Instagram Reels 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Alex Galindo

8 mins read

If you own an online print-on-demand store and you’re not yet on the gram, you’re definitely missing out on thousands of potential sales and loyal shoppers. Instagram has become a powerful platform for businesses to connect with their audience and increase their visibility online. And with the introduction of Instagram Reels, businesses have an even greater chance to reach their target market and stand out from the competition. 

In this beginner’s guide to Instagram Reels, we’ll cover the basics of what Reels are, how to create them, and how you can use them to promote your print-on-demand store. So, whether you’re a seasoned IG pro or just starting out, let’s dive into the world of Instagram Reels and see how they can benefit your business!

Getting Started

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Of course, we’ll start with the basics. If you haven’t set up an IG page for your business yet, here’s a quick step-by-step guide to get you started:

How To Create an Instagram Account

Creating an IG account is a pretty straightforward process. You just need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Download the Instagram app on your smartphone.
  2. Sign up for an account using your business email address.
  3. Choose a username and password.
  4. Set up your profile by adding a profile picture and filling out your bio.
  5. Connect your account to your Facebook page (if you have one) to make it easier to manage both platforms.
  6. Start following other accounts in your industry to get inspiration and start building your network.

Once your account is set up, you can start exploring the various features that Instagram has to offer–from the IG stories to IG Live, and of course, the Reels.

How To Switch to a Creator Account on Instagram

Anyone with a personal or business account can create an IG Reel. However, an Instagram Creator Account gives you access to more features that can help you grow your business and connect with your audience through crafting creative content. 

Here’s how you can switch to a Creator Account on Instagram:

  1. Go to your Instagram profile and click on the three horizontal lines in the top right corner.
  2. Click on “Settings.”
  3. Click on “Account.”
  4. Click on “Switch to Professional Account.”
  5. Choose “Creator.”
  6. Connect your Instagram account to your Facebook page (if you have one).
  7. Choose a category that best describes your business.
  8. Fill out your contact information.
  9. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  10. Click “Done.”

And voila! You now have an Instagram Creator Account! With this type of account, you can access insights about your audience, promote your content, and add clickable links to your stories, among other features. This will be useful when creating Instagram Reels that promote your print-on-demand store.

How To Access the Reels Feature

And now, the main event–the IG Reels. You can easily access Reels by going to your profile’s homepage and tapping the icon in the top left corner of your screen or by swiping right from your home screen. This will take you to the camera mode, where you can select “Reels” from the options at the bottom of the screen.

Once you’ve accessed the Reels feature, you can create your own videos by recording a new clip or selecting a pre-recorded video from your camera roll. Reels can be up to 60 seconds long, and you can add music, text, and other effects to make your content more engaging.

How to Create a Reel

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You’ve got the freedom to create a reel with your existing video clips, images, audio tracks, or even a mix of all three! Below is a step-by-step guide:

A Step-by-step Guide

As mentioned, you can access IG Reels by tapping the camera icon on your profile’s home screen or swiping right from your home screen and selecting “Reels.” Once you’re in the Reels feature, follow these steps:

  1. Tap on the music icon to select a song for your Reel or record without music.
  2. Use the camera to record a new video clip or select a pre-recorded video from your camera roll.
  3. Add creative elements like text, stickers, or GIFs to enhance your Reel.
  4. Use the timer and countdown features to record hands-free and adjust the speed of your video if desired.
  5. Preview your Reel to ensure it looks how you want it to.
  6. Add a caption and relevant hashtags, and tag any relevant accounts before sharing your Reel to your feed or Stories.

After this, you can now share your Reels and let your target shoppers discover your content!

Tips for Making Engaging Content

Hmm, creating a Reel may be easy, but making it engaging and compelling can be a bit more tricky. To ensure your Reels stand out and grab your followers’ attention, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Be Creative

Feel free to experiment with different styles, formats, and themes. Use your brand’s unique personality and perspective to make your content stand out.

Keep it Short

Reels are meant to be short and snappy, so make sure to keep your content concise and engaging. Try to capture your audience’s attention within the first few seconds of your Reel.

Use Music

Adding music to your Reel can make it more entertaining and engaging. Choose a song that fits your brand’s vibe and use it to set the tone for your content.

Use Text and Graphics

Add text, graphics, and stickers to your Reels to make them more visually appealing and to highlight important points. This can help your content stand out and make it more shareable.

Collaborate with Others!

Collaborating with other creators or businesses can help increase your reach and exposure. Consider teaming up with other brands or influencers to create Reels that promote both of your businesses.

How to Edit and Add Effects to Your Reel

Now, there are tons of ways you can edit and add effects to your Reel. For instance, if you’re recording straight from the app, you can add filters, adjust the speed of the video, and even add special effects like slow motion or rewind. 

Once you’ve recorded or selected a video clip, tap on the editing tools icon on the right-hand side of the screen. From here, you can choose to add filters by swiping left or right on the screen to see the available options. You can also adjust the speed of your video by tapping on the speed icon and selecting the desired speed from the options.

To add special effects like slow motion or rewind, tap on the effects icon and select the effect you want to use. You can also add text or stickers to your Reel by tapping on the corresponding icons at the top of the screen.  And again, before you hit that “Share” button, preview your Reel to make sure it’s exactly how you want it to look like.

It’s worth noting that Instagram regularly updates their editing tools and effects, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for new features that you can use to keep your Reels on trend!

Best Practices for Reels

Ready to create and share your own Reels? Not too fast! Here are some more things to keep in mind to make the most out of your IG Reels: 

How Long Should a Reel Be?

While Reels can be up to 60 seconds long, the ideal length for a Reel is between 15-30 seconds. Think about it, with all the content available on social media, people have short attention spans, and you want to make sure your Reel captures their attention quickly and keeps them engaged.

To create a Reel that is both engaging and concise, plan out your content beforehand and consider what message or story you want to convey. Keep in mind that the first few seconds of your Reel are the most important, so make sure to hook your audience in right away.

How To Use Hashtags and Captions

Hashtags and captions are important for increasing the discoverability of your Reels. When adding hashtags, use a mix of popular and niche hashtags to reach a wider audience. Popular hashtags can help you get more views, while niche hashtags can help you reach a more targeted audience. When it comes to captions, make sure they are catchy, informative, and add value to your Reel. You can also use captions to add context, share tips, or ask questions to encourage engagement. Plus, don’t forget to add a call-to-action to encourage your followers to like, comment, or share your Reel.

Best Times To Post Your Reels

You’re free to post your Reels on any day of the week and any time of the day. However, of course, you want to make sure that there are actually people online to see your content. To maximize your reach, it’s recommended to post your Reels during peak hours when your followers are most active on the platform.

Below are some of the best time slots to publish a Reel according to Influencer Marketing Hub, as cited by NapoleonCat:

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However, remember that the ideal time slots would still depend on your specific target market segment. This is why tracking and analyzing your Reel’s performance is important using Instagram’s built-in analytics tool.

How To Promote Your Reels

So you’ve already got your Reels up and running, but how do you make sure they reach your target audience? Here are some tips on how to promote them on IG and beyond:

How To Share Your Reels on Other Social Media Platforms

That’s right! You can share your Reels on other social media platforms to reach a wider audience. One great platform to share your Reels is TikTok. Simply download your Reel from Instagram and upload it to your TikTok account. You can also share your Reels on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube Shorts

When you share your Reel, make sure also to include a caption or a call-to-action that encourages viewers to follow you on Instagram. You can even include relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of your Reel.

How To Collaborate With Other Creators on Reels

Collaborating with other creators is a great way to increase your reach and exposure on Instagram. Find other creators in your niche and contact them to see if they’re interested in collaborating on a Reel.

When collaborating, make sure to tag each other in the Reel and include a call-to-action that encourages viewers to follow both of you. This will help cross-promote each other’s accounts and reach a wider audience.

Another way to collaborate is by participating in Instagram challenges or trends. Using a popular hashtag or theme lets you join in on the conversation and gain exposure to a larger audience.

How To Measure the Success of Your Reels

Of course, you’d want to know if your Reels are actually performing well and resonating with your audience. Here are some metrics you can use to measure the success of your Reels:


This is the number of times your Reel has been viewed. It’s important to note that Instagram counts a view if someone has watched at least 3 seconds of your Reel, so keep that in mind when analyzing your views.


This includes metrics like likes, comments, shares, and saves. Engagement is a great indicator of how well your Reel is resonating with your audience and can also help increase the visibility of your Reel in the Instagram algorithm.


This is the number of unique accounts that have seen your Reel. It’s important to track reach because it shows you how many people your Reel is actually reaching and can help you determine if your content can bring in potential customers.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

This is the percentage of viewers who clicked on a link in your Reel, such as a link in your bio. CTR can help you measure the effectiveness of any calls-to-action you have in your Reel.

Of course, like with any other strategy, this is a trial-and-error process. But as long as you’re keeping tabs on these metrics and making adjustments to your Reels based on the results, you’ll be on your way to creating successful and engaging content for your audience.

Ready to Share Your Reels?

We hope this guide has helped you understand the ins and outs of Instagram Reels and how to make the most out of this feature. Remember always to keep your content engaging, relevant, and on-brand to attract and retain your audience. Keep experimenting with different editing tools, hashtags, and captions to find what works best for you. And most importantly, remember to track your metrics to measure the success of your Reels and adjust your strategy accordingly.

With IG’s helpful tools and your creativity, you can create compelling Reels that will help you grow your following and engage with your audience. 

So what are you waiting for? Start brainstorming ideas, grab your phone, and let the Reels roll!
For more digital marketing and e-commerce tips and tricks, check out our blog!

Affiliate Disclosure:

This blog contains some affiliate links. We may earn a commission if you use these links to buy something (at no added cost to you).

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