Instagram Reels- All that You Need to Know About the Tik Tok Competitor

Image source: Instagram blog

Earlier this month, Instagram launched a new feature, Reels. The feature allows you to create, edit and post videos up to 15 seconds long in the Instagram app. You can set your clip to music. Does this feature ring a bell? Right, it is similar to TikTok.  Reels is a nice alternative for people in the US to show off creativity. Here at Uniclix are preparing the app to allow you to schedule and post Reels soon!

In this post:

Then what is exactly Instagram Reels? How can you add them to your marketing mix? This post brings you all you need to know to get started with Instagram Reels. 

  1. What’s Instagram Reels
  2. Instagram vs TikTok
  3. What Can You Do With Reels
  4. How to Use Reel in Your Marketing Strategy
  5. What’s Next for IG Reels

What Is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is an additional feature in Instagram Camera. It allows you to create short fun video clips and content for Instagram. This feature is now available in 50 countries, including the United States. 

How it Works

You can record and edit together 15-second videos, and add music to them. Then you can share them to your Stories, Explore or the Reels tab on a user’s profile. In this, it works very similarly to TikTok. 

The Instagram version of the For You TikTok page is the Explore Feed. The difference is that instead of only seeing the Reels of people you follow, Instagram presents Reels from trending accounts. 

If you want to add a song that you like, just tap the music and select “Use Audio”. You can also see which other videos are using that audio for inspiration.


You have cool editing tools on the left side of your screen that help you add effects to your reel, including:

  • Audio:  you can choose a song from the Instagram music library and add it to your video. You can also record a reel with your original audio in the background. Your original audio will be attributed to you when you share the reel. Moreover, if you have a public account, your original audio will be available for other users to add to their reels. 
  • Effects: cool effects to have fun, including Green Screen, and Augmented Reality (AR) You can choose effects created by Instagram and creators from around the world. 
  • Speed: you can choose to speed or slow down parts of your video for an added effect. You can up the beat or make slow motion clips. 
  • Timer and Countdown: choose how long the video clip is, by setting the timer. This allows you to record the clips hands free. When you press record you’ll see a 3-2-1 countdown before recording. 
  • Align: when you create several clips you want to join, you can use this feature to make sure the device’s camera is aligned. This creates smooth transitions between videos. 

You can check this video tutorial on YouTube and learn how to use Instagram Reels  step by step 

Instagram Vs Tik Tok 

Reels is a direct response to the overwhelming popularity of Tik Tok. It is so popular  it has been downloaded over 2 billion times from the Google Play, and Apple Store. According to Adweek, the app had the record of the most downloads per quarter for any app. Instagram Reels, on the other hand, have to catch up a bit, since the number of users is half of TikTok’s.  Instagram now has over 1 billion active users, so it offers a large customer base for the app. 

Instagram’s audience is also older, with more than a third of the audience in the 34+ age range. Tik Tok is adding a more mature audience too. Now, the percentage of millennials using Tik Tok in the US increased to almost 30%, while the Gen-Z users dropped from 42% to 35.3%. This caught the attention of Facebook, which launched a Tik Tok alternative. 

Is Reels really the same as Tik Tok? Yes, and.. no. Here some similarities and differences between both apps:


  • Functionality- both apps let you create and share videos with followers and on the platform. 
  • Processes – both apps share very similar interfaces and the sharing and creating process. 


  • Time Difference – TikTok’s videos can be a maximum of 60 seconds. Reels videos, instead, can be up to 15 seconds. 
  • Choice of Music – this would be a big difference between both platforms. TikTok’s selection is much varied, and also Facebook is going to launch licensed music. So this can be something that marks a difference between both applications. 
  • Monetization-  Instagram lets influencers and creators earn payouts through sponsored posts and brand deals, although it doesn’t pay for content. TikTok, on the other hand, is going to pay top creators for their videos.
  • Duet-  Instagram doesn’t allow you to duet with each other as TikTok does. 

What Can You Do With Reels

Create Reels

  1. Download the latest version of Instagram app on Android or iOS and open the app. 
  2. Tap the camera icon in the top left corner or swipe right to open the camera. 
  3. Tap Reels
  4. Film your video (between 3-15 seconds) by tapping the record button.
  5. Choose the tools on the left of the screen, including audio, text or effects. 
  6. You can post the Reel on your Instagram page or Story. You can also save the Reel to your drafts and finish working on it later.  

Share Reels

You can share Reels with your followers. It is different if you have a Public or Private Account:

  • If your account is Public- You can share your reel with your followers by posting it to your Feed. You can also be discovered by posting your Reel to a space in Explore. The audio, hashtags or effects of your reel may appear on certain pages when someone clicks on that song, hashtag or effect. 
  • If your account is Private – Instagram keeps your privacy settings on Reels. When you share to your feed only your followers will see your Reel. They won’t be able to use the audio from your reels, or share with people that are not in your followers list. 

How to share a Reel:

  1. When you finish editing, move to the share screen.
  2. You can save a draft, change the cover image, add a caption and hashtags or tag people.
  3. You can share your Story or in a direct message whether your account is public or private.  

Watch Other People’s Reels

You can discover interesting Reels in Instagram Explore. The feed is customized for you. When you see a Reel that you love, like it, comment or share it. 

Some Reels have a “Featured” label. You’ll be notified if your reel is featured in Explore. 

Add Existing Videos to your Instagram Reels

Do you want to turn your favorite video into a Reel? Here’s how: 

  1. Open Instagram.
  2. Swipe right to open the camera.
  3. Tap Reels.
  4. Swipe up. This will pull down your camera roll.
  5. Select the video from the list. 
  6. Edit the video. You can trim, add audio, text or other effects. 
  7. Now you can Post the video in your Instagram page, your Story, or save the draft for later. 

Cool Features for Your Videos

Instagram’s Twitter is full of tips on how to use Reels’ features. Let’s check out some:

  1. Use the Green Screen – On Reels, tap the Effects button on the left side panel. Scroll left in the effects reel until you find the Green Screen icon. 

Choose Add Media. There you can select the background you want, have fun!. You can learn how to do it in this tutorial

  1. How To Use Align and Transition Features – Choose the Align tool to ensure your device’s camera is in the same position before recording the next clip. You can choose how long the clip will be. Tap the Timer icon and then hit Record to start  recording your clip. Choose different lengths until you fill the 15 seconds of the total clip. Then tap the Align tool. You can check more in this Twitter video

  1. AR Effects: Tap the Effects icon on the left side panel. Scroll left until you find Browse Effects. There you can scroll down until you find the AR effect you like. Tap Try it in the left down corner. Get crazy trying as many effects you can!. Check how to do it in this short clip

How to Use Reels in Your Marketing Strategy

IG Reels offers companies the opportunity to build a community and grow your reach. You can use it to share fun and viral video snippets with your followers. Your user engagement can grow. Companies such as Louis Vuitton and LA Lakers are seeing an increase in engagement and views since they started posting Reels. If you are using Instagram for business, it can be worth trying Instagram Reels. Here are some ideas to use Instagram Reels in your marketing strategy:

#1: Create Content that Connects with Your Audience

Reels is meant for fast-paced, spontaneous, natural, and fun content. With the special effects, you can make content that entertains, and catch the attention of your audience. The spontaneity of Reels, allow companies to show a natural side, which makes followers connect with your company personality. 

There are a couple added benefits of adding Reels to your marketing strategy. First, you increase the engagement with your followers. Second, you can actually grow your audience. Your Reels will appear on Instagram users Explore Feed and then you’ll see your followers’ ranks increase. 

#2: Teach Them Something

Posting How-Tos and tutorials is a great way to attract the attention of new followers. Give followers tips, share recipes, teach them how to style a white T-shirt. Whatever is relevant for your business, find a way to post educational content and see how your followers respond.

#3: Use it to Showcase Products

.Since your reels will be shared on the Explore page, users that don’t yet follow you will see you. Use your Instagram Reels to showcase new products, new styles, and season offers. 

 Companies like Sephora France are mastering Instagram Reels. In one of their Reels, they are showing how to use the new Dior lipstick colors.


#4: Add Product Reviews or Case Studies. 

Take advantage of the natural tone of Reels by adding product reviews. If you sell a physical product, have someone, preferably an influencer, to film a quick review of your product. The effects and music will make it entertaining. In addition, you can ask your followers for reviews and post user-generated content. 

If you sell a service, present case studies. You can make your own video by editing a slide deck. Since the clips are short, keep it simple and focus on the results of the case. 

#5.: Repurpose Existing Content. 

You don’t need to create new content specially for Reels. Pull up existing videos, slides, ads, and repurpose them into Reels-friendly posts. You can mix video and images to showcase a collection, add music, some effects, and voila! You have a Reel that’s sure to catch the attention of your followers. 

# 6: Backstage Content

The backstage of photo sessions, for example, is a very popular format to show your products in a natural way. Fashion companies can show a behind-the-scenes of creating a collection. This shows an everyday side to the user that can identify and connect with your brand. This increases trust when they see how your company actually works every day. 

#7:Tell Your Company Story

 Use Reels to tell your company story in a short and funny way. Adding music and effects can make your tale alive. Include old photos and videos of when you started, and where you are today. This is the type of content that relates in a personal way. Everybody likes a struggle and success story. 

Just like every marketing strategy, it’s a matter of try it and see. Start small, test a type of content at a time and check the metrics. This can allow you to refine your strategy and know what your audience prefers. Keep doing it until you got a clear picture, then go over your strategy, invest in what works and modify what doesn’t. Just everyday marketing.

Don’t forget to promote your Reels in your website and other social channels. 

What’s Next?

Although already available in more than 50 countries, IG Reels is still fresh. So, what can we expect from Reels along the way? If we take the case of IG Stories as an example, there is a huge demand for short, interesting video user-generated content. If we follow the example of TikTok, everyone wants their 15 seconds of fame. Therefore, it is a good idea to ride the early wave of IG Reels while competition is still manageable. 

Many companies and influencers are already using Reels to promote products and services, and it is only the start!. Brands will take the opportunity and create branded reels. The space for brands and companies will grow, and it will be a way to promote new products and offers.

Whatever your business, it’s time to add IG Reels to your marketing strategy.  Stay in touch and soon with UniclixApp you’ll be able to win at the Reels game by scheduling and posting your content at the best time to engage your audience.  

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