7 Tips To Get Your Instagram Reels To Go Viral

Week by week it seems there’s another Instagram update to keep on top of. Did you guys notice the redesign of the user interface? When you tap the camera icon on your feed page to post – you’re presented with the Reels and Story areas before being able to post to the feed.

Before this update, this icon took you directly to the area to post to the feed. It’s almost hard to find where to post on your regular feed now! Using Facebook’s Creator Studio takes away this struggle and I strongly recommend you begin using it to schedule your posts. If you’re not already using this free tool, take a look at my video on how to use it:

Another change that’s happened very quickly is the Instagram Reels function, which was a recent addition to the platform, went from a 15-second video capacity to 30.

If you’ve not checked out Instagram Reels yet, you need to get to it. Instagram is giving some crazy good traffic to accounts that are using the new function. As I mentioned in my video a few weeks back, you get around 3-4x more views on Instagram Reels than you do for a regular feed post.

As of the date I’m writing this, as more people begin to use Reels, the less advantageous it will be. So take action today!

If you haven’t already checked out my video on how musicians should use Instagram Reels, I went through some great strategies that will help you with your content creation, as well as a tutorial on how to actually post Reels too.

However, in this post, I want to give you some more Reels strategies. Focusing on how to get the Reels to go viral, I’m outlining some hacks to keep in mind that can drastically improve your results

  1. Push Reels to Your Feed

When sharing your Reel, be sure to select the button that says “Also share to feed”. This will push the content to your followers via your regular feed as well as the Reels feed.

This will give you a higher chance of getting seen on the Explore page as your follower’s views will crank up the views, likes, comments and shares numbers which are vital to the algorithm deciding the placement of a post on Explore.

As Instagram is proritising Reels content at the moment, they will give real estate to the users that are using the feature over those only using the feed to post content.

This means that you can also reach more people who aren’t currently following you, as well as those that already are. 

You’ll notice that while scrolling through Instagram, every X amount of posts are ads and every X post is a Reel. 

However, far too few people are sharing Reels in comparison to regular posts  – so you’re able to get good visibility amongst your own followers by appearing in those Reels spots that Instagram is pushing out to everybody’s feeds regularly.

This visibility will then drastically increase your visibility outside of your own followers too. Its a win-win situation. This helps to move your content on to the Explore page and can trend the different hashtag top posts.

2. The Hook

The hook refers to the part of a video that will spark interest in viewers, where you’ve done or said something that looks/sounds shocking or exciting, etc.

As people scroll endlessly through hundreds of videos per day, you need to start your videos with something to hook people in. They need to know within a couple of seconds if a video is interesting/exciting/shocking enough for them to spend more time watching the whole thing.

Instagram measures the time people spend looking at your content as well as the interactions. So you want people to stick around for the entirety of any video you post; whether that’s Reels, IGTV, feed videos, etc.

Structure your videos so it begins with the hook, then begin the video from start after that. Pull them in then present the rest of the content.

For example, you could hook in with “THIS is how I accomplished X!”. Then proceed to show the steps.


3. Add Text in the Middle and Beginning

Instragram Reels videos are typically shown in the feeds without sound when a user is scrolling. That’s why on IGTV it’s becoming more common to add headlines and subtitles to get people to put the sound on.

When it comes to Reels, you need to add text directly in the middle area that sums up the value or purpose of the video.

So when someone scrolls the feed, all videos are typically without sound. That’s why on IGTV it is becoming more common to add headlines and subtitles to get people to turn the sound on. 

When it comes to Reels, you need to add text that sums up the value and purpose of the video. By adding this text and placing it in the middle, you are sending information to the viewer what the video is all about, so they turn the sound on and watch it. 

A good way to use overlays on Reels is to tell a story with text and video/images. Wherein every scene you sum up the value in text. This will help the viewer absorb the information and there’s a higher chance they will stay to the end – and even watch it again. 

You are feeding the brain tons of value both through video and text. By adding text you are also increasing the chances of them finishing the video and spending more time on the content which the algorithm favours massively.

4. Keep Sizing in Mind

Great, another sizing issue with Instagram. How long did it take us to understand the IGTV to feed sizing and the issues this brought… Now we have another.

Well, the same goes for Reels as it is IGTV. The format for Reels is different to the feed. This means when people view your Reels in the feed, they will see only 4:5 size of the 9:16 full screen Reels format.

So if you have spread the text overlay outside of the 4:5 zone (the core meat of the content) people will not be able to see this on their feed as it’ll be cut off til they open it full screen. 

With this in mind, when you start creating your Reels themes and how you want them to look, make sure you’re keeping all the main parts of the video as well as text/image overlays within a 4:5 ratio sized area directly in the middle.

5. Enable Interactions

This is the same concept as for any other content piece you post on the platform. You need to get people to interact with it. It is social media after all. 

Comments, likes, saves, shares are the goal with anything you post. It’s how your account grows and you attract new fans. 

For example, you could play a small melody and ask your audience what might be a good theme/subject for this song. Or a producer could play a beat and ask their audience who they think he sampled. Get them involved. 

Don’t just ask them in the caption, also add a text layer at the end with the question so you can really get them involved. The simple way is to ask for a double tap, but start getting more creative and start generating valuable comments on your content. 

If you can get people writing several words in the comments, the Instagram algorithm will reward this. They track everything. They even know that emoji replies are all too common and don’t provide value or conversations; so they’re not considered good comments. 

Let’s start giving a bit more value and personality!

6. Use Hashtags

All your other content is beginning to drown in hashtags as they’re becoming so overused on feed content. It’s hard to get traffic through hashtags noawadays.

However, on Reels it’s a different story right now. Since there’s not many content creators using the function as often as they are posting on the feed; there’s much less competition amongst the hashtags so the results are pretty good.

This means there’s a good chance that you can begin trending on some pretty big hashtags used on your Reels post.

However, the hashtags still need to be relevant and carefully chosen so they’re appropriate for the type of Reels you’re posting.

If you’re a music producer and share a Reel of your music-making process; using the hashtag #cat is not going to help you at all.

Look through what’s trending right now and where you fit in to those categories and see how many interactions they’re getting. If you get around the same amount of interactions on your Reel, then you’ve got a high chance of reaching the top post of the hashtags. Pretty cool, right?

Start doing some strategic research of some hashtags and add a mixture of large, medium and small hashtags so you can reach a wide range of audiences scrolling through the tags. It’s best to boss the smaller ones before you set your sights on conquering the huge ones.

7. Upload a Cover

Whenever anyone scrolls your feed or your Reels feed you want to get them to click, right? 

By adding a nice cover that sums up the value of the post, with an image and headline similar to what you do on Youtube, it will entice people to tap your post to view.

Use Canva to easily create covers and start playing around with themes. If someone is scrolling through the home feed or hashtag pages and your Reels come up with a clear thumbnail image, there’s a much higher chance they will click on it. 

Yes, there are places where they won’t see your thumbnail. For example, if someone scrolls on the home feed or if they are going through the Reels feed already – the thumbnail doesn’t show.

A good tip here is to just use a screen shot of the first few seconds of your Reel, where you have the hook, and preferably some text layer too so it’s immediately obvious what the video is about.

Make it engaging so people want to click. If you have time to create beautiful thumbnails using Canva every time you post, go for it, but most people won’t have that time for a Reel, it’s understandable. 

So try to plan your first few seconds on your Reels carefully with a hook, add text, and take a screenshot. And you are good to go! 

If you follow all of these steps you may have the chance of becoming one of Instagram´s featured Reels videos. 

Where you will then be assigned the featured “logo” or stamp of approval from Instagram. This shows other users that your content is good which in turn will start generating some serious views. 

Anyone out there received this yet? Let me know.

What do you need help with on Instagram? Would you like some content ideas you can make on Reels as a musician perhaps? Again, drop me a DM or leave a comment on Instagram.

Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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