10 Tips for Viral Instagram Reels
How to Make Your Instagram Reels Go Viral
Creators dream of having their Reels go viral, and there are steps you can take toward accomplishing that. It takes hard work, planning, and effort, but by being yourself and making high-quality content, you’re already on the right track.
A Quick Rundown
Instagram used to be just for posting pictures, but now you can post Reels and stories, do livestreams, connect with brands, and much more. Reels are one of Instagram’s newer features. Inspired by TikTok, Reels are vertically formatted videos that are 15 to 60 seconds long. You can scroll through the Explore page or look at the Reels that pop up in your own feed.
Instagram’s algorithms look at users’ interests and preferences and then suggest Reels to them based on that. There are many ways to tailor your content to both your current and potential audience and increase your followers. Going viral can bring more viewers to your page, which makes it easy for you to direct them to your other platforms, content, and merch.
Here are ten tips to help you go viral and accomplish your goals!
1. Share Them to Your Feed
When posting your Reels, don’t forget to click the option that says “also share to feed.” This is an easy way to get your Reels onto both the Reels feed and your own feed. That way, you’re boosting your content to your audience along with making it easier for people scrolling through Reels to find.
The more visibility you have, the better the chance you have of getting more shares, likes, and comments, which can boost the placement of your Reel on Instagram’s Explore page. Combine that with using the right hashtags, and you have an even better shot at getting noticed. Because fewer people are posting and sharing Reels compared to regular Instagram posts, you have more space to top the charts in this feature. The more your followers like and share your Reel, the higher placement it could get in the Reels feed, boosting your chances of going viral even further.
2. Grab Viewers’ Attention From the Beginning
As a creator, you know how important it is to get viewers interested right from the start. No matter what kind of post you’re creating, if you don’t get people invested immediately, they’re likely to go elsewhere for entertainment or information. Your followers’ time and attention are valuable, especially because they’re the people who can reach out to others and get you a bigger audience. So start your Reels off with a hook to grab viewers’ attention right away!
Hooks can be something surprising, exciting, or interesting. Do some research to see what’s trending and whether you can organically tie your Reel in with that. Either way, many Instagram users see hundreds of videos every day. For yours to stand out and go viral, it has to start with content that makes viewers’ time worth it. And it needs to have that surprising/exciting/interesting side so it’s worth sharing for the viewer. Instagram tracks the time people spend on your content, so the more people who watch your whole Reel, the better. Maybe you’re posting fitness Reels. Your hook could be something like “This is how I worked out like [popular fitness name here].” Then give more information after you’ve already pulled your audience in.
3. Use Trending Audio
What better way to go viral than to tap into what’s already popular and put your own authentic spin on it? As a creator, you have limited time and energy, so it’s a good use of your time to research what’s popular. That way you’re aware of trends and can think about using them to bring your content to a new audience.
Look for popular or trending songs or other audio that you can include in your Reels. Don’t force yourself to fit into every trend, but if you see one that’s perfect for your content, go for it! Plus, you can see what other influencers in your niche are doing for their Reels. Building off their content can help you establish a relationship while boosting your Reels’ popularity. And it inspires creativity and camaraderie between creators as you tweak the audio to reflect your content and have fun seeing what other people do with it too.
4. Make Sure It’s High Quality
The good news is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer or video editor to make high-quality Reels. Smartphones have such good cameras that Reels can often be filmed with them. Be sure your Reels have good lighting and are high resolution. Ring lights soften the shadow and produce a better image for your Reel, so it might be worth investing in one if you’re shooting indoors.
Quality also applies to the content itself. No one likes to have their time wasted, and unfortunately, that’s how low-quality content makes followers feel. Rather than trying to go viral with every new trend, focus on creating high-quality content that could coincide with the most popular hashtag or audio piece. Your followers will be able to tell if you’re making content simply to gain popularity, and you run the risk of losing their trust and then having a smaller base to build your audience on. It’s just not worth it to churn out cheap quality Reels for the potential views.
5. Include Captions
Closed captions make your Reels accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Also, many Instagram viewers scroll with the sound off, so putting text in your videos is a way to have them pause and watch your whole Reel. If your Reel pops up in their feed but they aren’t watching with sound, chances are they won’t stay engaged without some form of text or captions.
To really draw in your audience, be mindful of where you place text in the video. When people see your Reels in their feed, they’ll only see 4:5 size of the 9:16 full-screen Reels format. If you have text outside that safe middle zone of your video, people won’t see it unless they go full screen. Keep your Reels as viewer-friendly as possible by putting text in that safe zone. That way, people scrolling through Reels can get excited about your content and follow what you’re saying even without sound. This makes them much more likely to watch your whole Reel, giving you a better chance of going viral.
6. Keep It Interactive and Engaging
The more users feel like they can interact with your content, the more likely they are to do so. There are many ways to make your Reels interactive to the point of going viral. If you’re a fashion designer, post your newest design on your Reel and ask your audience which celebrity they could see wearing the outfit to a special event. The effort you put into making content user-friendly makes your followers feel appreciated and welcomed in your online space, meaning they’re more likely to stay longer and interact thoughtfully.
As more people leave comments on your Reels, Instagram algorithms will notice, and you’ll have a better chance of popping up in people’s feeds and being noticed on the Explore page because of your audience engagement. Although it takes more time to create posts that generate user engagement, it’s worth it.
7. Use Hashtags
Hashtags are tools to get you noticed if they’re used correctly. Do some research on what’s trending in your field or niche and see which hashtags apply to your Reels. Or if it feels authentic, build your next Reel off a popular hashtag. Instagram users typically make fewer Reels than other posts, so there’s less competition overall to reach the top of the hashtags for Reels. If you can match the number of interactions a popular post is getting for a certain hashtag, you’ll have a good chance of reaching a high spot for that hashtag.
Don’t forget about the smaller hashtags in your mission to go viral. By putting out top content for small hashtags, you’ll gain more exposure to a wider audience, who can help you by sharing your content. When you want to tackle a large hashtag, you’ve got a better base to build on.
8. Have a Good Thumbnail Image
How often have you clicked on a YouTube video because of the eye-catching thumbnail or interesting title? The same principle applies to your Reels. You only have seconds to catch a user’s attention, so be sure you’re putting your best content forward to do so. Even though it takes a bit of extra time to create an appealing cover for your Reel, it can draw in many more people than the Reel might have without it.
Sites like Canva can help you create eye-catching graphics for your Reel cover. If you don’t have the time to do that, no worries; just focus on using a good screenshot of the first few seconds of your Reel. Be sure to add text so users have a good idea of what your video is about. There are places where your thumbnail won’t show up, but users scrolling through the Reels feed will be drawn to creators like you who’ve taken the time to catch their attention.
9. Pay Attention to the Best Viewing Times
It’s really frustrating to have content you’ve worked hard on get fewer views and shares than you’d hoped. Take some time to analyze when your content gets the most interaction from your audience. Posting at the best viewing times gets you more views, likes, and comments, which boosts your chances of going viral.
If your brand or niche has an upcoming event where your potential audience is more likely to be online, consider timing your Reels to fit with that, or look at other influencers’ posting schedules to see how they’ve maximized viewing times for audience engagement.
10. Focus on a Niche
When you’re trying to go viral, it can be tempting to join every trend that comes along. You might think the more trends you’re part of, the better chance you have of being noticed. But this might end up disappointing your audience if the trends you’re posting aren’t related to the content you promised. And if you’re flooding people’s feeds with your posts, they might get frustrated, making them less likely to engage with you.
Stay true to yourself and what you’re interested in or knowledgeable about. There’s a space for you on Instagram, and if you can’t find it, maybe it’s time for you to create one! Your audience can tell when you’re operating inside your niche and delivering content that is engaging, helpful, and authentic. They can also tell when the opposite is true. By working within your passions, you’ll have more energy and inspiration for creating content, even when you’re limited on time. Trust that your hard work and authenticity will be rewarded rather than sacrificing that to go viral.
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