Reels: A History + How to Make Them

Image from Alphacoders

This month I am focusing on building my social media presence and increasing my following. I am posting every day on Instagram, creating one YouTube video a week, and making one Reel for Instagram a week. This post focuses on how I learned about and how to make Reels.

The Beginning of Reels

When Reels first showed up on Instagram no one knew what to do with them. It was obvious that it was just Instagram’s version of TikTok and no one really saw the point of Reels when Instagram was a photo-sharing app. 

As time went on, everyone started to warm up to Reels. A lot of people started reposting their TikToks as Reels, and more and more people started taking TikTok sounds and even creating their own on Instagram to make a potentially viral Reel. 

Soon Instagram changed its algorithm to boost Reels. If you didn’t make Reels, you didn’t get a lot of engagement. 

This caused many protests from the Instagram community. Most people joined Instagram for photo-sharing purposes. That was what set Instagram apart from other social media platforms. 

For a while, everyone had to adjust to the new algorithm. They had to learn how to make Reels otherwise they wouldn’t get that much engagement. 

Image from Lifewire

Reels Algorithm 

Making Reels was a foreign concept to me for a while. I didn’t know how they worked or what content to put out there. I made a Reel a very long time ago but I didn’t fully understand the concept. 

I didn’t know how to look for popular audio or how to edit my Reels. I had to think outside the box about what my Reels would be about and what I would be doing in them. 

I decided to watch a bunch of Reels and find audio I liked. I would save the audio then go through the ones I saved. This helped me think of ideas. 

One of the best things about Reels is that you can take complete creative license. Anyone can make a Reel but it takes creativity to make a great one. Using popular audio and adding it to a video that’s completely different from everyone else’s makes you stand out. 

For my first Reel, I used popular audio from Black Widow. The audio is about a fighting pose but I completely changed it to be about my indecisiveness about buying books. It was a popular audio that I changed to fit my brand. 

Why Should You Make Reels?

You can save anyone’s audio. A lot of times they saved it from someone else’s account who took it from someone else’s and so on. Someone might even save your audio. 

When saving someone else’s audio, it draws people back to their Reel and gets them more views. This also gets you more views because the other person’s followers will see your content. 

If someone has watched a lot of Reels with specific audio they are going to see the same audio over and over again. Taking advantage of that is valuable because then someone will be more likely to see your Reel. 

Like I said before Instagram changed its algorithm to boost Reels. Making Reels can help boost your engagement. 

Plus, Reels are fun! I have a great time making Reels. I can be creative and show people books I love in a different format. 

You can showcase fun parts of your personality in Reels too. Your personality can come through in the photos you take but a Reel gives you a different opportunity. 

How to Edit Reels

I watched this awesome in-depth video that you can check out here. This video goes into what a Reel is, how to edit a Reel, and more. I found this very helpful and I learned multiple things I didn’t know. They do a great job showing you how to edit. 

Making a Reel

After watching this video I set out to make a Reel. The first one I had made wasn’t that good and I was just trying it out. This time I was going to be deliberate and find popular audio and make my own (potentially viral) reel. 

After I watched a bunch of Reels and saved some audio I came up with some fun ideas. I created the Black Widow Reel which ended up getting over 2,000 views in the first 12 hours. 

The next week I created a new Reel. There is a very popular book challenge going around. This audio is book-related already. It talks about how certain book readers don’t read the books they bought before buying more. You hold up different books you haven’t read yet that you own. 

This was really fun! This Reel was even more successful. I got 2,600 views in the first 24 hours and over 100 likes. My first Reel only got 25 likes. 

Final Thoughts

Reels are easy to learn and I think that anyone can do it. You just have to be willing to search for audio and put in the work to create them. They really help your engagement and add something different to your feed. 

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