Instagram Reels: What Are They & How Can Brands Use Them?

by | Last updated Jun 21, 2022 | Digital Marketing

Read Time: 6 min read

Summary: TL;DR: Instagram Reels, a new feature, allow users to create 15-30 second videos with effects and audio. Benefits include easy creation and sharing, seamless editing tools, and increased visibility on the Explore page. Marketers can leverage Reels for brand storytelling, product announcements, how-to guides, behind-the-scenes content, trend remakes, influencer partnerships, and user-generated content. Reels offer a platform for authentic engagement and growth, with opportunities for creative marketing strategies. By tapping into trending content and collaborating with influencers, brands can reach wider audiences and boost engagement on Instagram. Utilize Reels to showcase your brand's personality and connect with followers authentically.

In August 2020, Instagram announced its latest content feature, Instagram Reels, would finally be available globally. The new Instagram feature is generally considered to be Facebook’s attempt to compete with TikTok, but what exactly are Instagram Reels, and should they be included in your social media marketing strategy? Here’s what you need to know about Instagram Reels and how you can use them.

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What Is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is a feature on the Instagram platform that allows users to upload 15 to 30-second videos with custom audio, effects, and creative editing tools. Unlike IGTV, which Instagram launched in June 2018 for videos between 15 seconds and 60 minutes, Reels focuses on short-form content. The new native video feature makes it easy for users to consume short video clips without navigating to a different, competing app.


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Benefits of Instagram Reels

One of the best parts about Reels is that they’re easy to create and share. You can quickly create, edit, and share your videos with followers in just a few minutes, thanks to a few additions made by Instagram to ensure Reels is as intuitive as possible.

Creating a Reel Is Quick & Easy

When creating a Reel, users can either upload a previously recorded video or film a video on the app. Similar to TikTok, reels recorded on the app can be filmed in a series of clips by using the timer and countdown feature or the video can be filmed all at once. Content creators can use a variety of AR Effects while recording their videos, like those available when recording Instagram stories. An added benefit of filming within Reels is the Align feature that allows users to view an overlay of the last second of their previously recorded clip. This enables users to create seamless transitions between clips.

Edits Can Be Made Seamlessly

Once the video has been recorded or uploaded, users can add music from the Instagram music library without worrying about licensing. They can also record their own audio, select audio from previously recorded Reels by other users, or keep the audio from the original clip(s). Finally, users who edit Reels on Instagram can use transitions between clips, edit the speed of the video and audio selected, trim or delete clips, and add text and stickers. The tools available within Reels focus on usability, allowing any user to create quality creative videos.

Share Video Content with Followers & Through Explore

Instagram Reels can be shared on Instagram Stories or in the Instagram Feed. Reels are also featured in their own section on the account profile. However, the main emphasis of Reels is to discover new content and new users through the Explore page. Instagram users do not have to be following an account to stumble across a Reel, which is different from Stories and regular posts. Similar to the TikTok “For You Page,” Reels curates content for each user based on the content they interacted with in the past.

How to Use Instagram Reels for Social Media Marketing

Including Instagram Reels in your social media strategy is a simple way to grow your audience. The structure of Reels provides a platform for authentic growth and engagement since there’s currently no way to boost the videos through ads. There’s also no branded content tag, and the only “featured” videos are hand-picked by the company. Therefore, marketers are challenged to generate authentic engagement through content.

With typical video marketing, brands have the ability to get creative in how they appeal to their customers, but it’s important to understand the time and resources necessary for creating videos. On top of that, brands have to decide what type of content they’ll create to engage users. If you plan to use Instagram Reels for your brand, there are several different types of content trending on Reels that can enhance your Instagram marketing strategy. Here are some ideas to start incorporating into your current social media plan!

Brand Story Videos


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An entertaining brand video tells your business’ story in a captivating way. A brand story is a narrative that details the facts, feelings, and personality of your business. For example, in less than 30 seconds, an event planner could tell a story about the services they offer and parties they’ve worked on featuring videos they’ve captured over time.

New Product Announcements

New product videos are a great way to feature the latest additions to your store. These videos are a great opportunity to use some of the editing features, such as unique transitions and the align tool to seamlessly move from one product to another within the video timeframe.

Educational How-To Videos


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From cooking tutorials to quick workouts, brands have utilized Instagram Reels to make shortened how-to videos. The Sill, a subscription-based e-commerce plant store, publishes “how to” reels for the plant community on Instagram. Some of their most viewed videos show how to get rid of gnats, how to propagate different types of plants, and how to choose pet-friendly plants. Their content is relevant to their followers and a larger community on Instagram who may be interested in their services.

Behind-the-Scenes Moments

Repurpose outtakes from a recent podcast episode or funny moments from a recent photo shoot to create an exclusive behind-the-scenes Reel for your Instagram audience. This will engage your audience by bringing them along for the ride and showing how you made the final piece of content they love.


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The rise of social media videos has sparked numerous trends throughout the year. Recently, a trend popped up where people were setting lots of items in hallways and filming their cats navigating the obstacles. Beauty products retailer Sephora hopped onto the trend by filling a hallway with their products and unleashing two cats to navigate the makeup maze. The video ended up reaching over a million views.

TikTok Reposts

If your brand is already using TikTok, Instagram Reels may be another platform for the videos already created. While TikTok caters to users aged 16 to 24, Instagram appeals more to users between ages 25 and 34. Depending on your target demographics, both platforms may benefit your brand marketing.

Partner with Influencers


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Another way to use Instagram Reels is to partner with influencers. Influencer marketing can be beneficial for brands because it allows them to quickly build trust with an audience and increase brand awareness. Just look at influencers Denise Mercedes and Maria Castello, who partnered with ASOS in August to create reels that featured new products. Over the course of three months, ASOS published four reels with the duo, receiving over 11.2 million views. Mercedes and Castello also posted reels featuring ASOS clothing on their personal Instagram and TikTok accounts, creating an additional 12.8 million views for the brand.

User-Generated Content

Creating Instagram videos takes time and resources. However, sharing user-generated content is a great way to published high-quality videos without having to create them. Just make sure you ask users for permission first so that you don’t share content they’re not comfortable sharing with your brand’s audience.

Need help creating social media videos? Hurrdat can create and deploy a full social media strategy that’s designed to capture your audience’s attention. Learn more about our social media marketing services!

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