It’s the short-form video format that’s forever changed how we create and consume video—on social media platforms and in general.
If you’re not creating and publishing Instagram Reels, you’re falling behind. This guide will discuss three crucial reasons your brand needs a Reels presence. Plus, we’ll share 20 creative tactics to help you get more Instagram Reels views.
Why you should publish Instagram Reels
So first, why should you post reels on Insta? In the brand’s own words:
“Reels is the ideal place for brands to get discovered on the global stage, to express themselves with more creativity and fun, and can play a powerful role in crafting compelling narratives that drive excitement, engagement, and awareness.”
Here are three key reasons to keep in mind
1. It’s what the Instagram algorithm wants
If you haven’t been paying attention, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced that all video content on the platform would be a Reel moving forward.
Previously, Instagram has had IGTV, Instagram Stories, regular in-feed videos, and the like. But now, all videos are going to be Reels. Reels are a priority, and whether you know how or not, if you’re posting videos on Insta, it will now be a Reel.
Instagram Reels are what will show up on your Instagram feeds more. If you’ve been an Instagram marketer for any amount of time, you definitely know this much already—what the algorithm wants, the algorithm gets.
So, if you want to one-up the Instagram algorithm, Reels are where it’s at.
2. Attract new followers via the explore page
The explore page on Instagram isn’t a new feature. Like always, showing up on the explore page is the holy grail of Instagram engagement.
Engaging, interesting Reels videos on the Instagram explore page can boost your Instagram Reach considerably. It means more exposure for your content and could attract a host of brand new followers to your Instagram account.
3. Make money
With Instagram prioritizing Reels, it’s also creating new ways for content creators to monetize their content. One of these ways is Reels Play.
According to @creators, Reels Play is “a bonus that earns money based on your reels’ views.” The more plays your Reels get, the more you can earn.
If you’re a content creator, this is excellent news. It’s even more of an incentive to put effort into creating creative, unique Reels.
20 creative ways to up your Instagram Reels views
Ready to get cracking on Reels and boost those video views on your Instagram account?
Below are some of our best hacks and strategies to make people stop scrolling and actually view your Reel. To be honest, there’s no big secret to this. Much of the advice below relates to creating awesome, fun content for your Reels, which, at the end of the day, is still the best way to up your engagement and views on Instagram Reels.
Before you get started, check out this post from the Instagram @creators account that shares the best practices for creating Reels content that gets recommended by the Instagram algorithm in places like the Reels tab. The advice—straight from the horse’s mouth—is “to have the best shot at being discovered, follow our latest best practices.”
1. Create original content
Original content that’s of high quality is the name of the game—not just for Instagram Reels but for all social media content in general. Additionally, high-quality content is also a priority for the Insta gods.
As always, create Reels content that’s valuable and interesting for your audience. Try to put your own take on things instead of just regurgitating what everyone else is doing. Be original, be creative. Make the most of Reels features to create videos your audience will engage with.
Plus, remember that while repurposing content for various social media channels is a good idea—be aware of some drawbacks. Instagram has been pretty clear (and brutal) about the fact that recycling your TikTok content on Instagram isn’t quite going to make the cut. So feel free to post the same content if it makes sense, but make sure you make the content native to Insta.
According to this post on the @Creators account:
“We’ve also heard that low video quality reels (i.e. blurry due to low resolution) or content that is visibly recycled from other apps (i.e. contains logos or watermarks) makes the Reels experience less satisfying. So, we’re making this content less discoverable in places like the Reels tab.”
Translation: We don’t like TikTok. Don’t post content with the TikTok watermark! 😉
2. Be engaging
So leading on from the previous point, when you create content for your Reels, focus on making it engaging. No matter what type of content you create—whether it’s a product how-to or a behind-the-scenes of an event—your first thought should always be, “is this interesting/valuable to my audience?”
If the answer is a no, don’t bother creating that Reel. Focus your energies elsewhere. If the answer is a yes, then go forth and create away. In addition to your content’s topic, use Reels features like polls, stickers, trending audio, and more to truly draw your followers in.
Engaging, interactive content brings results. The more your audience engages with your content, the more the algorithm sees it as a positive signal to boost your reach. More reach = more views.
3. Hop on trending topics, formats, and audio tracks
One of the most fun things about Reels is the various trends creators come up with. Use trending topics, formats, and audio tracks to create your content.
Trending sounds are especially popular on Reels. Once a sound goes viral, you’ll see many creators, influencers, and other accounts using it. If it works for your brand, don’t be afraid to hop on board and put your own spin on it.
Using a trending sound is a good idea because when many users interact with the same sound, the algorithm sees it as something interesting and engaging. It then begins to surface more content on the Reels feed that uses the same sounds.
While it’s important to keep up with the trends, as we mentioned above, be unique. Do your own thing. Put your own twist on popular trends. For every trending format or audio track, think about how you could creatively apply it to your brand or industry. This is more likely to be fun and engaging for your audience than the same-old trend they’re seeing everyone else do on Instagram.
To keep up with what’s trending, be sure to follow the @creators account on Instagram. They regularly post a Reels trend report with an update on the latest trend and music that’s popular on the platform. You can also follow what other influencers and content creators are doing and learn from them.
4. Leverage transitions
Since the very early days of Reels, if there’s anything Instagram users love to see in a Reel, it’s a fun transition.
Transitions aren’t new to those who’ve been making videos for a while. Reels just make perfect use of them. They keep users engaged and interested in what’s about to happen next.
Keep an eye on popular Reels to see which transitions styles are trending or popular.
5. Remix other content
Another popular unique-to-Reels feature is remixing. Remix allows Instagram users to use existing Instagram content and record a video in response to it. When you create a Remix, the original content usually appears on the left of the screen and your own video recording to the right.
Instagram content creators love remixing so much that the @creators account has even posted some engagement-sparking advice for it. Ideas include throwing it back, remixing outfit of the day (OOTD) photos, or even telling the backstory of a photo from your feed. All fun and very doable remixes.
6. Use Reels templates
Like a Reel you see and what to create something similar? Reels Templates is a feature designed to help you do just that.
It’s a new feature for content creators to “easily recreate a reel by simply adding and trimming your clips to the format of an existing reel.”
This Reels feature makes it much easier to spot a trend and jump on it quickly. It’s also helpful for brands and businesses with low time and resources for social media content creation but still want to stay in the game. Templates make it easy to put your own unique spin on popular Reels while saving you time.
Check out the post above for more Instagram tips on templates and how to best use them.
7. Lead with a Reel thumbnail
How you start your Reel matters. Plan your Reel, so you lead with a “hook,” i.e., something that hooks your viewers in and convinces them to keep watching the rest of your video.
Your hook can be something you say, a special effect, a facial expression, text, or even a thumbnail image. Instagram is a visual platform, so choosing the right thumbnail for your Reel can make a big difference. If it’s something eye-catching and engaging, it’s more likely to make users stop mid-scroll and actually watch your content.
When planning your content, think about what would make someone stop and pay attention to your video in a few seconds. Do that.
8. Make your Reels shoppable
Like the photos on your Instagram grid, you can also tag products in your Reels.
According to Instagram, “70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery.”
Instagram Shopping lets people shop your photos and videos no matter where they are in the app. Make your Reel shoppable by making the most of the product tags feature. It’s an awesome way to feature new products to your audience.
9. Use stickers and special effects
Stickers, special effects, and text over videos are synonymous with Reels.
Use these unique features in your Reels content if relevant and useful for your brand. It makes for a more engaging viewing experience for your audience. Plus, stickers and features like polls and questions invite interaction, significantly boosting your engagement.
In its best practice suggestions for creators, Instagram recommends using these creative tools in your Reels.
10. Incorporate subtitles or closed-captioning
You probably already know that many Instagram users watch videos with the sound off. Plus, many other users, such as the deaf, consume your video content but may not benefit from sound.
All your Reels must have subtitles of closed captions. Without this, those watching your content without sound are likely to lose out on valuable context. With captions, your video can still invite engagement and interaction—even when sound is turned off.
At the time of writing, Instagram creates auto-generated closed-captioning for all Instagram Reels. According to @creators, “we’re making the process of captioning content more seamless for creators while making Instagram more accessible for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, in addition to people who consume video with sound off.
11. Write great captions
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on Google greatly depends on creating good quality content. The same principle applies to Instagram as well. Your captions are full of keywords that tell the Instagram algorithm what your content is about.
Your Instagram captions matter. Don’t get so focused on the visual content that you forget to write a good caption to go with it. Some tips:
- Be intentional about the words you use and try to incorporate keywords relevant to your industry or niche
- Place the focus of your post at the beginning of your caption.
- Tell a story through your writing.
- Use emojis to add more personality, especially if it matches your brand voice.
- Experiment with long captions. Sometimes they’re more engaging (if well written) and can invite better interactions.
- Invite feedback or ask questions. Including your reader in the caption is a great way to invite engagement.
- Use bullet points and line breaks to break up big chunks of text
- Include calls to action so your listeners know exactly what to do after they’ve read your caption.
12. Use hashtags
Would any Instagram content be complete without hashtags?
Add relevant hashtags to your Reels to ensure they get the reach they deserve. They’re another vital factor of Instagram SEO. Hashtags are to Insta what keywords are to Google search. Using hashtags also helps with keyword search, so your Reel is more likely to show up when people search for a relevant topic.
These tags also help the Instagram algorithm better understand what your content is about.
13. Add a CTA
Calls to action should be a big part of all social media marketing strategies, including Instagram.
Whether you include a “click the link in bio” in your caption or include a link sticker within your content—your Reels should always have a CTA. They tell your viewers what action to take after they’ve finished watching your video.
When you drive viewers to double tap, click a link or take any other action, it helps garner even more engagement on your content.
14. Do more of what’s working
Whether it’s behind the scenes or tips or product updates—if there’s a particular type of content your target audience seems to love—create more of it. Just do more of what’s working.
Keep an eye on your Instagram Reel analytics to see which content performs best. If your audience seems to like something, think of how you can create more of it to keep them interested and coming back for more. Just be careful not to become too repetitive; otherwise, you’ll lose the benefits of the content.
15. Repurpose other social media content
You probably spend a lot of time creating a lot of social media content on a lot of platforms. While we don’t recommend cross-posting the same account on different platforms, we DO recommend repurposing it.
If a particular tweet performs well. Save it, screenshot it, and recreate it to share on Instagram Reels in a relevant way. Or, if a how-to blog post is doing well among your customers, it could also be great fodder for Reels content.
You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Look at your content across multiple channels and think of creative ways to repurpose content you’ve already published elsewhere or evergreen content.
Evergreen content, in particular, is precisely that—evergreen. It’s always relevant. Make the most of it, repurpose it, Remix it if you can/want, and share it on Reels.
16. Collaborate with other content creators
Collaborations on Instagram can be beneficial for driving engagement and boosting your reach. It’s highly recommended by Meta too:
“Partner with creators to tell your brand story in new and fresh ways. Collaborating with influencer voices drives more engagement, authenticity, and awareness. Campaigns that include Branded Content ads saw +123% lift in awareness, +112% lift in association, and +67% lift in consideration and motivation, showing that creators can help boost brand impact.”
17. Keep up with TikTok
Needless to say, Tiktok can also be a great source of inspiration for your Reels. After all, TikTok revolutionized this video format, and many of your customers may be hanging out on both platforms.
Many of the same trends and audio tracks make their way to Instagram a few weeks later. If you’re up-to-date with what’s hot on TikTok, you could actually be an early adopter and hop on the trend wagon early and beat the competition.
18. Post at the right time
Your Instagram followers are probably more active at certain times of the day (or night.) Find this information via your analytics or insights data and leverage it to post your Reels content at the optimal time.
Posting your Reels at a time when your audience is most active makes them more likely to see and engage with them.
19. Share consistently
Want to really see results from your Instagram Reel efforts? Keep at it.
You can’t create one Reel and expect to shake things up. To truly get the most out of the viral benefits of Reels, you have to post consistently.
Your first attempts may not be successful, but don’t give up. Experiment with your content. Use effects and transitions. Don’t be afraid to be more casual in approach than your main feed.
A consistent and creative approach to Reels will take you far and get you noticed by your audience.
20. Make use of Reels tools
Reels come with plenty of great built-in features and tools to help you create high-quality video content. But if you want to take it a step further, some third-party tools may come in very handy as well.
Canva is also one of those great design tools that go hand-in-hand with Instagram content. Canva templates, font effects, and other tools can be super valuable to create your Reels content—even if you’re not an expert video content creator. Check out these Canva hacks from @taylor.loren and @reelstips:
There are also a host of video editing tools, analytics software, social media management platforms, and more that can help make the Reels content creation and publishing process easier and more streamlined.
The must-have Reels tool: Sked Social
Of course, the number one Reels tool you need is Sked Social. That’s us. We’re biased, of course, but not without reason.
Sked Social makes planning and organizing your Reels content calendar a breeze. Plus, you can also bulk-upload your content and schedule your Reels ahead of time. Say goodbye to ad hoc, chaotic posting. Say hello to the new, organized you.
Take Sked for a 7-day free trial spin, and we’re confident you’ll love it.