A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Instagram Coils – A Key to Social Media Success


FOR NON-INSIDERS trying to use Instagram’s “Reels” tool can be a bit like learning to ride a bike – on a tightrope, carrying a parakeet on your head, while everyone you know listens to watch you wobble. “As soon as we master something on Instagram, we have something new that we have to learn to do,” said Jean Liu, an interior designer from Dallas. Released in August 2020, the feature allows users to share videos up to 60 seconds long, similar to TikToks, or sometimes blatant reruns of that platform, on their feeds. Ms. Liu attempted to release her first solo Reel in June, in which she examined clay tile samples. But she took it off a few minutes after realizing she forgot to add pieces. “Even now, I don’t really know how to do this,” she said.

Still, Ms. Liu said she would get back in Reels’ saddle because her business relies on increasing her audience. “Every time we take a call from a potential client, we ask them, ‘How did you find us? And the answer most of the time is, “I found you on Instagram,” she said. The pressure is on to subdue Reels, who these days, the platform’s director of product Reels, Tessa Lyons-Laing, is “the biggest contributor to engagement growth.”

To record your own reel, tap the ‘Play’ symbol at the bottom of the app’s home screen, then tap the camera icon at the top right to film yourself, for example, testing your new Theragun massager on an unsuspecting teddy bear. Click on the musical notes to add tracks (which will play as people watch your video) from Instagram’s vast music library, which has tens of millions of licensed songs. You’ll also find other tools to try out on the left side, including alternate reality effects that will put, for example, butterflies and freckles on your face, as well as the ability to change the speed of your video.

Can’t stand the pressure of filming your video on location? You can also download any clip up to 60 seconds from your phone’s archive to turn it into a reel by clicking the box at the bottom left of the Reels camera screen, which links to your film. For more detailed instructions, check out YouTube channels such as “Modern Millie,” which have user-friendly tutorials and tips, including how to add a voiceover.

To record your own reel, tap the “Play” symbol at the bottom of the app’s home screen, then tap the camera icon at the top right.


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Here, some more great Reel advice from content pros:

Hang them up within three seconds. “If people are parading, this is the first signal to algorithms that this content is not going to get attention,” said business strategist Brendan Kane, author of “One Million Followers”.

Follow a digital age version of the Golden Rule, produce videos that you would like to watch yourself, Ms. Lyons-Laing said. The most successful reels are simple and to the point. (Notice the cooking mishaps and the misbehaving puppies.)

That said, just because you’re leaning over reels of amazingly cool people dancing in sync, don’t assume that your uncoordinated self cannot make a reel. Show a collection. Film a walk in a Milanese street.

Add text labels to describe your video’s topic and subtitles for people with disabilities, suggested Creative Director Karen Cheng, who has one million followers. They also help tell viewers what they’re getting into and why they should care.

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