How To Create Viral Instagram Reels [7 Must-Know Tips]
Ever wondered what it takes to make a show stopping, jaw dropping Instagram Reel?
You know, the kind of Reel that people love to watch and rewatch. The kind of Reel that gets a TON of likes, engagement, and possibly more followers?
I recently had a Reel on Instagram go viral and I’m excited to tell you about it.
To date, that post has 103k views, 8477 likes, 73 comments and has brought in close to 1000 new followers (and counting) on its own.
3 weeks on and I am still getting engagement from my reel. It’s been really exciting and I’m even more excited to share with you the lessons learned from creating a viral Reel as well as some helpful tips that you can use to create Reels that get crazy engagement and possibly go viral on Instagram too.
What Is An Instagram Reel?
Reels are new hot thing in social media. Instagram describes reels as a way to “create and discover short, entertaining videos on Instagram.”
It’s a video feature on Instagram that allows users to share videos up to 15 seconds in length. You can pair your video with audio, effects and other creative tools of your choice. As a content creator, using reels is currently the best way to show off your personality and connect with your audience on Instagram.
In case you’re wondering, Reels are basically Instagram’s answer to TikTok.
I Accidentally Went Viral On Instagram (Using Reels)
On April 13th 2021, I created a reel sharing 5 biblical affirmations to build your confidence.
It was a spur of the moment idea. I filmed and edited the video just minutes before posting.
Without my ring light and regular filming equipment to amp up the quality of my video, I felt a bit embarrassed about the content I had created. In fact, the only reason I eventually shared the video was that I was taking part in an Instagram reels challenge with other members of The eBrand Club (an online group on entrepreneurs that I’m a part of).
I was excited to be a part of the challenge and also to have others hold me accountable. So I shared the Reel to keep the commitment that I had made.
I went about my day, not thinking much about it.
I was shocked when I started to see the notifications roll in. They were slow at first. It was about a week in when it dawned on me that this particular post was performing better than any of my other posts on Instagram to date. I was still getting engagement over a week after posting. Wild- As Instagram engagement typically starts to drop off about 3 days after your last post.
The week I shared this reel was my first week at a new job. As I’m sure you can relate, starting a new job often comes with its challenges. Having to learn a whole new skillset, adapt to a new environment and new colleagues is a task of its own.
I had been praying to God about this and the scriptures that kept coming back to me are the ones that I shared in the reel.
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made
- I am more than a conqueror
- Greater is he who is in me than he who is in the world
- All things are working for my good
- He has equipped me for every good work
I share this because this video was incredibly personal to me. Confidence is something that I am constantly working on and using scripture-based affirmations as a tool to build my confidence is a practice that I’ve engaged in for some time.
This reel was a way for me to encourage others who may be going through similar situations and who just need a little reminder of God’s promises as a pick me up for their life.
I guess as personal as this post was for me, it resonated with a lot of people.
Lessons Learned From Going Viral On Reels
Lesson 1- You Cannot Plan What Goes Viral And What Doesn’t
If I had known this particular post would go viral, I would have not been so scared when I posted it. In fact, I almost didn’t share it because it didn’t meet the Instagram aesthetic that I usually try to go for. It was filmed in dim light and I was exhausted after a long second day at my new job.
Lesson 2- Perfection Is The Enemy Of Progress
If I let the fact that the post was imperfect stop me, I wouldn’t have seen the Instagram growth that I see today. As I reflect on other peoples reels, I realized that the reels that do well are not always the most polished and perfect looking reels.
Lesson 3- Strategy Is Not The Most Important Thing Afterall
It’s important to have a strategy for your content. However, my viral reel was not a post that fits into my content strategy. It was a post that I simply felt like sharing.
This has led me to re-evaluate my approach to sharing content. While I maintain that strategy is important, I think that in order to humanize your content, there needs to be a bit of leeway given to content that you share just for the sake of it.
Lesson 4- Know What Works On Instagram
In order to get favoured by the Instagram algorithm, you need to play by their rules. We know that the algorithm usually favours its newest features. Reels, being one of the most recent additions to Instagram is highly favoured at the moment.
The fact that the post that went viral on Instagram was a reel was not a coincidence.
How To Go Viral Using Instagram Reels
As I reflect on my own experiences and study the results of other successful Instagrammers, here’s what you need to do to go viral on Instagram Reels.
- Share your reels on the Instagram grid
- Immediately share your reel on Instagram stories
- Incorporate your humor and personality
- Jump on current trends + use popular music
- Add related hashtags
- Add a call to action
When you create your reel, you’ll have the option to either share your reel on its own or add it to your Instagram grid.
Some people choose not to add the reel to their grid because it can throw off their aesthetic.
More and more, Instagram is showing us that aesthetics doesn’t matter as much as it once did. By adding your reel to your grid, people can see it easily as soon as they come on your profile.
This is a strategy that you can use with all Instagram posts to get engagement quickly. Most people are scrolling through their stories more than they are scrolling down the feed. This means that they are more likely to see the link to your reel in your stories if you show it there first.
The Instagram algorithm favors content that is already getting engagement. If you are able to get the initial burst in engagement from your stories, Instagram will make your content visible to even more people.
Tip #3- Incorporate Your Sense Of Humor & Personality
Instagram content that shows your face tends to do better than any other type of content. In line with this, you should always try to incorporate your humor and personality. This helps your audience to form an even stronger connection with you.
Tip #4- Jump On Current Trends & Use Popular Music
At its core, Instagram reels are all about staying current on trends as they happen. If you can jump on a trend while it is still hot, you are more likely to be able to catch the wave.
I have found that my reels are more successful when I use music that other influencers were using.
However, the secret to getting a reel to take off is to find a balance. If you use a song that is too popular, you can get lost in the sea of content. You get the best results when you are one of the first few to jump on that trend. Anyone else looking to use the same song in the future will see your content.
Hashtags work for reels in the same way that they work for regular Instagram posts. Hashtags help Instagram to sort and organize your post. When people search for a particular hashtag, they will see all the posts that use the hashtag. To help your reels do better, use hashtags that are relevant to your post.
Try to find a balance between hashtags that are popular and those that aren’t over-saturated.
Tip #6- Use The Element Of Surprise
When you’re creating your reel, try to think of ways to add the element of surprise. This is really what takes your reel from boring to the next level.
You can do this using effects and transitions. There are so many to choose from. Start by watching your favorite reels and take note of what they are doing well.
When done well, people feel inclined to watch and re-watch your reel.
Tip #7- Add A Call To Action (CTA)
Don’t forget to include a call to action at the end of your reel. Your call to action can be anything you would like. It’s a great way to get more engagement. You’d be surprised how many people enjoy watching reels but forget to like the post and read the caption unless you tell them to.
Instagram reels can be quite time consuming and difficult to get a hang of, but once you do it is a great way to engage your audience and grow your following organically on Instagram.
I hope you found these tips helpful.
What other ways have you been using reels to grow on Instagram? Leave a comment below and share.
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