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Sep 08, 2020
Instagram Marketing

How to go Viral on Instagram Reels

Instagram’s new feature is exciting, and creators have welcomed it with open arms, but, how do you go viral on Instagram Reels?

Julia Cohen

Creators have embraced Instagram Reels with open arms, and since their release, we’ve seen users upon users post creative quick videos using the platform. And, Instagram Reels can be a great way to get your face out there, and grow your account quickly – that is, if you can manage to go viral. In this article, we cover how to go viral on Instagram reels, through a few quick tips.

How to go Viral on Instagram Reels

Topics and niche 💡

The first thing you want to decide is of course what your Reel is about. If it fits into a certain category within Instagram, whether it be comedy, cooking, or life advice, this is what will determine who is going to eventually be ‘served’ your Reel. As we know, Instagram’s algorithm uses machine learning technology to determine which posts it shows to which users, and this isn’t any different when it comes to Reels. This means it’s likely that the niche your Reel fits into will help determine exactly who sees it, and the more mass-appeal it has, the more likely you are to go viral. Remember this as you create your first few Reels. If your goal is to go viral, you’re going to want to ask yourself what would appeal to a large number of people, what would everyone ‘get’ and not have to be ‘in on the joke’ to understand? Some ideas to help frame your viral reels:

  • Post something topical that is being talked about and is relevant in popular culture today.
  • Craft your reel around life moments, activities, or struggles that people can relate to.
  • Check out some of the trends within your niche, and try one out for yourself.

Hashtags #️⃣

Just like all other Instagram content, you can use hashtags on Reels to categorize what you post. This is actually one of the key ways to get your Reels noticed because it signals to Instagram the topic area that you are posting in. With the platform’s added intel on its users and what they are into, it can then determine who to show your Reel to. So, just like you would with your other Instagram content, get specific when you pick which hashtags you want to use on your Reels so that they are served to the right people. Remember, Reels now also appear in hashtag searches, so if you manage to get your Reel to rank in a search, you’ve ‘reel-y’ hit the jackpot.

The limit for hashtags is the same when it comes to Reels, but most users opt for around 3-10. This is likely a reflex learnt from TikTok, and not for any reason in particular. You can use the maximum of 30 without worrying about parts of your video not being visible, as if your caption is on the longer side, Instagram will collapse it to fit their format – meaning users will physically have to expand your caption to see it in full.

Pay attention to your existing metrics 📈

The analytics surrounding your account that you have already amassed can be invaluable when it comes to your Reels. You should pay attention to when your audience is the most active, and examine which Reels gain the most traction according to the time and day that you post them. 

You can also look at your hashtag metrics to up the chances of your Reel appearing in a hashtag search. If you have a high-Rank Ratio for a specific hashtag, it’s a good idea to use that hashtag on your Reel as it betters your chances of ranking.

Accumulate momentum 🗣

The most important time for the growth of a Reel is directly after you’ve posted it, so you want to do what you can to give it the momentum it needs to go viral. The first hour is key because it lets Instagram know how popular that Reel is likely to be, thus determining whether it should be searched to a larger audience or not. The quicker your Reel gets views, the more people that will see it, so make sure to implement these best practices when you post:

  • Share your Reels on your Stories to gain initial traction from your existing followers.
  • If you have a TikTok, share your Reels (or the first half of your Reel) here too, and direct people to your Instagram page.
  • Encourage your followers and friends to share your Reel. This is one of the top tactics when gaining virality on Instagram Reels, as larger groups of people initially view it at once.
  • Post at a time that has consistently performed well for you in the past – so you know your followers are receptive and more likely to watch.
  • Tag anyone relevant. If you are featuring a brand, tag them. If you are posting a comedy reel, tag your favorite meme account. The more people you share it with, the better!
  • Share your Reels to your feed, so that if people aren’t watching your Stories, they can see it here.

Utilize trending music 🎵

If Instagram knows an audience is receptive to a trend, its algorithm will serve more of those videos, to more users – that’s technically how it becomes a trend. One of the ways the platform can pick up on this is by the number of times users are putting a certain track on their videos. If a sound or song is being used consistently on a number of different people’s Reels, that song will show in the recommended section of tracks. If you use one of these popular tracks, you have a greater chance of reaching new followers and viewers, and in turn, going viral.

BONUS TIP: You can use templates on your Reels 🤳

Because people really care about the aesthetics of their feed, a feature like Reels can make it hard for creators to understand how to incorporate it with the rest of their posts. Some choose not to share it to their feed but could be missing out on the chance to go viral by doing so.

One of the ways to make your Reels fit with your aesthetic is by using templates and filters that match with the rest of what you post. Some great apps to use are:

  • VSCO
  • Colour Story
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Presets
  • Instagram’s AR filters

We hope you gained some insights on how to go viral using Instagram Reels. We can’t wait to see what you create! If you want to explore how to use the best hashtags to help you go viral, just click on the banner below.

how to go viral on instagram reels

Find, manage and analyze Instagram hashtags for your posts.


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