In our previous post on how to use Instagram Reels for Businesses, more specifically small businesses, I explained what they were, how to use them and how it could help grow your business.
#1. Picking an effective time of day for posting your reel
Keenan Beavis, founder of Longhouse Media, one of Canada’s largest marketing agencies shares “picking an effective time of day to post is paramount. The most effective time windows are in the morning (anywhere from 9am to 9:30am), lunch time (around noon), and late afternoon around 3pm.”
Emma Collins, CEO at Safetradebinaryoptions also stresses on the importance of timing your reels. “Time is very important, you must post the reel at the proper time and day i.e., people use Instagram more on the weekends and at night time before they go to bed.”
Well, I believe for each account, they may have a different time wherein their content performs the best depending on their audience geography and age.
As such, you need to test out when your post performs best and adjust your reels accordingly.
#2. Get More Initial Engagement on Your Posts
Keanan advises – “Getting engagement on your reel post can boost its viewership. This can be accomplished in two ways. Have your friends like and comment on your reel and be sure to reply to their comments, as it will give you a little boost in the algorithm. Posing a question at the end of your reel or in the caption is also a great way to garner more engagement.”
#3. Share Your Reel on Your Story
It is a great way to ensure that those who may not have had a chance to see it in their feed will get a chance to view it.
Plus, a consistent stream in your stories promoting your reels is a great way to drive up the initial engagement, thus boosting its future views and engagement as well.
#4. Make content that your target audience is interested in seeing
Michael Dadashi, Co-Founder & CEO of the Infinite Recovery shares – “Despite the fact that short vertical videos are often connected with dancing and having a good time, you should utilize Reels to show your audience something useful, something they want to view and share. Produce informative and motivating content, as well as humorous videos.”
#5. Always add relevant captions and hashtags to your Reels
Michael states – “Even if you’re making a video rather than a feed post, a decent caption is still important. But not only in the description of your video but also in the video itself, because many viewers watch short videos with the sound turned off. To entice you to view the video again, some creators include captions that fade away so quickly that you can’t read what they say. This is a useful trick for gaining more views, but it isn’t truly genuine or truthful to the audience.”
Shiv Gupta, CEO, at Incrementors shares – “Because hashtags are getting so overused on feed material, all of your other stuff is starting to drown in them. Nowadays, getting traffic with hashtags is difficult. This implies there’s a strong chance your Reels post may start trending on some really large hashtags. However, the hashtags must be relevant and well-chosen for the type of Reels you’re sharing. Begin by conducting some smart hashtag research and including a mix of major, medium, and small hashtags to reach a diverse audience reading through the tags. It’s advisable, to begin with the little ones before moving on to the bigger ones.”
#6. Edit Your Reels
Kevin advises to always edit as it makes the content look more attractive, but do not overdo it. Find popular content on social media and personalize it with flair or filters.
#7. Upload the Instagram reels to other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Snapchat
Sharing your social media posts across other social media platforms is always advisable.
It helps improve the branding of your business and also helps interconnect with your audience across all social media channels, leading to better outreaching capacity when you try and make sales.
Related Reads on Branding:
- Build Links and Get Exposure Using HARO (Case Studies and Cheat Trick)
- The Ultimate Guide to Guest Posting
- Blog Commenting: The Definitive Guide
- Guide to Improve Twitter Following and Engagement
#8. Partner with other Instagram Brands
Megha Gaedke, Founder at KetoConnect (@keto.connect) shares that she increased her Instagram Reels’ views by “partnering with other brands or individuals who have a similar audience to ours. We’ve achieved this by collaborating on projects or sponsoring events. By working together, we’ve been able to expose each other’s audiences to new content and grow our brands’ reach.”
Catherine vanVonno, President & CEO, 20Four7VA (@20four7VA) also stresses the importance of collaborating with others. Collaborating with other users is a great way to build relationships and attract new followers. Try working with other Instagrammers with a similar audience or niche and exchanging shout-outs or guest posts. You can also team up for contests and giveaways.
#9. Choose a trending audio and make it work for your content
As per Raymond Cua, a Toronto-based full-time influencer, and the founder & publisher of Travelling Foodie, “Trending audio means more people will be looking at reels using that audio. Here’s my reel with 571K making the ‘This is a work of art’ audio on food”. Raymond advises to choose a relatable audio and make it work for your content. There are some audio that are specifically made for your niche. Bonus is if it’s trending as well!
Eva Keller from Discovering Hidden Gems also advises the same. “Always use a trending audio. But here is a clever way to use it. Say your reel is of you talking or has some other sound outside of Instagram’s audio. Still add a trending audio to the background at a really low level so that you can’t really hear that it’s there. As of right now, Instagram will still recognize it as you using a trending audio and the algorithm will reward you.”
Dominic Harper, founder of Debt Bombshell also agrees to this. “It’s the sounds that dictate whether a certain clip will prompt or rank up. Whenever there are people liking a certain song, it hits up Instagram algorithm and display more videos of the same sound. You can check the bottom of the reel to check the audio and how many users have used such to know whether such is a trending or hit music.”
#10. Use shorter reels
Raymond shares that IG Reels get more viewership the more times it’s viewed and the percentage of the video it’s watched by viewers. A shorter reel of 6-8 seconds is easier for people to watch 100% of the video than a 30-second one.
It also makes it easier for the reel to automatically replay again, which is a good indicator for Instagram.
#11. Use captions that will get people to stay in the video longer
Percentage of reel watched is an important indicator so you want viewers to stay for the entire thing, and captions can help with that. This viral reel with 472K views has the caption “What the song says”, making the viewer intrigued to listen to the whole song. Plus the rest of the caption provides useful information that they can read through, which will last more than the time of video, which then increases percentage watched and cause replays.
The reason behind this is that you want your audience to stay on your reels longer. Sasha Wichita, an Instagram influencer and beauty content creator shares that on reels, watch time is key. Start with an intriguing opening in the first 3 seconds, and try to keep their attention. On one of my channels, I use text and ask viewers to play a guessing game before the end of the video, which encourages them to watch to the end.
#12. Make sure you’re filming with the viewer in mind
Film in a vertical aspect ratio, engage with the camera as much as possible, and talk on camera (or use a voiceover) to build a connection with your viewers.
#13. Use text to your advantage
Sasha goes on to point out that many experts have said that over 80% of viewers are watching without sound. She advises to use text as subtitles, to add funny comments, or otherwise to emphasize key points. Make it easy to understand what your reel is about to stop them from scrolling.
This tip seems pretty relatable, as I have also found myself going through several Reels without sound too!
#14. The First Three Seconds!
Rohit Sharma, founder of digital marketing agency Loud Speaker shares “The secret to get more reel views is to hook in the audience in first 3 seconds. That is the average time a user spend before skipping to the next post.
So what to do in first three seconds?
- Highlight the best part of your video.
- Use a great cover with text explaining your video.
- Hook your audience with curiosity keywords like “what if”, “how to”, or “why you should” etc.”
#15. Ensure that your viewers can focus on you
Lee Fang, from StereoMono Sunday who increased his Instagram following by around 9000 in just 4 months, advises that your background should be uncluttered. You want viewers to focus on you, not what’s going on behind you. On a similar note, ensure that the lighting is good so viewers can see you clearly.
#16. Create a branded or themed feed
Catherine vanVonno, President & CEO, 20Four7VA shares “Many users find it helpful to create a specific look or theme for their Instagram account. This could be anything from a certain color scheme to a specific style of photography or art.
Not only will this make your account more visually appealing, but it can also help you to define your brand or personal style better.
#17. Run Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are a great way to attract new followers and engage your current audience. They can also be a lot of fun! Be sure to make the rules clear and easy to understand, and promote your contest or giveaway on other social media platforms as well.
Here’s how you can ensure your Instagram giveaway has the best results.
#18. Leverage user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to increase engagement and attract new followers. Try asking your followers to submit photos or videos using a specific hashtag or feature user submissions on your own account. You can also repost UGC from other users who have used your hashtag.
#19. Be Original. Don’t Just Copy All The Best Practices
Dr. Rowena Winkler, Intuitive Marketing Strategist from RowenaWinkler.com shares – “When it comes to Instagram reels, I like to think about Adam Grant’s work on originals — you do not necessarily have to be the first, just be different AND better. What does this mean from a reels perspective? Hop on trending audios to get the views and traction you need, but put your unique spin on the trend. Use the audio in a different way, or situate it in a different industry or context.”
Macy Tong, Social Media Manager from Pave (@pave_uk) also suggests that you use original content for your Instagram Reels. She shares – “The algorithm favours original content so it’s best to come up with something totally unique to your brand, especially the visual elements.
We only had around 100 followers when we posted our very first reel. The reel was just a simple animation of our brand logo and tagline, and the audience reach went beyond 2,300.”
#20. Tag another profile
Where suitable, tag someone who’s collaborated with you on the reel content in your caption. Community engagement could give you extra exposure.
#21. Be Regular in Posting Your Reels
- Post reels regularly with appropriate hashtags assigned to them.
- Decide specific days and times when your audiences and followers are the most active.
- Post videos around that time.
Therefore making your viewers habitual of your daily reels and with valuable content, the Instagram algorithms will also know that you actively engage in the content creation, thereby enhancing your visibility, traffic and views on the reels.
#22. Ensure Your Content Delivers Value
“Content needs to provide solutions to the people’s queries to get more likes, shares and comments. Therefore, create informative, engaging, and unique content to grab the audience’s attention.
For example, you can make reels showcasing the benefits and characteristics of your deliverables and how they are different from the other brands. Creating original content helps you rank organically on the Search Engines and will increase your views on the reels.“
#23. Embrace CTAs in Your Instagram Reels
Adam Ng, the CEO and Founder of Trusted Malaysia (@trustedmalaysia) shares “to keep viewers coming back for more, you should strive to add a call to action (CTA) at the end of your video as often as possible.
While you’re at it, it’s important to draft a CTA that moves followers down your path by promising something they’ll enjoy. This way, they are more likely to discover the other Reels in your account.
The theory behind a CTA is the basic motivating principle of human nature. As the theory goes, people have a natural desire for unlimited growth and betterment – economically and intellectually. Using this principle, a CTA would ask your viewers to take some kind of affirmative public or private action that might improve their lives in a given area.
For example, you could use a CTA like “try our newest product now.”
A good rule of thumb is to have one CTA per Instagram Reel to ensure the whole video doesn’t become too cluttered or confusing for the viewer.”
#24. Make the Most out of Native Reels Tools
Instagram Reels come with tools to help you to assemble a video that best represents your brand in a quick but efficient manner. These include filters, stickers, visual effects, and music editing tools. For example, you could use filters to change the overall color palette, reduce contrast, and decrease the intensity of shadows and light.
Improving your Reels using the tools provided within the app also helps Instagram’s algorithms rank your content better. It’s an open secret that whenever Instagram releases a new feature, it boosts the exposure for users who use that tool frequently.
Therefore, to produce videos that really pop, it’s important to use in-app editing tools as much as possible and only use external resources sparingly.
#25. Stick With One Reels Cover Image
People find it easier to identify the content of the videos they are watching when there is a consistent background across all videos. Sticking with one cover image also means that viewers will get used to your brand or company logo, and trust will start to build more quickly. The rest of your content is also important, but you should never forget that the first impression will always be the strongest.
So, make sure your cover image represents everything you want it to at a glance.