Here’s What Instagram Reels Are & How To Make Them (You’re Welcome)

Bella Gerard
Here’s What Instagram Reels Are & How To Make Them (You’re Welcome)
Photo: Courtesy of Adobe. Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

Before you ask how to make Instagram Reels, you might first be asking, what are Instagram Reels? TBH, I was super confused when I first saw them on my Explore page, so don’t worry—you aren’t the only one with questions.

Instagram Reels, IG’s latest feature, is undoubtedly a response to the success of TikTok, in the same way Instagram Stories were created as a response to Snapchat. Reels are 15-second videos users can either create in the Instagram app, upload straight from their camera rolls or edit on other apps prior (I highly recommend InShot for any video editing novices!). Similarly to TikTok, Instagram Reels allow you to utilize popular music, fun text or effects and trending hashtags to give your videos some interest. Reels can be accessed by going to your Explore page and clicking on Reels, then swiping through for a never-ending stream of content. If you don’t see them just yet, try updating your Instagram app! The feature just rolled out in over 50 countries.

Right now, not all the people I follow have jumped on the Instagram Reels bandwagon (it’s still brand-new, after all), but I have a feeling the feature will gain popularity over time. When Instagram Stories first debuted, I remember scoffing at it, not understanding why I’d want to post in my feed and on Stories when I could also post to my Snapchat Story. Now, I post to my IG Stories roughly three to five times a day, sometimes more (sometimes a lot more, apologies to anyone who follows me).

Making Reels is actually a pretty easy process, and you can totally recycle content filmed for TikTok or other video apps, so you don’t necessarily need to carve out a chunk of extra time to get some footage. When you post your Reel, you have the option to either share it to your Instagram feed or keep it in your Reels-only feed. If you’re concerned with feed aesthetics, you might opt for the latter, but it’s already being rumored that Instagram Reels posted in-feed tend to perform better.

BTW, you can see Reels from all users, not just people you follow. If you make a good Reel, Instagram can select it to be Featured, which means it gets placed on everyone’s Explore page, thereby giving you tons of exposure. @Instagram, help a girl out, won’t you?!

As for the kinds of content you can post on Instagram Reels? It’s totally up to you. If you’re an influencer, you might use Reels to share fashion or beauty video content. If you’re an athlete or actor, maybe a ~highlight~ Reel of your best plays or scenes. I guarantee musicians will be doing 15-second Reel covers, and I’m praying some foodies upload quick and easy 15-second recipes I can bookmark for later! Will we see Reels dances rise to popularity in the same way our beloved TikTok dances have? Only time will tell.

Whether or not we want to admit it, Instagram could release pretty much any feature and, sooner or later, we’d hop on the bandwagon. And even if you aren’t excited about Instagram Reels just yet, I’d highly recommend making at least one this week, since Instagram is no doubt going to promote Reels content heavily over the next few days. If you don’t have video content, you can also use images to create more of a slideshow-like video, like I did with my first Reels attempt. It could be the key to raising your engagement or getting a ton of new followers—just saying, you heard it here first!

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