If you’re on Instagram for either business or personal use then you’ll have no doubt seen Instagram Reels, the latest feature to be released to further Instagram’s offering of 15-second long visual content “reels” for businesses and personal users.

Launched in August, Reels have really taken off with users who want to showcase their visual content in a different way and have moved Instagram further into the sphere of video editing as well as imagery. Whilst it has been possible to upload video content to Feeds and Stories for a while, Reels give an extra element to the platform, giving TikTok another competitor to worry about as well as YouTube Shorts (launched September in India in Beta; see our post about it here: https://www.seriouslyhelpful.co.uk/does-tiktok-have-a-rival-in-youtube-shorts/).


  • Reels have the majority of features that you can use in Stories, but are limited to 15 seconds (or less)
  • Users can add music and effects, and also set a timer to get themselves ready in front of the camera before filming
  • They do not currently support hashtags
  • They are automatically shared to your grid
  • They are not time-sensitive like Stories, so will not disappear after 24 hours

Why use Reels?

The answer depends really on your purpose. For the personal user, Reels are simply another way to share content socially, and if you have a lot of Instagram followers this means you can share to them without having to go to another app like TikTok to create content.

If you are a business user, Reels can be used in the same way, but to share products, services and help to raise brand awareness through this platform. As there is no charge to use any of Instagram’s free services, any business using Instagram already would be wise to explore this new area for video marketing.

Whilst there are no dedicated Analytics available yet for Reels, we fully expect to see this over the coming year!


It’s not just celebrities and big brands using Reels, although the likes of have Zooey Deschanel, ASOS, Louis Vitton and Sephora have certainly invested time into it. Smaller businesses and influencers have also taken full advantage of this new way of marketing; for example, LadBible, who now share their content across Reels as well as their other channels.

Putting Reels to the test

If you’re on Instagram already or you think this could be a good platform to explore, then why not give Reels a spin. If you’re stuck for ideas, here’s how you could get started:

  • Reuse your own content to put it on this platform – if you have popular video content already on a platform like TikTok or YouTube then you can easily share it here with minimal effort. ASOS have already done this and gained 4.4 million views on their #stylenotsize
  • Sneak peeks – have a new product to unveil, or a new member of staff to introduce? Tease viewers with a short sneak peek (complete with text and audio as you wish) to encourage excitement up to the unveiling.
  • Product promotion – if you have a set of products to push, snap them all into a 15-second video, one after another. This is fully on-trend with how big retailers such as Nike, Sephora and New Look are pushing content.

Reels may just be another platform offering this type of output, but so far it has definitely been a success for many who can now share all of their content in one place. Are you a Reels user? Let us know in the comments!

Latest posts by Rebecca Sturgess (see all)