels in a few different ways. We’ll walk you through the most common way to create one – through the Instagram home screen. 

Step 1: Open the Reels camera and select your audio, length, speed, and effects. 

From the home screen, simply click the + icon to the top right and select Reel from the menu.

Once you’ve accessed the Reels camera screen, select your audio by clicking Audio. Then, select the length of your video by tapping Length.

Use Speed to change the speed of your video and Effects to apply effects to your clips. 

You also have the option of choosing how long you want your clips to be by clicking Timer. When you set a timer, there’s a countdown before the recording starts, so you can record hands-free.

Instagram Video Effects Options

Step 2: Record and edit your Reel.

When you’re ready, tap and hold the record button to record a clip. You can also upload videos from your camera roll by clicking + in the lower left corner.

Like TikTok, you can start and stop recording by tapping the record button to end a clip, and tapping it again to start a new clip.

Since Reels are intended for mobile viewing, make sure to use vertical video to fill the entire screen.

Once you’ve recorded your first clip, the Align icon will appear. Use this to create seamless transitions for moments like outfit or music changes.

Reorder, Trim, or Delete Options in Instagram Reels

You can reorder, trim, or delete any of your clips at any time, so don’t be afraid if you make a mistake!

Step 3: Make final touches, add a custom thumbnail, and publish your Reel.

Once you’re done recording and happy with the result, you can add a filter, stickers, and drawings by using the tools at the top of the screen.

Additional Options in Instagram Reels

Be sure to add closed captions to your videos, especially if you’re creating a video with voiceover or dialogue. This’ll make it easier for people who are watching without sound, and also for those who’re deaf or hard of hearing.

When you’re all done, add a custom thumbnail by tapping Cover. You can add a frame from your video or an image from your camera roll to keep your Instagram aesthetic in place.

That’s it! You can now share your video to your Reels tab. You can even add the video to your Stories. Read 5 tips to keep in mind when creating Instagram Stories.

How do I get Instagram Reels? 

You can find popular Reels under the Reels tab. 

If the tab is missing, check your app store for an Instagram app update. Sometimes Instagram comes out with new updates that need to be manually downloaded. Just search for Instagram in the app store, and tap Update.

If you don’t see any update, this feature might not be available in your country yet.

Instagram Reels vs TikTok

Instagram Reels is incredibly similar to TikTok. Both channels allow you to share videos with audio. But they also have some notable differences.

We’ll break down a few of them below! 

Video length

Both social media platforms started off with 15-second videos. Now, influencers can record videos up to 3 minutes on TikTok, and up to 60 seconds with Reels.


TikTok’s Sound Library is vast and includes a ton of sounds that are available to all users. 

Instagram also has a wide range of sounds available in its audio library, but it’s more limited than TikTok. You can get around this by uploading your own voiceover or sounds.

Video editing/effects

TikTok has a wide range of effects and filters for creators to use in their videos. And while Instagram has less variety of effects to add, they look more polished on videos. 

So if you want your video to look more professional, Reels is the way to go! 


Knowing how the algorithm works on TikTok and Instagram can really improve your odds of success!

TikTok’s system recommends content by ranking videos using a combination of factors. This includes your interest based on content you interact with. Learn more about the factors here

As for Instagram, they recently shared how they rank Reels.

Focusing on what might entertain people, Instagram ranks Reels using a number of signals. This includes: your activity, your history of interacting with the poster, and information about the Reel and poster. Read more here. 

User activity is the most important signal for recommending Reels. So responding to comments, DMs, and tags can help get your videos recommended to more people more often.

Instagram Reels vs Stories

There are also some key differences between Instagram Reels and Stories.

Let’s get to it!

Content placement

Reels can appear on your Reels feed, on the Instagram feed, and on the Explore page. They can also be shared as Stories.

Stories are only featured in one place at the top of the main feed. They can also be featured as Highlights on your profile.

Content format 

Reels are video only. Stories, on the other hand, can include videos, still images, written posts, and posts from the Instagram feed.


Reels stay in your Reels tab, profile, and feed unless you choose to delete them. Stories disappear after 24 hours if they’re not saved in your Highlights. 

Video length 

Reels are up to 60 seconds long, allowing creators to share a snippet or quick idea. A Story can only be up to 15 seconds long, but creators can share an unlimited amount to tell a longer, more detailed “Story”.

Video editing and effects

Reels offers the most editing options for users. This includes AR effects, audio editing, and video speed adjustment. You can also trim content for smoother transitions and set a timer or countdown.

For Stories, you have less editing options. But, you can access different layouts, camera options, and the Effect Gallery for a range of filters. 


Reels are based around music or audio. Creators can select an audio from the Instagram audio library, record their own, or feature someone else’s audio. 

With Stories, you’ll also have access to the audio library, although the audio feature is not as widely used in Stories as it is in Reels.


With Reels, you can add a full caption and up to 30 hashtags, just like you can with a regular Instagram post. On Stories, however, you can’t add a caption, and hashtags are limited to 10 per Story. Read more about the 100+ most popular hashtags on Instagram.

Instagram Reels dimensions

Instagram Reels are designed to be viewed vertically, full-screen, and on mobile. That’s why they’re displayed in 9:16 (1080 X 1920) dimensions, which is the exact same format as Stories. 

But when your Reel shows up on the feed, Instagram crops it to 4:5 dimensions (1080 X 1350). How can you work with that? You’ll want to make sure the main visual and any text is lined up and centered on the screen.

What about Reel thumbnails? It’s important to remember the top and bottom section of your thumbnail will be cropped if you decide to share your Reel as a post. This is because posts are displayed in 1:1 (1080 X 1080). 

The square thumbnail pulls from the center of the 9:16 full screen view. So, as a rule of thumb, you’ll want any text or important visual to be centered.

Instagram Reels length

Reels debuted with a maximum length of 15 seconds, then expanded to 30 seconds. This year, Instagram increased the maximum length to 60 seconds.

Final thoughts

That’s a wrap! 

The Instagram Reels feature is an incredibly fun way to entertain and engage people.

You can share them with your followers on the feed and on your profile. And if you have a public account, you can make them available to the wider Instagram community through the Reels tab and in the Explore page. 

Reels offer anyone the chance to become a creator and reach new audiences on a global scale!

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