8 Practical Tips to Create Viral Instagram Reels
Short-form videos are everywhere. Some of us assumed that TikTok had started the trends. Now, more and more social media platforms are embracing this quick, straightforward video format.
As one of the most popular social media, Instagram has jumped onto the bandwagon with Reels, where users can share vertical videos that can be up to 60 seconds long.
The great thing about Instagram Reels is that you don't need all those fancy cameras that capture video with 8K resolution. Your own smartphone cameras are good enough.
You don't even need to be an expert videographer because a lot of the editing can be done right on your phone. That is why this feature is so accessible for businesses regardless of their size and the industry they belong to.
As the number of people using Instagram Reels increases, the competition to create videos that stand out and get noticed also gets tougher.
So, how do you make sure that your Instagram Reels get seen by more people and generate engagement?
Tip #1. Keep Up with Latest Trends
Instagram Reels are basically just like TikTok now. Users upload their videos following some viral challenges, trends, or elements.
You can use this to your advantage by creating content that is related to current trends and challenges. This will help you get more views and engagement on your Reels.
To find out what's trending on the internet recently, you can check the Explore page or use Google Trends to see what's trending on the internet.
Below is an example from Mermaid Straw. They know that ASMR is an evergreen trend on social media, so they take advantage of it. Seeing them pack orders from their customers without any background music is somewhat satisfying.
When you create Reels with viral elements, make sure that they're relevant to your brand and business. This way, you can still generate leads and sales even if your Reels go viral.
Tip #2. Start with a Strong Punch
Instagram Reels are all about quick, short videos. That is why it is important to keep your videos under 60 seconds. It means that there's no such thing as "save the best for last".
Longer videos tend to lose people's attention, especially if they're just scrolling through their feed. The first few seconds of your video are crucial in hooking your viewers and keeping them engaged until the end. That is why you need to make sure that the first few seconds of your video are able to grab attention.
One way to do this is by starting with a close-up shot. This could be a close-up of your product, or your own face if you're the one in the video. Another way to start strong is by using subtitles or text overlays at the beginning of your video.
When you know who your target audience is, it becomes easier to come up with ideas for videos that will resonate with them. Remember, the goal is to create content that will interest your target audience and get them to watch your Reels. The Instagram algorithm uses machine learning that takes into account the engagement your Reels get.
This will help capture people's attention even if they're just scrolling through their feed with the sound off.
Tip #3. Consistency is Key
The key to success on any social media platform is consistency. This also applies to Instagram Reels.
You need to be consistent in order to grow your following and get more views on your videos. This means posting new Reels regularly and promoting them consistently.
If you're not sure how often you should be posting, start with one video per week. Then, you can gradually increase the frequency as you get more comfortable with creating Reels.
Remember, quality is still more important than quantity. So, don't sacrifice the quality of your content just to post more often.
Tip #4. Target Specific Niche or Topic
There are a lot of people with different interests using Instagram– from those who can’t live without playing blockchain games or those who are addicted to makeup tutorial videos. The first step here is to target a specific niche or topic. This helps you focus your content and make sure that your Reels are relevant to your audience.
The more people who watch and engage with your Reels, the higher it will be ranked on the Explore page and in search results.
To find out what topics or niches are popular on Instagram Reels, you can use the search function. Look for trending hashtags and topics that are relevant to your business.For example, food-related hashtags are some of the most popular ones, which is why Instagram restaurant marketing is such a powerful tool.
Tip #5. Use Popular Music or Sounds
Music is a great way to add energy and excitement to your Reels. It can also help you set the mood and tone of your video. That's why it's important to use popular music or sounds that your target audience will enjoy.
You can also use sound effects to make your Reels more fun and engaging. Just make sure that the sounds you use are relevant to your video and don't distract from the content.
Tip #6. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are a great way to get more people to watch your Reels. When you use relevant hashtags, it makes it easier for people to find your videos.
To find the right hashtags, you can use the search function on Instagram. Look for popular hashtags that are relevant to your video. For example, if you are selling landline phone service to seniors, use hashtag tools like Hashtagify and RiteTag to help you find the right hashtags for your Reels.
Tip #7. Make Them the Right Size
Instagram Reels are meant to be watched on a mobile device. This means that you need to make them with a vertical format and the right size so that they can be viewed properly on a small screen.
The ideal aspect ratio for Instagram Reels is 16:09. The ideal resolution is 1080x1920 pixels. And the ideal length is between 15 and 30 seconds.
There are some video editing apps for Reels you can use to ensure that you tailor the video with the right size and format.
Tip #8. Keep an Eye on Your Competitors
In order to stay ahead of the game, you need to keep an eye on your competitors. See what they're doing and try to improve upon it.
You can do this by following them on Instagram and watching their Reels. Take note of the strategies they're using and see how you can make yours better.
You can also use tools like ReelRank and Insights to track your competitors' Instagram Reels. This will help you see how well their videos are performing and what strategies they're using.
You can investigate your competitors from a broader promotional and marketing perspective to understand what Instagram tactics they use, whether they use referral or affiliate programs, how they engage audience, cross-marketing channels. It'll open up a bigger picture for you to experiment.
Going viral with your Instagram Reels might seem like a daunting task. But with the right strategies, it's definitely possible. When you finally catch more eyeballs with the Reels, you will not only gain more followers but also improve the top-in-mind awareness. Just remember to focus on creating quality content that is relevant to your target audience. By investing in extra efforts, you can make sure that your Reels get seen by more people and generate more engagement.
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video production company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).
LinkedIn: Andre Oentoro