Instagram Reels: The TikTok Clone?

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Instagram Reels was finally released somewhere on August 5, 2020 and is now usable in (49 countries?). Reels is a feature of the Instagram app that allows you to watch and share videos that are synced to music. In this blog post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to get started using Instagram Reels.

What is Instagram Reels?

On August 5, 2020, Instagram released a new feature, Instagram Reels. Instagram itself says reels are a new way to create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.


Is it a copy?

But the fact is that it is not so new at all. Of course, it’s a new feature for Instagram. But the way to create the same kind of short-entertaining videos has been around since 2016 and has, especially after the corona outbreak, completely exploded both in the world. Of course, it’s TikTok we’re talking about. It’s not new that Instagram is copying features from other popular apps. In 2016, Instagram launched the Stories feature as basically what a straight copy of Snapchat that then grew in popularity at breakneck speed. But now Instagram has done it again. Copied features from another popular app, TikTok.

What’s the difference between Reels and Stories?

But aren’t entertaining short clips basically the same as Stories? is perhaps the question you are asking yourself. Yes, to some extent it may be similar to Stories. Both have a portrait format, have a maximum length of 15 seconds, can be decorated with text, emojis and the drawing tool, and can be published as an event.

But with the extra features you get in Reels, you can:

  • Pause your clip to continue later
  • May affect recording speed
  • Can add music to the background
  • You can also use audio from other people’s clips
  • Use a timer for when Reels starts recording

The features themselves may not sound so special. But those who have made TikTok so popular and that there are already many who use Reels, is what can be done with these features with a little creativity. Things that have trended on Tiktok and that will certainly also trend on Reels are for example:

  • Clothes change in one jump
  • Refurnishing by finger-clasping
  • Another person who magically shows up in the mirror when washing it

How do you watch Instagram Reels?

A further difference that has contributed to Tiktok becoming so popular and why probably reels will also work the trick, is that you do not look at them in a traditional way. Both the regular feed and Stories are something that we actively choose to follow and then it gets exposed to us. Reels are shown primarily in the discovery flow. Once you click in to then a video clip in Reels, just swipe up to see the next Reel. Not so different from the flow, you think? The big difference is that this feed shows videos that are trending right now and not videos from accounts you’ve chosen to follow. Since you see one trending video clip after another (i.e. videos that have been so good / funny that they become trendy) it is difficult to stop. Video after video continues to be swiped and the interesting material never ends.

In addition to the discovery flow, Reels is also shown just like Stories and saved as IGTV clips. That is, if the people you follow publish Reels as an event, these will appear as a Storie. But they will also be saved in their profile. Published Reels gets its own library with a Reels icon on the profile page that published Reels. Under the icon, all your published Reels will appear.

How to create videos in Reels?


With the launch of Reels, Instagram has remade something in the Camera feature for Stories. If you want to create a Reel, simply swide to the right to reach the camera mode hidden on the left. In portrait clip camera mode, you can now create everything from live video, events to these new Reels videos. You create a Reel in 4 easy steps.

1. Select settings for your movie clip

Before you start recording your clip, you can adjust some settings for your clip:

  • Any music you want to play (available only to creator or private accounts)
  • Look super fast or slow by adjusting the movie’s recording speed (a faster recording produces slow motion effect when it plays and a slower recording produces a faster clip).
  • Any filters you want to use to create visual effects
  • If you want to use a timer (smart function if no one else can shoot for you and you don’t want to hold your phone while recording)

2. Record your clip

You record your clip by holding the button. You can pause the recording by releasing the button and then starting to record again by pressing the button again.

3. Decorate the clip

When you’re done recording, click the arrow on the right to get to edit mode. Here you can decorate your clip with text, drawing tool and emojis, just like in Stories!

4. Share your Reel

When you’re happy with your clip, click the arrow on the right again. Before you publish the clip, add a suitable text and any hashtags you want to use. Then you just have to choose whether you want to publish it as an event (just like Stories), for the discovery flow, or a combination of both.

What to publish on Reels?

It must be remembered that it is the mix of creativity, along with possibly well-synced sounds that makes successful Reels and that it stands out from traditional Stories. If you’re unsure of what you can publish, a simple trick is to see what everyone else publishes for Reels or TikTok (content that goes on TikTok probably also goes on Reels) and see if there is any trend to catch on to.

How does Reels work if you have a public or private account?

Instagram Reels follows the privacy settings you have on your Instagram account. If you have a private account, only your followers will be able to see your Reels and other users will also not be able to use the audio from your published videos.

If you have a public account, you will also be able to choose to share your Reels for the discovery flow and/or as an event. As usual, your Reel will potentially also appear in other relevant places if you tagged your clip with a hashtag or used one of the available songs.

How can you as an entrepreneur use Reels?

You can use Reels as an entrepreneur. Reels becomes another way to reach more and new people. The only difference is that you don’t have access to the music that individuals and creators have. But maybe it doesn’t matter. With creativity you can get far! Given how quickly Stories became popular, we can be sure that Reels will also be a success. And you have to jump on the train early to draw the biggest benefit from this.

Examples of content suitable for entrepreneurs like Reels:

  • Educational content or how-to
  • Show off your product range in a creative way
  • Entertaining content that’s close to your audience

Happy reeling!

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