How To Use Instagram Reels as a Musician (Full Guide)

TikTok has arrived on the scene and completely taken it by storm. What with the impending ban looming Instagram have taken the perfect opportunity to launch their new feature, Reels.

Whether the ban takes place is anybody’s guess right now, and Instagram is reeling in the opportunity (pun intended). If you’re a musician wondering what to do if it does happen, I’ve covered a great deal of strategies here.

Instagram has heavily invested in this part of the platform and influencers are fleeing TikTok and focusing their attention on Insta.

Just as the feature launched, I obviously had to test it immediately, because as I always say the best time to try new features are on the launch! You get crazy good views, likes, shares and even an easier gateway to the Explore page.

Just as expected, the Reels video I posted got 3-4 times MORE views than my usual videos. This means I got much more organic reach.

Now is the perfect opportunity for you to take advantage of these insanely good metrics. The same reason many influencers blew up on TikTok… The playing ground was a free-for-all. The fastest, good quality content producers win.

Launching your TikTok career today versus one year ago is a whole different ball game because the market is absolutely over saturated.

Reels being a new format on Instagram will take a little time for the main chunk of it’s users to catch onto, however, testing out content in this way NOW will only do good for your account and growth.

Optimise it now before it gets too busy and reap the benefits of all that free traffic Instagram are throwing at the first adopters of new tools.

Let’s take a closer look at how musicians should be using Instagram Reels to get crazy good traffic and visibility…

  1. Have a Purpose

Just as the rest of Instagram, you must have a purpose with the content you’re posting. Is it sharing value, is it solving a problem or is it entertaining the viewers?

You should be regularly sharing a vlog, image, tutorial, meme, music making video, on your feed. At the same time as sharing behind the scenes footage and real time content on your Story.

It’s exactly the same if you choose to start posting Reels.

Each part of the platform has its purpose. And through unwritten rules, we share particular things in certain places.

Try using Reels for:

  • Funny clips

  • Behind the scenes

  • Quick tips or tutorials

  • Trending subjects on the internet that you become part of

  • Personal videos showing the real you

  • Interactive reels (have you ever, truth or dare, etc.)

  • ‘Viral’ dances to your own music

  • User generated content of your fans doing something to your music

  • The studio process in 15 seconds

  • The list is endless with a little creativity…

Right now, the format of Reels is a 15 second video – so you gotta be smart about what to squeeze in.

You cannot go in depth so you must give a preview into something FUN or INFORMATIVE.

Reels differ from the Instagram Stories in that a Story is real time, unpolished content – and with a user generated content aspect of it.

The editing tools you get with Reels is next level. Your content can become something really special – even green screens aren’t required any more. However, Reels has a fair amount of catching up to do in comparison to the TikTok editing tools.

2. Test Formats NOW

As I’ve mentioned, it’s very beneficial to test out Reels to reap the rewards. But you need to find a format that works for you and gets your followers interested.

Share a video every day and try out something new every time. Measure your metrics and see what performed the best and do more of that.

Try not to overthink it and just get busy being creative. The learning is all in the process of actually trying.

The organic traffic getting pushed by Instagram for users trying out this feature is great, so you’ll have good numbers to work from, faster. More traffic equals more data. Give it a go!

The time you spend thinking and not doing is wasted versus those who are actually out there giving it a shot. Perfection isn’t instantaneous (and is also a silly expectation, it is Instagram after all).

3. Upload Your Music to be Used on Reels

Just like TikTok, musicians have two goals using Reels. You can of course share content of your own but the most important thing you can do is add your music to the platform to allow other content creators to use your music and potentially go viral.

There are so many content creators already hitting the viral hot spot again and again. Their influence is absolutely huge. You want a piece of that pie ASAP.

Get your music on Reels the same way as getting your music on Stories. If you’re already on Stories then you need to do nothing as you’ll be available on Reels too.

If you’ve got no music on Instagram yet, simply head to a distributor such as CDbaby and DistroKid to get featured.

Be sure to opt in to the social video monetization program so you earn your share of the streaming dollar.

4.Partner with Influencers & Content Creators

In order to spread your music like wild fires on Reels then you’ll need to contact influencers and content creators with good follower numbers. Get your music in front of eye watering numbers of ears.

The dance trends that blew up on TikTok and created a new wave of Internet boredom killers have become an almost normal way of communication on social media.

To get an influencer to create a dance or video to your music will open up a whole new audience for you to tap into.

Because somebody else is creating the content, you get to sit back and enjoy the experience.

You have much more credibility when somebody else is posting featuring your audio than you trying to start a trend with your own music.

Creating a partnership with somebody who creates content is something that will take a little time to build up. But it is so worth it. Don’t go straight in and ask them to use your music, ask them questions, find out about them. Then once you feel you’ve established a rapport, go in for the kill.

Begin doing this with many influencers and you’ll create an influencer distribution hub that’ll make getting your new music heard by huge numbers even easier.

As Gary Vee said, if you as a musician get an influencer on TikTok (or Reels) to make a dance snippet to your song, it will outperform a $4,000,000 media spend budget. Crazy!

How To Post On Reels: 

Similar to TikTok, Instagrammers can record and edit together 15-second video clips with music and share them to their Stories, Explore Feed, and the new Reels tab on a user’s account profile.

Instagram Reels is accessed by clicking the top left icon on the Stories section. Once it’s open you’ll see a new “Reels” menu on the bottom of the screen.


From this screen, you can select your audio by tapping the music icon:




Choose the speed of your video by pressing the play icon:


Choose how long your clips will be by selecting the stopwatch icon. When you set a timer, there’s a countdown before the recording starts:


Similar to Boomerang mode, you can scroll across to apply effects or AR filters to your Instagram Reels video. You can choose to use any previously saved filters or you can scroll to the end and tap “Browse Effects”.


Either hold down the record button to capture footage or upload video footage from your camera roll:


Much like on TikTok, you can start and stop recording multiple times during your 15-second video by pressing and holding the record button.

Once you’re happy with the result, you can edit your video clips. You can use the draw and text tools and select from a number of Instagram Stickers.


When finished, you can edit the cover photo with a video thumbnail or add a cover from your camera roll.


Now it’s time to share your masterpiece! You can share the Reel to your Stories, Explore Feed, and the new Reels tab on your profile.

Check out the latest Instagram Reels tab on Instagram profiles — this is where you will see your videos and drafts and where your followers can go to find all of your published Reels.



Musicians on Reels:



Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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