5 Key Differences When Posting on TikTok & Reels

We all know the Instagram Reels came about because this platform needed to keep up with the mega surge of TikTok.

But, to be fair, Reels has now grown into its own thing.

While short form video content can and should be shared between the 2 platforms (honestly, whose got the time to create totally unique content for both?!), there are a few key differences when it comes to posting the same videos across both TikTok and Instagram Reels.

So, if you’re looking to get the highest reach possible with your content across both platforms, then you’d be wise to keep reading!

Our 5 important differences for posting across TikTok and Reels are tried and tested methods we’ve used across multiple client accounts in a bid to test what works and what doesn’t when it comes to that all-crucial reach.

So let’s get stuck in with what we’ve found out…

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#1 Audios

The first key point to note when it comes to the differences between posting on Instagram Reels and TikTok is related to audios.

Currently (although we do expect this to change), research has shown time and time again that Instagram Reels posted with trending audios perform exponentially better than those with original sounds.

If you manage to hit the trending wave early on Instagram Reels – i.e. creating content that uses an audio at the inception of its rise to viraldom! – then you’ve got an even better chance of your content going wild!

Conversely, the best way to attempt to get some seriously mega reach on TikTok is to use original audios.

And the easiest method for doing this, is to layer a song with an original voiceover recorded in the app by none other than your charming self!

We suggest doing this directly in the TikTok app, by using the “audio editing” button to narrate your content scene by scene

Don’t forget to script your voiceover before recording and to ensure it fits the length of your content.

Talking in a concise, clear and animated way is also key to ensuring voiceovers are received well on the platform.

#2 Footage Enhancement

Now that we’ve covered audios, which we think is the key difference when cross posting on Reels and TikTok, it’s time to move on to how your content looks.

When it comes to Instagram, once you’ve uploaded your content, you’re sadly limited by a range of rather staid range of filters – the ones we’ve all grown to love, and then hate! – and to be quite frank, none of them really seem to cut the mustard.

Which is why we strongly recommend using a Reel creation app, like VN, to enhance the appearance of your footage before uploading it to Instagram.

This can easily be done by using the filter and adjust settings in this great app, which is free for up to 99 projects i.e. 99 Reels.

If you’re big on the content production, then the very affordable Pro version of VN is a great choice too. In fact, it’s one of our top recommended tools for social media creation in 2023.

When it comes to posting content on TikTok, you can also use VN to create your content, upload it to TikTok and then select the brilliant “enhance” button within the TikTok app itself, which does wonders for the appearance of your uploaded videos.

If you haven’t got the time for VN, then the TikTok “enhance” button is a great, second option for making your video colours pop and really stand out in this crowded feed.

#3 Font

And now that you’ve got your audio and your content uploaded, it’s time to apply that all-important onscreen text.

Although many people post both Reels and TikTok without any words on their videos, if you’re just getting started out, using onscreen text is a great way to help boost the reach of your videos.

Across both platforms, onscreen text helps the algorithms of these apps better understand what your video is about – in essence, it allows Instagram and TikTok to read your content better.

When both Instagram and TikTok understand your footage, they are able to categorise it more easily and show it to the correct audience more quickly.

This is likely to engender a greater level of engagement on your content and, in turn, ensure your video is shown to more people, therefore accelerating your reach.

But there is a difference between using onscreen text when posting Instagram Reels and TikTok videos.

Ok, so it’s a difference, but it’s also a similarity!

What do we mean by this?

Well both apps prefer their own in-app fonts when it comes to onscreen text.

And that’s for the simple reason that it allows their inbuilt software to read your video better – see the point above about understanding what your content is about and showing it to the right audience.

So a major difference when posting Reels on Instagram compared to TikTok vidoes, is that you want to use one of Instagram’s in-app fonts for any onscreen text you’re layering over your video.

Conversely, on TikTok, you want to use their in-app fonts to create any onscreen text – we really like the option with the shadow as it helps your words stand out more against the content background.

The other thing to note is that viewers on each platform are used to these in-app fonts and familiarity can help boost success too, which is just another good reason to make use of them!

#4 Onscreen Text Placement

And once we’ve created your onscreen text in your chosen in-app font, another key thing to think about is where exactly to locate this text on the screen.

After all, putting onscreen text over your content, only for it to be masked by the app’s icons, headers, or comments section can quickly make your video look unprofessional and render all your hard work useless.

The best placements for your onscreen text do differ between TikTok and Instagram, due to the apps’ different viewer layout styles. This is yet another good reason to create your onscreen text in-app, so that it’s specific to each platform.

Starting with Instagram Reels, you want to stick ideally to placing any words in the top right and top left areas of the content for onscreen text placement.

The handy borders Instagram gives you when you move your onscreen text around, will also help you ensure your text is visible and not too far towards the non-visible edge of your content.

With Instagram, we also recommend avoiding onscreen text in the bottom left of the screen – this is where your profile and caption information displays, as well as in the lower right of the screen, where the Instagram engagement buttons are.

Dodge these areas to ensure your words can be seen.

In contrast, on TikTok, the only place you really need to avoid placing your on-screen text is the lower right of the screen where again the app’s engagement buttons will be placed over your video.

Putting text too low in the bottom left corner on TikTok, may mean it may also be obscured by your caption and any likes or comments your video gets.

The top corners of TikTok are more open to you, as they don’t have bordered “no show” zones, but do be careful about placing on-screen text in the centre top, as there is a search bar that appears over your video here.

#5 Time after Posting

And the last point to make when it comes to the key differences between posting on TikTok and Instagram Reels, is the time it takes to gauge how well your content is likely to perform.

With TikTok, reach indications are usually pretty instant, with content that is likely to do well taking off within the first 12 hours after posting.

If you’re going to get those mega views on TikTok, it’s likely you’ll be able to tell within a day of posting, as your video will already be hitting tens of thousands of views by then.

With Instagram Reels, things are slightly different, as we’ve found videos on this platform tend to reach their steepest growth curve weeks, or even months, after posting.

As an example, we’ve had a Reel reach over 100,000 views 3 months after it was posted!

While you can’t expect everything to take off on Instagram this late in the day, in general, our findings show that Reels do tend to have a slower burn time than TikTok.

In our experience, 1-2 weeks is the optimum time to gauge the predicted success of your Reel, while on TikTok it’s much more instant.


So there you have it, our 5 key differences when posting on TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Are you making use of both of these great social media platforms yet by successfully cross-posting content?

If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Please join the discussion in the comments box below with any tips or advice you may have…

Want to Know More?

Otherwise, if you’re yet to conquer Instagram Reels or TikTok, why not book in for one of our 1:1 Power Hour calls?

The perfect way to have all your social media questions answered, your face to face video call will be led by one of our experts with a ton of hacks, tips and tricks up their sleeve to help you grow on both these important platforms.

So what are you waiting for?

Schedule your Power Hour call with us today here.