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How To Use Instagram Reels Effectively

by Vanessa Waithera
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If you’re still on the fence about whether to wade into the world of TikTok—or looking for an alternative as TikTok’s future remains uncertain—Instagram is begging for your creative energy.

The platform’s new Reels feature lets users record, edit and publish bite-sized videos that get added to a discoverable social feed. Videos can be up to 15 seconds long be layered with special effects, filters and separate audio tracks.

Here’s how to use it:

To create a reel, open the Instagram camera just like you would to use Stories, and select Reels on the bottom scroll bar. You’ll see the editing tools stacked on the left side of the screen. Use the record button to create your clip or series of clips (there’s a progress bar at the top of the screen to show how much of your 15 seconds you’ve used). Tap the arrow at the bottom when you’re ready to publish.

From there, you’ll have the option to write a caption, choose a cover image, add hashtags and share your video to Reels (if your account is public). Reels will appear on Explore and be stored on a tab on your profile page, similar to IGTV.

Another option for both public and private accounts is to post reels to your Feed—they’ll appear on your main grid and on the Reels tab. You can also choose to send your reel as a DM or post it to your Stories—both of which will treat your video like a regular Story that disappears after 24 hours.

To watch other users’ reels, tap the search icon on the main toolbar. Reels are featured at the top, and all you have to do is tap and scroll to cycle through the clips. From there, you can follow users and like, share and comment on reels directly.

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