The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Reels: Mastering the Art of Short-Form Video in 2024

Since its launch in 2020, Instagram Reels have become an important feature for those anyone who wants to grow their social media presence – and specifically gain more attention on Instagram through likes, followers, and overall engagement. 

Instagram Reels allow businesses and creators to craft brief, compelling videos that really talk to the viewers and encourage interactions. These Instagram videos go further than just simple images. They allow creators to build a much closer relationship with their followers

As countless users browse their Instagram feeds each day, knowing how to master and make the most of Reels can notably increase your visibility and impact on the platform. So, why wouldn’t you want to use the most effective strategies – to maximize the impact of the time and effort you spend on creating these Instagram videos?

If you’re not convinced yet, the effectiveness of Instagram Reels is highlighted by some striking statistics: 

  • Reels outperform all other Instagram content types with the highest reach and impressions. 
  • Reels increase engagement by 200% compared to simple image posts.
  • Smaller accounts benefit the most, with Reels reaching an astonishing 892% of their audience. 

As you can see, this makes Reels the top choice for boosting visibility and engagement on Instagram. You’ll really want to invest in making great video content if you want to get Instagram followers and engagement. We’ll show you how! 

What are Instagram Reels?

Table of Contents

Let’s go into a bit more detail: Instagram Reels is a feature that allows users to create and share videos ranging from 15 to 60 seconds. These multi-clip Instagram videos can include audio, effects, and other creative tools. 

You can share Reels with your Instagram followers directly on your Feed or, if your account is public, with a broader audience through a dedicated space in Explore. Reels are designed for quick and enjoyable creation. They have the potential to reach global audiences. The great thing is that they give anyone (with enough commitment) the opportunity to shine as a creator.

A big feature that distinguishes Instagram Reels from other video options like Instagram Stories or regular posts is their format and purpose. Unlike Stories, which vanish after 24 hours unless archived, Reels remain readily accessible on a special tab in your profile. This means that Instagram has become an even bigger competitor of TikTok.

These short-form videos that are not only enjoyable but also accessible to a wider audience.

Instagram Reels offer some big advantages, especially if you are a business owner or creator:

  • Increased Exposure: Reels feature prominently on Instagram’s Explore page. They are visited by over half of the Instagram accounts monthly. This exposure can significantly expand your reach and increase your follower base.
  • Enhanced Engagement: Reels allow for the inclusion of popular music, creative edits, and interactive elements. This engages viewers more effectively than standard posts.
  • Brand Personality Showcase: Instagram Reels provide an excellent platform to convey your brand identity in a way that feels genuine and relatable. They create stronger connections with your audience.
  • Market Expansion: By incorporating trending sounds and visual effects, creators can align with global trends and make their content appealing to a broad audience.

Creating Instagram Reels

Now that you’re aware of just how big a role Instagram Reels can play in engaging your audience and increasing your visibility, let’s talk about how to create them. 

In the following section, we will guide you through crafting your first Reel, complete with advice to help make sure that it connects well with both your followers and others.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Create Reels within the Instagram App

1. Access the Reels Camera

  • Open Instagram: Start by launching the Instagram app on your device.
  • Navigate to Reels: Tap the “+” sign at the bottom of the screen and select “Reel” from the menu. This opens the Reels camera.
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2. Record and Upload Clips

  • Record a New Reel: Press and hold the capture button. You can record multiple clips together or upload them from your gallery.
  • Upload from Gallery: Swipe up on the screen or tap the gallery icon to choose videos previously recorded.

3. Use Editing Tools and Features

  • Text: Add text overlays to your clips. You can adjust the font, color, and position.
  • Draw: Use the drawing tool to add creativity with hand-drawn elements.
  • Stickers: Enhance your Reel with stickers like GIFs, time, weather, and more.
  • AR Effects: Select from various Augmented Reality effects to add unique visuals.
  • Filters: Swipe left to choose from different video filters.
  • Audio: Add music from Instagram’s music library or use your own original audio.

4. Add Captions, Hashtags, and Tags

  • Captions: Write a caption that reflects your Reel. Captions are vital as they can be searchable.
  • Hashtags: Use relevant hashtags to increase the discoverability of your Reel.
  • Tags: Tag relevant accounts, especially if you’re collaborating or featuring a product.

5. Share Your Reels on Instagram and Other Platforms

  • Share on Feed: Choose to share your Reel to your feed so your followers can easily see it.
  • Share to Stories or Direct Messages: You can also share Reels to your Stories, which lasts for 24 hours, or send it directly to friends or groups.
  • External Sharing: Use the link to your Reel for sharing on other social media platforms.

Tips for Creating Engaging and High-Quality Reels Content

Here’s one of the main secrets to being successful with your Reels: Establish a theme or niche that aligns with your brand or personal style and stick to it to build a dedicated audience. For example, @thebentist, a dentist, uses Reels for dental health tips mixed with humor.

This helps your audience know what kind of content to expect from your account. This makes it more likely for the right audience to find you and follow you. 

Keep an eye on current trends and incorporate trending audio that fits your niche. This not only keeps your content fresh but also increases your chances of appearing on the Explore page.

Collaborate with Other Creators

Collaboration broadens your reach. Tagging other creators can help you tap into their audience and vice versa. For instance, chefs often collaborate on cooking challenges or recipe exchanges.

Include Clear Calls-to-Action (CTAs)

End your Reels with a direct CTA, such as “Follow for more tips,” or “Swipe up to learn more,” to encourage viewer interaction and engagement.

By following these steps and tips, you can create Instagram Reels that are not only visually appealing but also strategically positioned to capture the attention of your target audience.

Understanding the Instagram Reels Algorithm

The Instagram Reels algorithm actively wants to present new and captivating content that aligns with user preferences. Understanding the elements that affect the visibility and success of your Reels is important to unlocking their full potential for wider reach and greater impact.

Factors That Influence Reels Visibility and Performance

Relationships and Engagement

  • Past Interactions: If users have interacted with your previous posts or Reels, they are more likely to see your new uploads. Consistent interaction from users indicates to Instagram that your content holds value. This can increase its visibility.
  • Immediate Engagement: When your Reel quickly gathers Instagram likes, Instagram comments, Instagram shares, and Instagram views, it is more likely to be promoted by Instagram. Rapid engagement suggests your content is engaging.

Relevance and Timeliness

  • Fresh Content: Instagram prioritizes recent uploads, so consistently posting Reels helps keep your content visible.
  • Tailored Content: Instagram customizes Reels suggestions based on a user’s past activities and interactions so that they see content that aligns with their interests.
  • Trending Participation: Engaging with viral trends or using popular sounds can play a big role in enhancing your Reel’s visibility.
  • Wide Appeal: Reels that connect with a broad audience typically perform betterand capture interest from various viewers.

Best Practices for Optimizing Reels for the Algorithm

Using Relevant Keywords and Hashtags for Instagram

When creating captions or including dialogue in your Reels, make sure to incorporate relevant keywords. Why? It can help Instagram better understand and showcase your content. 

Similarly, hashtags boost your visibility. Mixing popular and specific hashtags, like #DIYbeauty or #homeworkouts, helps target various user groups.

Including On-Screen Captions for Accessibility

Adding text overlays on your Reels makes them accessible to more viewers (that includes those who might be watching without sound). These captions help these viewers understand your content and can engage your audience for longer periods. For greater inclusivity, you might also consider visual cues or sign language.

Avoiding Low-Quality or Recycled Content

Strive for originality. Instagram’s algorithm is less favorable to content that is blurry, has visible marks from other platforms, or is excessively repetitive. High-quality videos with clear visuals and sound are very important. Better quality not only maintains viewer interest but also increases the chances of your Reels being promoted.

By following these practices, you’ll improve your Reels’ alignment with Instagram’s algorithm, enhancing their visibility and interaction rates. The aim is to produce content that not only meets algorithmic criteria but also truly resonates with and entertains your audience.

Scheduling and Analyzing Instagram Reels

Managing when you post your Reels and carefully analyzing their success can significantly improve your content strategy on Instagram. By choosing the best times to share your posts and closely monitoring their effects, you are set up to boost engagement and shape your strategy – all by using reliable data.

How to Schedule Reels Using Third-Party Tools like Later and Hootsuite

Now, let’s talk about how you can schedule Reels (so you don’t have to post by yourself every single day). There are some great tools that can help you achieve this: 

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Using Later

Upload your Reel by dragging and dropping the video file into the media library.

Schedule your Reel by selecting the video, adding a caption, and setting the time and date for posting. Due to Instagram’s API limitations, Later will prompt you to manually post your Reel.

Using Hootsuite

Make sure your Instagram business profile is connected to Hootsuite.

Upload your Reel and write your message, then set the schedule. Like with Later, Hootsuite will notify you when it’s time to post, as direct scheduling of Reels is not supported.

Best Times to Post Reels for Maximum Engagement

  • Analyze Your Audience: Determine when your audience is most active. A lot of times the mid-morning and evening on weekdays are prime times.
  • Experimentation: Try posting at different times to find what resonates best with your followers. This is called A/B testing. Monitor engagement trends and then adjust your strategy as needed.
  • Consistency: Maintain a regular posting schedule during these optimal times to help your audience anticipate and engage more with your content.

Using Instagram Reels Insights and Analytics to Track Performance

Individual Reel Insights:

  • Instagram Views, Instagram Likes, and Instagram Comments: Keep track of how many people have viewed, liked, and commented on each Reel.
  • Shares and Saves: A high number of shares and saves suggest your content is striking a chord with viewers.

Overall Performance in the Instagram Insights Tab:

  • Reach and Engagement: Observe the extent of your Reels’ reach and the engagement they accumulate over time.
  • Interaction Trends: Note variations in interactions based on the type of content, timing of posts, and other factors.

Using Third-Party Analytics Tools:

  • Platforms like Iconosquare and Sprout Social: These tools offer detailed analytics, such as audience demographics, engagement rates, and ideal times for posting.
  • Comparative Analysis: Use these tools to assess how Reels perform in comparison to other content types like Stories and regular posts.

A good thing to keep in mind is that success on social media involves continuously adapting to your audience’s preferences and the changing algorithms of the platform.

Monetizing Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels not only enhances your visibility and engagement, it also opens several pathways for monetization. Yes, that’s right. You can make money with your Instagram account and your Instagram Reels. Here are some ways how you can make it happen:

Instagram Reels Play Bonus Program and Eligibility

This initiative compensates creators who produce compelling Reels that achieve high view counts. Payments are calculated based on the performance of eligible Reels.

To be eligible, creators must be part of the Instagram Partner Program and fulfill certain criteria, such as specific location, follower count, and engagement levels. You can check your eligibility in the Professional Dashboard under the “Bonuses” section.

Branded Content and Sponsored Reels

When partnering with brands, fashion influencers can spotlight a clothing line through sponsored Reels. Just make sure to mark these with a “Paid Partnership” tag to keep things clear with your audience. 

Creating Engaging Sponsored Content

The secret to sponsored content is keeping it true to your style — this keeps your authenticity intact and maintains your followers’ trust.

Affiliate Marketing and Product Promotions

Reels also offer a fantastic platform for affiliate marketing. You can add product promotions subtly by embedding affiliate links in your captions or pointing your audience to clickable links in your bio. Show off how products work or share your personal experiences to make the promotion more engaging and real.

Product Showcases

Product showcases on Reels are perfect for demonstrating how a product is used. Draw in your audience with clear, enticing calls to action that encourage them to click through to your product pages.

Driving Traffic to Your Website or Online Store

Don’t forget about driving traffic to your website or online store. Keep a link in your bio that leads to a well-optimized landing page. Keep this link fresh and up-to-date to guide your followers smoothly to where they can make a purchase.

Interactive Features

While you’re at it, sprinkle in some direct calls to action like “Swipe up for more,” or “Check out the link in our bio”. This not only moves traffic from Instagram to your website but also spices up the interaction. It makes the journey from browsing to buying a little more fun.  

As you can see, there are many ways to take advantage of Instagram for money-making purposes. Just see what works for you and stay true to your brand and your followers in the meantime. 

Instagram Reels for Business

Instagram Reels aren’t just a playground for influencers and small creators. They also provide a lively platform for businesses. Here, they can directly engage creatively with their audience. Through well-designed Reels, companies can highlight their products, share insights, and enhance their brand identity. Let’s take a look at a few very successful brands – and what they’re doing right!

Examples of Successful Brands on Instagram (And How They Use Reels)


Sephora really knows how to grab our attention on Instagram! They roll out colorful makeup tutorials, exciting product launches, and super handy beauty tips. Plus, they often team up with influencers and celebrities (like Rihanna, Pamela Anderson, or Tyla), which means more eyes on their posts. 

This smart move has bumped up their engagement levels over the last few years. More people clicking, more buzz around their products, and yes — more sales. 

It’s like a spotlight that keeps shining brighter on their coolest items, drawing more fans to their website. Sephora has turned their Reels into a beauty lover’s go-to spot, which makes every release a mini event. They know how to keep their audience excited and hungry for more content.


Now, Nike takes a different but equally awesome approach. Their Reels are all about inspiration. You’ll find powerful stories of athletes who push the limits and show off what it means to just do it. 

Each clip not only shows Nike gear in action but also tells a story of perseverance and victory. This is about linking advertising with building a genuine connection with everyone who aspires to be their best. 

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It works wonders for strengthening their image as a motivational brand and makes their fitness-focused fans feel right at home. It’s like each Reel cheers you on and makes you want to get up and move (in your Nike shoes, ideally)!

Ideas for Creating Reels Content That Aligns with Your Brand and Niche

Now, we’ll throw in some ideas so you can get a head start on what content you can create:

Behind-the-Scenes Content

  • Purpose: Adds a personal touch to your brand. Makes it more relatable and transparent.
  • Implementation: Share clips from your manufacturing process, daily office activities, or team relaxation times. For example, a coffee shop might post about morning setups or barista training.

Product Demonstrations and Tutorials

  • Purpose: Directly displays the uses and advantages of your products.
  • Implementation: Produce detailed tutorials on how to use your products or highlight their unique features. A skincare brand might demonstrate the proper application of a face serum.

User-Generated Content and Customer Spotlights

  • Purpose: Increases trust and community by featuring real customers.
  • Implementation: Encourage customers to create their own Reels with your products and highlight these on your profile. A fashion brand, for instance, could showcase how different customers style their apparel.

Of course, there are many more types of content that you can create. Just get started and see what ideas land well with your audience. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Instagram Reels

Still got questions about Instagram reels? Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

How Long Can Instagram Reels Be?

Instagram Reels can last up to 90 seconds. This duration gives creators enough time to produce content that is both engaging and creative – no matter if it’s a brief highlight or an in-depth tutorial.

Can You See Who Views Your Reels on Instagram?

Instagram does not disclose who views your Reels. You can see the total number of views a Reel has garnered, but the identity of the viewers remains unknown.

How to Download Instagram Reels?

You can save any Reel within Instagram by tapping the “Save” icon located below the post. This action places the Reel into the “Saved” section of your profile.

This allows you to view it anytime. If you need to download Reels directly to your device, several third-party applications are available. 

Of course, it’s important to select reputable apps for this purpose and to always adhere to copyright rules to respect the original content creators.

Can You Schedule Instagram Reels?

While Instagram itself does not currently support the direct scheduling of Reels, you can organize and plan your Reels posts using third-party tools such as Later and Hootsuite. 

These tools allow you to prepare your posts ahead of time and set reminders to post them, which can help maintain a consistent content delivery schedule.

How to Add Captions and Subtitles to Instagram Reels?

Instagram offers an auto-caption feature that can automatically generate captions for the speech in your Reels, enhancing accessibility and engagement. Alternatively, if you prefer more control over the appearance and timing of your text, you can manually add captions or subtitles during the editing phase by inserting text overlays directly onto your Reels.

To discover trending audio, you can browse through the Reels section on Instagram, where you’ll often find tracks that are currently popular among creators. For hashtags, utilize Instagram’s explore feature to identify what’s trending. 

Can You Earn Money from Instagram Reels?

Instagram offers several ways for creators to monetize their Reels. The Reels Play Bonus Program is one such initiative, where creators can earn money based on the performance of their content. 

Additionally, sponsorships and collaborations with brands provide another way for monetization. They allow creators to produce branded content and partner with companies to expand their income sources.

How to Share Reels on Instagram Stories and Other Platforms?

To share a Reel to your Instagram Story, simply click the “paper airplane” button beneath the Reel and select “Add reel to your story”. This method extends the reach of your Reels beyond just those who visit your profile. 

If you wish to share Reels on platforms outside of Instagram, you can use the share link provided in the options of each Reel or directly share the Reel’s URL from your browser. This flexibility helps to maximize your content’s exposure across different social media platforms.

Transform Your Instagram Presence Through Instagram Reels

It’s probably clear to you now that anyone who wants to boost their presence on Instagram would benefit from knowing how to create great Reels. Effective use of Reels can dramatically increase both engagement and reach.

Recap of the Best Practices for Instagram Reels and Instagram Growth

  • Engage and Captivate: Use Reels to tell engaging stories or highlight your products or skills creatively.
  • Optimize for the Algorithm: Increase your visibility by using trending audio and relevant hashtags, and by creating content that strikes a chord with your audience.
  • Monetize Your Efforts: Look into monetizing your content through the Reels Play Bonus program, brand partnerships, and affiliate marketing.
  • Analyze and Adapt: Regularly use Instagram Insights and other analytics tools to track your Reels’ performance and tweak your approach as needed.

Instagram continuously updates and adds new features that keep the platform fresh. That’s why staying current with these updates and the new and rising trends is essential for staying ahead. You can always do your own research or stay in touch with other creators to swap tips. Of course, you’ll also want to stay tuned to updates directly from Instagram.

Each audience is different, and flexibility is key. Try out various Reels formats, from how-to guides and backstage peeks to comedic sketches, to see what your followers like best. Use your creativity and be open to new ideas — often, the most unique concepts are the most successful.

By including Instagram Reels into your social media strategy and staying adaptable to the digital environment, you can create deeper connections with your audience, gain Instagram followers, and achieve your business and creative objectives. 

Using Instagram Reels is a process of continuous exploration and interaction — the more you experiment and engage, the more you will grow.

We’d love to hear how you’re using Instagram Reels! Share your own strategies and tips in the comments below, and let’s learn from each other’s successes and challenges.And if you’re interested in learning more about the most up-to-date effective strategies to get likes on Instagram, get Instagram followers, and grow your online presence overall, then check out our other blog posts where we discuss many more topics, tips, and strategies.