Editing your Instagram Reels within the Instagram app can be the hardest part of the process. There’s glitchy text, disappearing drafts, trimming errors, unaligned timing to caption, and so much more.
Even after spending hours meticulously editing and reviewing your Reels, the editable version of your Reel is gone immediately after publishing.
In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know about Instagram Reels—how to make them, edit them flawlessly, and best practices to follow (without losing your sanity or your content).
Let’s go! 👇
Today We’ll Cover
- How to make Instagram Reels
- Instagram Editor VS Online Video Editing (Which is better)
- 5 Best Practices for Recording Editing and Promoting Your Reels
What Are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels are short-form videos that inspire, educate, or entertain your audience.
You can add filters, text, music, voiceover, and effects to make your videos engaging. When launched in 2020, Reels could be only 15-seconds long. Now, Meta has increased the Reels’ duration to be up to 90-seconds.
Like TikTok, Instagram Reels are vertical and have its own “Explore Feed” page—meaning you see Reels not just from accounts you follow, but from popular and trending Instagram accounts as well.
The algorithm relies on the content you’ve interacted with in the past and suggests Reels similar to it, with a specific focus on entertaining content.
So, if Instagram repeatedly suggests a viral rap dance to you, it knows you’re likely to find the video entertaining, watch it all the way through, and maybe even get inspired to make your own Reel.
[#TOC1]How to Make Instagram Reels?[#TOC1]
Meta has stepped up its game by adding Reels to Instagram. And brands are responding well—78% of marketers use the app, with 64% even planning to increase their usage in the future. Reels are a great way to splash creativity into your marketing strategy and connect with your audience on a deeper level.
Here’s how you can create a Reel in four steps:
1) Pick a Topic and Plan the Video
The legwork begins before you even hit record. Here are five video ideas to help you begin:
- Show behind-the-scenes (BTS) of your work
- Introduce yourself (and your team)
- Share a personal or brand story
- Present your product and its features in action
- Offer tips, tricks, and tools that can help your audience
For example, see how Natasha shares the BTS of her eight-week program—giving her audience a sneak peek into all the perks they get if they sign up.
You can subtract the time to manually edit and sync each video clip to the audio track. Simply drag and drop your existing clips into the template, and voila—your Reel is ready!
But, how can you ensure you don’t waste time and effort creating a Reel on something trending last month?
- Spot a “↗” icon next to Reel audios—it means the audio is trending on the Instagram app. Click on the audio name, and you’ll see Reels from other creators using the same audio. Spot a pattern about how everyone uses the clip to learn how to participate in the trend.
After you’ve landed on a topic, spend some time planning exactly what you will do for the Instagram Reel. Answer the following questions:
- What audio will you be using?
- How many video clips do you need to shoot?
- What’s the caption you’re going to write?
- What blocks of text or effects will you use in the video?
Natasha, a video content coach, says diving head-first into creating Instagram Reels without a roadmap is the biggest mistake she sees creators make:
“A common mistake I see is creators sitting down, pressing record, and thinking about their content ideas while they're actually creating. While that can work for expiring content like Stories, even with the nature of short-form videos it can actually be more difficult to say or show everything in your video without a clear plan. To also boost retention and engagement, it's important that every second serves a purpose.”
Doing the heavy lifting in this stage will ensure you aren’t directionless when you hit record.
2) Record Your Instagram Reel
After laying down your topic, audio, and more, you can record Instagram Reels from the app itself or record from your phone’s camera and upload Reels on Instagram later.
If you opt for recording your Reel from the Instagram app, you can find the “Reels” option in the Stories camera, on your home screen, or from the Reels tab. You can also upload existing video clips from your phone’s storage by selecting the “+” icon.
Just press the Reel button, and your video will start recording. If you want a hands-free approach, Instagram Reels have a countdown timer of three and ten seconds.
After you choose a countdown timer and press record, the recording will begin for the duration selected (15, 30, 60, or 90).
If your video footage is on your computer, Instagram has recently introduced the option of uploading Reels from the desktop as well.
Simply drag and drop photos or videos from your computer and share your post from your computer.
3) Edit Your Instagram Reel
Without editing, you’ll have a rough draft full of pauses, filler words, and maybe even ideas presented in the wrong order.
But diligent editing allows you to trim fat, shift ideas around, and add elements that enhance your content’s storytelling. The result is a video that only stops the scroll, but also gets remembered and shared.
Click on the audio icon from the Instagram app to choose an audio clip. You can either:
- choose an audio clip suggested by Instagram
- search for your desired audio by typing the song name on “search music”
- select an audio clip you had saved earlier in the Instagram app
record your voiceover or song while shooting the reel
How can you “save” audio on the Instagram app? When you come across a Reel with an audio clip you like, click on the audio name at the bottom, and you’ll see an option for “save audio.”
Once you decide on the music, choose the exact part of the audio you want for the background of your Reel.
You can adjust the volume and keep the background volume to a minimum and your voiceover at 100.
It’s a great option, even if you just want to add background music to your video along with your voice.
Instagram has some amazing and entertaining effects that would significantly improve the visual aesthetic of your Reel.
You’ll find the option to access Instagram effects right above the Reel's record button.
You can also search for effect names, see trending filters, and browse through the effects designed specifically for Reels.
Add Text, Stickers, GIFs, and Drawing
Once you’ve recorded all video clips and moved on to the final “preview” step, you can:
- Add text: Add the headline of your Reel and what you’re talking about to keep watchers hooked
- Add stickers: Instagram has added many fun stickers and GIFs—enabling you to give an extra splash of entertainment
- Add drawing: Use the pencil to add a handwritten touch to your Reel
And in case you haven’t added audio and effects in the previous step, there’s an option to modify these in the “preview” stage too.
Level up Your Editing Beyond the Instagram App
Here’s a secret your favorite Instagram content creator doesn’t want you to know: They don’t limit editing their Reels to the Instagram app.
While the options of adding audio, stickers, and effects are great, they’re not enough to level up your Reel game.
For example, if you’ve taken one of your video footage horizontally, the Instagram app has no option to rotate it vertically for Reels.
Not to mention: The Instagram Reel functionality—from saving video drafts to adding text—can be glitchy.
What’s even worse? Instagram doesn’t store your original files (meaning your videos aren’t safe in the cloud).
The solution? VEED’s Instagram Reel Maker.
Whether you want to take your full-fledged Reel editing outside of Instagram or just need a few tweaks taken care of, VEED is a perfect choice.
- Want to save and resize your videos for multiple platforms?
VEED has your back
- Notice the subtitles and text of your Reels are faulty?
Correct them using VEED
- Need to share your videos and collaborate with video editors?
VEED can do it
[#TOC2]Here’s how VEED compares to Instagram’s native Reel editor[#TOC2]
If you want to distinguish yourself as a creator, editing your Reels like a pro is the way to go. And VEED’s Instagram Reel maker makes it easy-peasy—without dipping your toe in fancy tools like Adobe.
Don’t take just my word for it. Dana Brown, Travel Advisor, creator, and coach says: “VEED has such a simple user face to work with that even the most tech-scared person can easily work it out and create a professional piece of content.”
4) Final Touches
Your Reel is almost ready! But before you hit publish, follow the best practices in this checklist on the final page:
- Add a caption that packs a punch: Weak captions can kill your Instagram engagement. The first line of your caption should hook people in to stay tuned to your video (and read more if your caption is long).
- Thumbnail image: Your thumbnail image is the photo that appears on your profile’s grid. You can select a clip from your Reel or upload a new one. Paying attention to the cover image keeps your visual branding tight and creates a better-flowing feed.
- Tag people: If you’re mentioning someone in the Reel—whether a brand or another creator—tag them to boost your Reel's reach. You can also invite them as a collaborator if you’re making a Reel together.
- Add location: Your Instagram metrics will thank you if you add a location to your Reels, especially if you’re a business owner inviting in-store traffic. If users search about your location through the search feature, your Instagram Reels video will appear on top.
- Share to feed: If you toggle the “share to feed” option on, Instagram will push your Reel to your followers—giving your Reel that initial spike in engagement.
And finally, with a little shiver in your fingertips and butterflies in your stomach, press “share” and release your Reel to the world.
[#TOC3]5 Best Practices for Recording, Editing, and Promoting Your Reels[#TOC3]
Simply uploading Instagram Reels consistently isn’t enough anymore. Want to improve the performance of your Reels and increase engagement?
Follow these five best (practical!) practices.
1) Check Your Analytics Frequently and Adapt According to the Data
The Instagram app shows you six metrics for analyzing how your Reel performed:
- Likes: The number of people who have liked your Reels
- Comments: The number of comments your Reel has received
- Saved: The number of users who have saved your Reel for later
- Accounts reached: The number of unique accounts who saw your Reel at least once
- Shares: The number of times your Reel was shared privately on DMs with other users or as someone else’s Instagram story
- Plays: The number of times viewers played your Reel. Is this number more than the “accounts reached” for your Reel? This means some users have watched your Reel more than once
Why check your Reel insights? Checking how your Reels are performing can give you an insight into what’s working, identify opportunities for improvement, and double down on what seems to click with your audience.
For instance, a certain call to action—like asking a specific question—might be garnering the most engagement for you. Similarly, you might notice a pattern where educational Reels have the most saves since people might want to reference them in the future.
Apart from analyzing individual Reels, you can get overall engagement data (including top-performing Reels), from the “Insights” tab.
Here, you can check how much of your account growth is due to Reels, which Reels are working the best for you, and track data over time.
Data here will also highlight when most of your followers are online—a crucial metric considering the Instagram Reels algorithm prioritizes the most recent posts.
Get your nerd on every so often and give the people what they want (and when they want it).
2) Don’t Skimp on Writing Your Instagram Reels Captions
You’ve already spent hours brainstorming creative ideas, shooting the perfect video, and syncing up your audio and text. By the time you come to writing your reels’ captions, you want to pop in a few emojis and call it a day.
The harsh truth? Your reels’ captions can make or break your Instagram Reel strategy. An experiment by Hootsuite confirmed posts with longer and more thoughtful captions get more engagement than posts with shorter captions.
And Fohr’s research report found Instagram captions are getting longer and longer.
Your Instagram characters are precious. So is your audience’s time. You don’t want to waste Instagram Reel captions’ white space by just writing a few emojis or a full-fluff draft.
Make it count.
For example, in Elise Darma’s recent Reel about her free workshop, she doesn’t jump right in with, “Sign up for my free workshop!”
Instead, she lures the watchers in by enticing curiosity with her opening line, “Do you feel that…?”
Next, she continues the caption by writing something her audience will find relatable—rising ad costs, organic competition, iOS updates, and more.
Finally, Elise shows why her free workshop is the solution to making lemonade out of these sour lemons and slides in her call-to-action.
Undoubtedly, good captions are worth it. How do you write one without burning hours? By breaking each caption into four elements:
- Headline: Users see only one to two lines of the caption while scrolling their feed, so a headline that reels (see what I did there?) people in is crucial.
- Tease: Why should people care to continue reading your caption? Think of a juicy result to share or a statement that makes people think, “I got to know more!”
- Value: Quench the tease by sharing what you promised—whether it’s tips, inspiration, or continuing a story
- Call-to-action: What do you want people to do after they’ve watched your Reel? Recommend one action only in each Reel, so it’s easier for people to follow
Elise Darma, an Instagram educator, says not including a call-to-action in your Reels is the biggest mistake she sees creators make:
“There are lots of ways you can write a caption, but there is always a reason to include a call-to-action. Help your audience understand what the next best step for them to take is, whether that is tapping the link in your bio to download your freebie; saving your post for reference; or sending you a DM to learn more about working with you, for example. A call to action helps an interaction feel complete by giving your audience clarity about your intentions and reminds them of all that you have to offer.”
3) Repurpose Your Videos
Double your content production in a jiffy by repurposing long-form videos you create for webinars, YouTube videos, and interviews.
How to go about repurposing your videos?
- Head over to VEED and upload your video. You can even import videos directly via a link such as from Dropbox.
- After uploading, resize your videos for Instagram. Choose the “Instagram Story” option to fit the Instagram Reel size
- Split and trim your videos as needed and create multiple snippets for Instagram Reels
Kyle Reed, the founder of Reed Digital Marketing agency, loves VEED’s progress bar and captions:
“VEED’s caption tool was super easy to use and quick at translating to correct captions. The video progress bar allowed me to take a video to a professional level and add in that little touch that helped it stand out over other videos.”
4) Use Hashtags in Your Caption (And Make a Brand-Specific Hashtag)
If you don’t use the right hashtags, your video won’t reach the audience it deserves. Data confirms this too: Reach increases by 11% when you use more hashtags in your Reel videos.
So, it doesn’t matter if you have the very best video in the world—one where your dance is smooth as Shakira, the edits are flawless, and the message is spot-on—if you don’t use the right hashtags.
There are all kinds of confusing information around Instagram hashtags. The top three?
- You should use only three to four hashtags or you’ll confuse the Instagram algorithm
- Find hashtag lists to copy-paste that promise increased reach without accounting for the size of your account or the following of the hashtag
- It doesn’t matter whether or not you use hashtags because it doesn’t affect your growth at all
As you can expect, the reality is far more nuanced than these generalized claims.
You shouldn’t use only three to four hashtags. If possible, use all the 30 hashtags given by Instagram. But…
Overusing hashtags won’t suddenly significantly bump up your reach or impressions. Use relevant hashtags that you can rank for and that your audience might follow.
Users often follow hashtags to see all posts related to it and the Instagram algorithm also uses hashtags to categorize Reels and push them to relevant audiences.
Besides making you memorable and accessible, branded hashtags can also help generate user-generated content for your store, run contests, and foster a sense of community.
5) Avoid These Basic Mistakes
The Instagram app has plenty of features for recording, editing, and promoting your Reels. But many content creators make basic mistakes that hold them back.
Here are a few Reel blunders you want to avoid at all costs:
- Not cutting your uhm, uh, and pauses: With short-form video content like Reels, you want to talk fast and edit fast. There should be no ‘um, uh’ and pauses. Trim all of that fat using VEED’s editor.
- Not creating a mix of long and short Reels: New viewers might be receptive to investing 30-90 seconds of their time in your video. So, create a mix of short and long Reels. If you provide enough value in a 15-second Reel, you’ll get people’s attention and trust—making them watch your longer videos as well. Then, use the new 90-second limit to share in-depth information in your niche and forge a deeper connection with your audience. Keep your focus on providing value without fluff, regardless of the length.
- Not adding subtitles or text on your videos: Who here has scrolled Instagram Reels during a boring office meeting? Don’t worry, we won’t tell your manager (we’re raising our hands too!). Adding subtitles and text on your videos improves comprehension for those who cannot turn their sounds on—whether it’s because they’re in a quiet space without headphones or because they want to tune out a rambling coworker.
Not to mention: Over five percent of the population—or 430 million people—are deaf or hard of hearing. Subtitles and text make your Instagram Reels more accessible and inclusive.
The best part? You improve your shot at engagement and growth when more people understand your video.
Find Instagram’s native captions faulty? Don’t like the limiting font options for captions? You’re not alone. Use VEED to add accurate subtitles and choose from various fonts, letter cases, line height, and formatting.
- Not sharing your Reels to your Instagram story: If you share your published Reel on your Instagram stories, Instagram will play the Reel on your story for up to 15-seconds. The best part? Instagram counts this story’s views as part of your Reel's views. Boost your reach by sharing your Reels on your stories frequently—especially your old Reels that have dried up, but you want to bring back from the grave.
How to share your Instagram Reels on your story? Click the “share” button below the comment option and select “add Reel to story.”
You’ll get an option to adjust how your Reel appears—add some text or stickers if you wish. For example, see how finance influencer Shreya Kapoor, shared her recent Reel with text, a sticker, music, and a poll.
The best part? She used curiosity-gap to highlight what her Reel was about (“Learn how to save taxes”) without revealing her Reel content by putting an image on top of it and adding music to drown the voiceover.
- Not pitching your topic in the first three seconds: On Instagram Reels, people decide fast if they want to stick around. Your first three seconds should answer, “What’s in it for me?” for the watcher or pique enough curiosity to make them stick around. There’s no room for jibber-jabber on short-form videos.
Remember to Have Fun!
Instagram Reels video has become the app’s fastest growing feature worldwide. As the popularity of Reels continues to boom, you’ll get bombarded with a lot of advice centering on what to do, what not to do, and what to absolutely avoid—all of which keep shifting as Instagram evolves.
Instead of getting overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the trends, features, and algorithm updates, treat Instagram Reels as your creative outlet. Experiment, have fun, and form a genuine connection with your audience using Reels.
And if you want (but only if you want), dance a little.