Instagram Reels: The Beginners Ultimate Guide for Creators

Feb 13, 2024 8:34:15 AM | Instagram Instagram Reels: The Beginners Ultimate Guide for Creators

Want to know how you can take advantage of Instagram Reels? Read our ultimate guide to learn more.

Despite being four years since its debut, Instagram reels will be here to stay in the coming years. More and more celebrities and influencers use it to reach potential followers and fans worldwide.

But what makes these Reels special? And how can you use it to gain more followers and boost brand awareness and video marketing?

In this ultimate post, we'll walk you through our step-by-step guide on everything Reels-related, including the best Reels-making tool to help you create Reels like a pro.



Are your REELS plateauing at 200 views? 📉
Elevate your content with Lift's premium pre-made templates for Reels. Download now and watch your view count soar today.


What are Instagram Reels?

what are reels

Instagram Reels are videos from your followers and other content creators and brands you find on the Instagram app. Their lengths vary depending on where you record them.

If you record reels through the Instagram app, they can last up to 90 seconds. That's enough time to capture the attention spans of your followers. Instagram Reels don't automatically disappear from your page after a day. Instead, your followers can still view it until you decide to take it down.

On top of this, reels are now more favored than your stories by the Instagram algorithm. That means more viewers will likely engage with your reel and follow your brand.

Another great thing about Instagram reels is their endless possible designs. Instagram's comprehensive editing tools will allow you to insert multiple video clips or add filters, texts, and stickers. You'll also catch a library full of viral audio tracks. 

How to Create Reels Like a Pro

how to make reels

There are tons of ways to create entertaining reels for your Instagram account. You can edit them directly through your Instagram app or other mobile video editors.

Each method has its unique strengths and weaknesses.

If you're using Instagram, you can take advantage of its comprehensive editing tools. You can add filters, stickers, and audio. You can also choose a grid layout for your video.

However, there are limitations to editing on the Instagram app.

That's why some content creators and brands use third-party mobile video editors. One of the most sought-after apps is Lift: Reels & Story Maker, trusted by 10M users worldwide. 

You can access over 1000 templates for Reels and Stories and more with Lift: Reels & Story Maker:

  • Customize fonts, animate texts, and remove photo backgrounds.
  • Erase unwanted objects.
  • Add license-free music with the app.
  • Use SMM AI assistant.

Start your free trial

If you want to learn about the endless possibilities with Lift: Story Maker, check out how it compares with other editing tools in our The Best Apps To Make Reels In 2024.

The Best Time to Post Reels

when to post reels

There's always the best time to post reels on your Instagram account. But it varies on the day and location of your audience. 

A short study by the Influencer Marketing Hub identified the best schedule to post your Instagram reels. They analyzed more than 100,000 pieces of short-form content on the app and discovered varying posting times:

  • On Sundays: 7 AM, 8 AM, 4 PM
  • On Mondays: 6 AM, 10 AM, 10 PM
  • On Tuesdays: 2 AM, 4 AM, 9 AM
  • On Wednesdays: 7 AM, 8 AM, 11 PM
  • On Thursdays: 9 AM, 12 AM, 7 PM
  • On Fridays: 5 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM
  • On Saturdays: 11 AM, 7 PM, 8 PM

As you can see, most content creators and brands must publish five to seven reels weekly. Doing this consistently will improve your follower engagement and visibility.

But note that this is just a general guide. It's still highly advisable to assess your audience's demographics. Check their location and the times they're usually awake.

The Ideal Instagram Reel Sizes 

instagram sizes

Editing reels can consume a lot of time. So, a simple mistake you make can be a bit frustrating.

And for most content creators and brands, getting the ideal Instagram reel sizes can be challenging.

Unfortunately, the wrong Instagram reel dimension can affect your reel's overall look. It can look stretched or small on your viewers' screens. That won't grab their attention.

  • As a rule of thumb, an ideal Instagram reel size is 1080 pixels (width) x 1920 pixels (height). It has an aspect ratio of 9:16 when recorded directly through the Instagram app.
  • However, its dimensions on your viewers' feeds vary from its ideal size. Its preview video is only 1080 pixels (width) x 1350 pixels (height) with a 4:5 aspect ratio.

Because of this, we highly suggest recording your Instagram reels directly through the app to get the ideal reel size before publishing. But you can always resize or scale your content using mobile video editing apps like Lift: Story Maker.

You can use templates with ideal Instagram reel dimensions or start from scratch. Both options give you enough leeway to be creative with your content without sacrificing its quality.

Want to learn more about Instagram reel dimensions? Visit our in-depth guide to create more engaging and successful content for your account.

What Is IG Reels Algorithm And How Does It Work?

Instagram reels

To put it simply, the Instagram reels algorithm dictates which reels will appear on Instagram users' feeds. It can mix up videos from your page, followers, and other content creators and brands.

In essence, the Instagram algorithm works in a simple way. It bases the videos it will show its users on two things—their past interactions and the content of the reel.

Let's take a look at the factors that affect your Instagram reel algorithm below:

1. User Interaction 

Users won't know you visited their Instagram accounts, but Instagram will. It will use your interactions—comments, likes, shares, and tags—and your most recent searches, follows, and messages to tailor the reels you find on your feed.

2. Content

Instagram has a unique way of figuring out which content its users like. It uses their past engagements on a brand's reel or post and the hashtags and frames of the video.

3. Posting Time

Newer reels will most likely appear on Instagram users' feeds than older videos. So content creators and brands should know the best posting schedules for their next reels.

4. Brand Popularity

Instagram will reward you if your brand produces quality content. That's why users usually see reels from popular Instagram accounts. They'll catch videos with hundreds of likes, comments, or shares on their feed.

Use Instagram Reels Analytics for Insights 

answer to comments on reels

You can use Instagram's tools to monitor the insights and analytics of your organic and paid reels. Doing this allows you to ensure that your content is fun and engaging for your viewers.

But to view the analytics of your Instagram reels, you'd need access to a creator or business Instagram account. 

Once you have that sorted out, here's how:

  1. Go to your profile and tap Reels.
  2. After that, click on the specific reel you want to view.
  3. Tap View Insights.

Once you've tapped View Insights, you'll see the number of likes, comments, and shares your reel has. You'll also know other metrics like:

  • Accounts reached: The number of unique accounts that saw your reel at least once on their feeds.
  • Number of plays: The number of plays—automatic or manually clicked plays—your reel obtained.


Are your REELS plateauing at 200 views? 📉
Elevate your content with Lift's premium pre-made templates for Reels. Download now and watch your view count soar today.


Master the Art of the Reels Hashtags

add hashtags to reels

As mentioned, Instagram identifies the content its users like through the hashtags of the reels and posts they engage with. So, mastering how to add the right Instagram Reel hashtags can put your content on the feeds of more users.

For example, fashion brands and influencers can use the best fashion hashtags for their niche. They can add simple tags like #StreetStyle to talk about the style they're going for or #WomensFashion to target specific users.

On the other hand, travel brands and influencers can also capitalize on travel hashtags. For example, they can supplement their reels with tags like #TravelWithMe, #DreamDestination, or #NatureLovers.

If you want to know more about how you can master the art of the Instagram eel hashtag, make sure to visit our in-depth guide.

Add Text to Reels

add text to reels

Another tip to make your Instagram reels more engaging is through texts. Adding text to your reels can provide added context to your viewers.

They can follow your reels easily and will likely watch and finish them. In simple words, your viewers won't get confused about what's happening in your reel.

However, adding text to Instagram reels is a bit challenging for newbies. Yet learning how to do it can increase your engagement significantly.

Here's how to add text to reels and get your viewers hooked until the very end:

  1. Go to your profile and tap Reels.
  2. Record a new video or upload a pre-shot video from your media library.
  3. Then, click Aa once you're on the editing screen.
  4. Finally, input the words you want to place throughout your reel.

A simple tip to maximize the potential of your Instagram reels is to experiment with different font styles and sizes. You can enlarge or shrink them depending on what works best for your content. You can also move them around your video.

However, you can add multiple texts to your reel at different times to make your reels more engaging. Just tap Aa and type away. You can then set their duration throughout your video's timeline.

Another tip we can give you is to ensure your texts are visible to all viewers. Make sure they follow the right dimensions and sizes.

You can also place them in the middle of the reel rather than the top or bottom. That's the safest way to ensure that your viewers will see your texts regardless of whether they play your reel or scroll past it on their feed.

Get More Views On Reels

instagram reels

The best way to get more views on your Instagram reels is by having quality content. Viewers will likely support your reels if they're fun, informative, and relevant. Otherwise, they'll scroll past through their feeds.

So before creating and publishing a reel, ask yourself whether it's worth your viewers' time. It has to be unique enough compared to other content creators and brands.

You can try to create an exciting hook at the beginning of your reel to grab the attention of your viewers. You can leverage interesting thumbnails, captions, and hashtags. Doing this can hype your reel up among different users.

Besides these tips, you can add text, transitions, and viral audio tracks. This is an excellent way to target more active users on Instagram. It also helps you stay relevant in the app.

Check Who Views Your Reels on Instagram

check views on reels

Unfortunately, Instagram doesn't tell you who viewed your reels for two reasons—it's a technical nightmare to list down hundreds of viewers, and it's also for their privacy.z

But that doesn't mean you won't know how well your reels are performing.

There are other alternatives, like seeing the number of views your reel received. You can also use other Instagram metrics like the number of likes, shares, and comments you get.

Here's a step-by-step guide to see the number of views or plays your reel received:

  1. Go to your profile and tap Reels.
  2. Click on the specific reel you want to view.

You will then see the number of views, likes, and comments you got. Use these insights to adjust your content strategy accordingly.

Besides checking your Instagram insights and analytics, another alternative for seeing who views your reels is reposting them on your Instagram story. The first few people on the list are likely users who frequently engage with your content.

Share Reels on Instagram Story 

how to share Reels on Instagram Story

Reposting reels on your Instagram story is one way to improve your engagement and interaction with your followers. It also lets you personalize your reels by adding more text, stickers, and effects.

You can share your own reel or other content creators' or brands' reels to your Instagram story. Either of the two options boosts your following and maintains your online visibility.

Let's take a look at how to share reels on your Instagram Story:

  1. First, log into your Instagram account.
  2. Then, go to your profile and tap Reels.
  3. Record a new video or upload a pre-shot video from your media library.
  4. Next, edit your reel and add a caption.
  5. After that, tap Share.
  6. Finally, click Add Reel to Your Story once published.

Make A Reel On Instagram With Photos 

Make A Reel On Instagram With Photos 

Instagram reels need to be worth watching so you can maximize their full potential. And one interesting and simple way to hook your audience is through photos.

You can create reels with up to 40 photos and video clips directly on your Instagram app. You can also place text, stickers, and audio tracks to make them more engaging.

Although editing your reel directly on Instagram is convenient, there are limitations. For example, the app has limited editing tools and sometimes has glitches.

Each scenario is frustrating and can cost you your precious time and effort.

That's why an alternative mobile video editing app like Lift: Story Maker can be more beneficial. It lets you create collages as reels and help you customize your content to your liking.

Take a closer look and learn how to make a reel with photos in our comprehensive guide.

Schedule to Auto Publish Reels

IG reels

You must publish reels regularly if you want to stay in your a-game. But missing a post for a day can be a bit frustrating to some content creators and brands.

Luckily, you can plan ahead of time with Instagram's scheduling tool. You can schedule up to 25 posts a day and 75 days in advance.

Here's how to schedule auto-publish reels on Instagram:

  1. First, log into your Instagram account.
  2. Then, go to your profile and tap Reels.
  3. Next, record a new video or upload a pre-shot video from your media library.
  4. After that, click Advanced Settings
  5. Tap Schedule.
  6. Select a posting date and time.

By planning ahead of time, you can focus more on the content of your reels. Use Lift: Story Maker to make your short-form videos more engaging, fun, and captivating.

Know Where IG Reels Are Saved

how to save Reels

If you're having difficulty figuring out what reel to post next, you can always find inspiration from other content creators or brands. In addition, you can browse through your reel feed and save their videos for future use.

Let's take a look at how you can access and watch saved Instagram reels:

  1. First, log into your Instagram account.
  2. Then, go to your profile and tap Menu.
  3. Click Saved.
  4. Next, tap Schedule.
  5. Tap Reels.

Fix Instagram Reels if Not Working 

Although Instagram is a powerful platform for editing and posting reels, it has its own limitations. Not only does it have limited editing tools, but it also experiences glitches at times.

When you find your Instagram reels not working, you can try out different troubleshooting techniques to fix them. You can do any of the following tricks:

  • Log in and out of your Instagram profile.
  • Update your Instagram app or phone.
  • Clear your Instagram app's cache.
  • Uninstall and reinstall the Instagram app.

And if none of these methods work, you can always report the issue to the Instagram support team. They'll diagnose the problem and help you troubleshoot it as soon as they can.

Learn how you can fix Instagram reels that are not working in our comprehensive guide.

Bonus Tips on Reels 


  • Hook your viewers fast: Grab attention in the first 3 seconds with a unique intro, question, or eye-catching visual.
  • Keep it short: Reels up to 15 seconds perform best, but 30 seconds is also good. Aim for digestible, impactful content.
  • Find your niche: Focus on a specific theme or interest to attract a dedicated audience.
  • Hop on trends: Use trending sounds, hashtags, and challenges to gain reach and engagement.
  • Tell your story: Even short Reels can have a narrative arc, keeping viewers hooked.
  • Go live more often: Use Reels Live for interactive sessions, Q&As, or behind-the-scenes glimpses.
  • Creative editing: Use transitions, effects, and text overlays to enhance your videos.
  • Engaging caption: Write a descriptive caption with a call to action (CTA) like "like," "comment," or "share."

Technical aspects

  • Vertical video: Shoot and edit in a 9:16 aspect ratio for optimal viewing experience.
  • Good lighting and sound: Do invest in basic equipment for clear audio and visuals.

Growth Strategies

  • Promote Reels in Stories and Feed: Share teasers or snippets of your Reels in other content.
  • Collaborate with other creators: Partner with other content creators in your niche for cross-promotion.
  • Interact with your audience: Respond to comments, answer questions, and participate in discussions.
  • Analyze your performance: Use Insights to see what's working and adjust your strategy based on data.
  • Post consistently: Create a regular posting schedule to stay on top of mind with your audience.

Important: Have fun! Be authentic, experiment, and don't be afraid to express yourself.

Wrap Up

Instagram reels will be here to stay in the following years. Brands and influencers can achieve their goals faster with the help of a mobile video editing app like Lift: Reels & Story Maker