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Make an Instagram Reel in 3 Simple Steps

Published August 11, 2023

If you’ve spent any time on Instagram, you’ve surely seen the fun, short-form videos that seem to be taking over the platform. They are called Reels, Instagram’s answer to TikTok’s growing popularity. And as one of the promoted features, Reels receive plenty of traction, meaning that the perfect time to try them out is now.

But if you’ve never posted a Reel before, the whole process may be confusing, especially given the range of available options. Don’t worry, though — our guide on making Instagram Reels will help you master this feature in no time.

How to Make and Post an Instagram Reel

Step 1. Shoot Your Instagram Reel

Before you can post your first Instagram Reel, you need to shoot and edit it. Luckily, that’s quite easy to do with the in-app features Instagram offers.

To start, open the Instagram app on your phone and access the Reels screen. There are four ways to do that from your feed:

  1. Tap the video icon located in the bottom sidebar to open the Reels tab, allowing you to view an endless stream of recommended Reels. Then, select the camera icon in the upper right corner, and a new screen will open, allowing you to shoot your own Reel.
  2. Swipe right on your feed to access the camera menu and tap on the Reel option in the bottom sidebar.
  3. Tap the + icon at the bottom of your feed that allows you to make a new post. In the bottom sidebar of the new menu, select Reel.
  4. Select the Your Story option in the upper left corner of the feed and tap on the camera icon to access the new menu. Once again, choose the Reel option in the bottom sidebar.

Now that you’ve accessed the Reels screen, you can easily shoot your video by tapping the white circle in the bottom sidebar. When you click it, a timer will appear around the circle, showing how much longer you can shoot. Press the circle again to stop shooting at any point, then tap it once more to film a new clip. You can keep doing this until the 90-second time limit runs out.

Alternatively, you can tap the + icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the Reels screen to select clips from your camera roll that you’ve shot beforehand. Then, simply choose Next to proceed to the editing screen.

Step 2: Get Ready to Edit the Reel

Reels come with a built-in editor to make your video engaging, entertaining, and highly polished. If you want, you can still use a third-party app for your editing needs, but it’s not necessary. After all, Instagram puts various tools at your disposal to make a great Reel.

Here are some of the editing options you can apply before shooting your Reel:

  • Audio (the note icon) — search the music library for the perfect song to add to your Reel. Once you have it, choose the part you want to play and tap Done.
  • Effects (the sparkle icon) — choose among hundreds of effects to make your Reel stand out. You can also preview them and bookmark your favorites.
  • Length (the timer icon) — select how long you want your Reel to be. Currently, you can make 15, 30, 60, and 90-second videos.
  • Speed (the number icon) — choose whether you’d like your Reel to be sped up, in slow-motion, or normal.
  • Video layout (the divided square icon) — get creative when shooting multiple clips by arranging them one next to the other on the screen.
  • Timer (the clock icon) — add a countdown before you start shooting, allowing you to prepare and get in position when filming hands-free.

Even once you’re done shooting, a few options are available to further enhance your Reels. After going into the editing screen, you can:

  • Add text (the Aa icon)
  • Include stickers (the smiling sticker icon)
  • Draw (the doodle icon)
  • Edit and reorder clips(the Edit clips option in the bottom right corner)

When you finish editing, preview the final result and press Next.

Step 3: Post the Reel for Everyone to See

Though most of the job is done once you shoot and edit your Reel, there are still a few things to consider before posting it. In the New Reel menu that opens after you finish editing, you’ll see several options you should pay attention to.

First of all, you should select a cover picture by tapping the Edit cover option. That will take you to a new page where you can choose an image from your Reel timeline in the bottom sidebar or add a new one from your device. As the cover will be the first thing your viewers see before opening the Reel, we suggest you choose carefully. When you’ve made your selection, tap Done.

Directly under the Edit cover option, you’ll find space to write your caption that will be displayed at the bottom of your Reel. Type a brief description here and include appropriate hashtags to widen your reach.

You can also choose whether to share your Reel to Feed, tag anyone, add a location, or include products. If you tap Advanced settings, you can hide the like account, show auto-generated captions, and even allow others to use your audio and timing as a template for their own Reels.

Finally, tap Next to confirm your settings and then Share to publish your Reel. Alternatively, you can select Save Draft if you’re not ready to post it yet and want to keep editing at another time.

Get Creative With Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are a fun, creative way to express yourself and connect to your followers, and they aren’t too difficult to make either. What’s more, they are currently heavily promoted on Instagram and receive higher engagement than other types of content. So, if you’re looking to grow your audience, Reels are the way to go!

But as with most social media content, it might take a while to hit upon a successful formula. Still, you shouldn’t give up. As long as your Reels are original, innovative, and consistent, they’re bound to resonate with the right audience!

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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