Instagram Reel Tips & Features To Master

This is the 2nd installment in our 5-Part Instagram Reels Series

Instagram Reels are one of the hottest social media tactics right now. And guess what, they work! Partially because the Instagram algorithm favors them, but also because they’re highly engaging to your audience when done right. That’s why we created this blog to show you some Instagram Reels tips and features to help you master Reels.

So, you’re making reels but ignoring many of the bells and whistles and simply posting videos quickly. It’s better than nothing and at least your posting reels, right?

Wrong! By ignoring, at the very least, the key features and tools Instagram provide you’re missing out on a lot of algorithm love. So, let’s take those simple video posts up a notch and dive into some Instagram tips and features to optimize your Reel results. If you’re just getting started with Reels, make sure to check out our introductory article on How to Make an Instagram Reel first! 

Reels offer a variety of creative editing tools on the left side of your screen to help create your reel, starting with:


There are many options for audio that you can use and add to your Reel.

You can start by searching for a song from the Instagram music library if you already have something in mind. You can also use original audio by simply recording a Reel with sound. When you share a Reel with original audio, your audio will be attributed to you, and if you have a public account, people can create Reels with your audio by selecting “Use Audio” from your Reel.

Using trending audio* is always recommended when possible since it will grab attention, improve engagement, and be prioritized by the Instagram algorithm. You can find trending audio by scrolling through your Reels feed, finding trending audio (a little arrow shown at the bottom), and saving it. Also, you can check this article from Later which is updated weekly with Reels trends.

*To use trending audio, you will need to switch your account from a Business Account to a Creator/Entrepreneur Account on Instagram. They have the same capabilities (you can still use insights, create ads, and shoppable posts) other than the fact that business accounts are not able to access all of the audio Instagram has to offer due to licensing restrictions.

AR Effects/Filters

Next, you can select one of the many effects in the effect gallery at the bottom of the screen. These effects/filters are created by Instagram and creators worldwide. Choose from trending filters/effects, saved ones that you found on others’ Reels, or search for something that fits your reel theme. A popular one is the green screen filter!

Filters can be a great tool if used properly and can even add value to your reel like if you use a trending filter/effect. But, it can be very easy to overdo it. So, it is important to remember when you are using filters or effects that they are true to your brand’s look and feel.


Now that you have a song and a filter… it is time to set a timer to record any of your clips hands-free. Choose from 15, 30, 60, &90 secs for your Reel length. We recommend 15-second and 30-second Reels for best results. By clicking on the plus icon in the bottom left corner, you can also upload videos into your reel from your phone instead of creating them natively through Instagram. Or… you can create a reel using a video editing app as well. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog that features a few of our favorites!


Choose the speed of the video you will be shooting. For slow-motion video use the .3x or .5x options. To speed up your video you will need to utilize 2x or 3x.

These next features were created to help you film a reel from a distance. This allows you to get your whole body in the frame while still controlling the camera. 

Gesture Control

Start and stop your video with a wave of your hand. This is great when you are filming yourself from afar or your phone is set up on a tripod.


Once you film your first video clip you can align the following clip with the align icon. This helps you create seamless transitions for moments like outfit changes or adding new friends to your Reel.

Reel Cover

Make sure to create a Reel cover! It helps boost your views by letting your viewers know what to expect from each reel without having to click on the reel. Don’t make them work harder than they need to. Also, Reel covers can help you have consistent branding that looks great on your feed. Keep in mind, you’ll want your cover size to be 1080 x 1920px.

When creating a reel cover, you need to ensure that any text you would like to showcase will fit in the 1:1 square, so it doesn’t get cut off when posted to your main feed. You can also edit the cover and crop it to the exact 1:1 section you want to show in your main Instagram feed. Remember, in order for it to be shared to your main feed, make sure you have selected ‘Also share to Feed”.

Final Elements

Once you are done creating your Reel video you will be brought to the publishing page. On this page, you will get everything ready for your reel to post. First, choose or add your Reel cover photo by clicking edit cover. Next, add the caption and hashtags that go along with your Reel. This is also where you select the button that allows you to share on your main feed.

Tag other accounts or invite other accounts to be a collaborator on this post to increase your post reach. Add topics that relate to your reel to help Instagram categorize it. If the Reel has original audio, you can rename it here. Add your location in order to increase your local SEO. If this is connected to a fundraiser, add it here. paid partnership label. From here you also have the ability to share to your Facebook if they are connected, which will help you get more reach out of your Reel.

One of the biggest advantages of posting Reels on Instagram for brands is they are designed to be shown to people who don’t already follow you. The Reels a user can see on their reel feed are based on the algorithm’s calculation of the accounts it thinks the user might like. This is great for brands looking to build awareness, cultivate community, increase followers, and promote products. So, start using these Instagram Reels tips and features today to get better results!

Check back soon for the next article in our Instagram Reels series covering how to make a reel with photos quickly and easily to make your life easier!

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