What Is Instagram Reels and Can It Compete With TikTok?


Are you already sharing photos and videos on Instagram? If so, you should check out Instagram Reels. And as Reels is integrated into Instagram, you don’t even need to download a new app to do so.

In this article, we explain what Instagram Reels is, offer a few tips to help you get started, and explore whether Instagram Reels can compete with TikTok.

What Is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is Instagram’s attempt to take on the behemoth that is TikTok. Reels gives you a new option for Instagram’s camera. You can now record and edit short videos of up to 15 seconds. On top of that, you can add Instagram’s music and effects to your new reel.

For those familiar with TikTok, you can see the obvious similarities. For those unfamiliar, get up to speed by reading our article explaining what TikTok is and how it works

What Is TikTok and How Does It Work?

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How to Start Using Instagram Reels

Since Instagram Reels isn’t a separate download like other apps, getting to it is quite easy. After opening the Instagram app, there are two easy ways to access Reels.

  • In the top-left corner, tap on the Camera icon.
  • Press the Your Story icon.
  • Swipe right from anywhere in your feed. Press Camera at the bottom.

Any of these options will bring up Instagram’s camera. Now, look at the bottom of your screen for the Reels text. Swipe right to highlight the Reels text and bring up its interface.

Setting Up for Your Video

Since Reels comes with regular Instagram, anyone who has posted a story or hosted an Instagram live stream should recognize at least part of the interface. The top three buttons (settings, flashlight, exit) and the camera view button in the bottom right function as usual.

Prior to recording anything, there are a few options available via the tool menu on the left. These let you do the following:

  • The musical note lets you search, look at recommended music, and browse categories to include in your video. You can include what part of the song to play (with a lyric overlay to help you choose).
  • A speed button allows you to slow down or speed up your reel. This impacts both the video and audio.
  • The smiley face offers different camera effects. You can scroll through the list to find your most desired.
  • Finally, a stopwatch lets you set the duration of your next clip. When you press the Reel’s record button (which resembles a clapperboard), you’ll see a countdown indicating it’s in effect.

After you record your first Reels clip, you’ll also see an align button. This lets you use a transparent photo of your last clip to help you align before the next recording. Once you’re familiar with these, you can start recording your video.

Recording Your Instagram Reels Video

Once you’re comfortable with the tool selection, it’s time to record your first Instagram Reels video. Simply tap the Reels button at the center of your screen to begin recording.

If you tap and hold, the clip will cease recording once you lift your finger. If you just tap, Reels will record until you tap again.

Just remember that you don’t have to record all 15 seconds at once. The progress bar at the top of your screen shows how far you ar towards the 15-second duration. You can always shoot short clips and use the align tool to help splice it together.

In addition, you can also pull any pre-recorded video from your phone’s gallery in the bottom left and use it. If it’s over 15 seconds, you’ll have to trim it to fit.

Editing Your Instagram Reels Video

Once you have recorded a clip, it’s time to begin editing your footage. The first thing you’ll notice is a left and right arrow icon appears around the Reels recording button. Both offer different editing options and function best at different stages of recording.

Trim, Watch, or Delete Edits

If you tap the left button, you get access to more in-process edits. Here you can preview, trim, or delete the last clip you recorded. If you clip the scissors icon, you’ll bring up to the option to trim.

At the bottom of the next screen, there’s a bar that’s capable of adjusting the entire clip’s duration. As you adjust the bar, the preview video playing on this screen will update. Tap Trim in the upper right to update your clip’s duration.

If you really don’t like your particular clip, you can click the trash can button. You’ll then get a warning prompt about discarding the clip. If you do go ahead with the discard, Reels sends you back to the recording screen.

Add Text, Drawings, or Stickers to Your Reel

Once you tap right, a preview video will automatically start playing. Now you can make any final additions to your video before posting. If you tap the sticker button, you can either search through Instagram’s stickers or choose from the default options. They can then position them with your finger.

The drawing and font icons act similarly as well, so choose your favorite style preset and add them in. There’s also a download button where you can save your video either before and/or after any edits on this screen.

Posting Your Instagram Reels Video

After you’ve finished any final edits, tap the right arrow again. Before sharing your reel to Instagram, there are a few options to explore. You can adjust your cover image by tapping on the previewed image. Then simply choose a frame from your video to update the preview or add an image from your gallery.

If you want to add a small caption you can, and you can also choose whether or not to share your reel to your Instagram feed. If you choose to save your reel as a draft, you can access it later from the Reels tab on your profile.

Finally, you can click share, watch the upload, and start sharing your reels with everyone.

Can Instagram Reels Compete With TikTok?

Instagram Reels already possesses a strong feature list at launch, so there’s no reason to deal with the downsides of TikTok. As such, the short answer is yes, but we’ll give you two major reasons below to use Instagram Reels over TikTok.

1. Security Concerns

As with all social media apps, there’s always a question of privacy and security. However, with TikTok, it’s proven to be a big issue. Check out why it’s time to uninstall TikTok if you value your privacy

Time to Uninstall: TikTok Is a Huge Privacy Risk

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2. Music Selection

Another reason why Instagram Reels can compete with TikTok is the music selection on offer. Instagram Reels puts major artists’ music at your fingertips. Which gives you another way to grab your audience’s attention.

Explore Instagram Reels and Ditch TikTok

TikTok is coming under fire from a number of angles, including the US Government. And while Reels isn’t the only competition (there’s also Byte, which is Vine v2

What Is Byte and How Do I Use It?

Whether you’re a Vine veteran or just curious about Byte, in this article we’ll explain what Byte is and how to start using it.
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), it stands the best chance of replicating the success of TikTok.

Instagram Reels offers a powerful way to connect with others. Whatever way you want to use it, its integration into Instagram makes it easy to get started with Reels.

And if you want to learn about another useful Instagram feature, here’s how to schedule posts on Instagram

How to Schedule Posts on Instagram

To schedule posts on Instagram, you have to jump through a few hoops. Here’s how to schedule posts on Instagram.
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