How To Use Instagram Reels To Grow On Instagram

A picture of the Instagram logo and the Instagram Reels logo

Have you been wondering what Reels really are on Instagram, and how you can use them to grow? Well, in this article, I will give you tips that Instagram itself has shared to grow your profile.

To those unaware of what Reels are, they are basically Instagram’s answer to TikTok. They are a section on the app found in the bottom middle tab. As you can see, they hinted heavily at how important they consider Reels to be. They put it right in the middle!


A man using an iPhone to like his own Instagram picture
Photo by Sara KurfeƟ on Unsplash


Instagram themselves have said that “The Reels Algorithm is designed to push newer and smaller creators”. What more evidence do you need to realize how beneficial Reels can be!?

Read this list and find out the best 5 ways to use Reels to your advantage! Want to learn how to grow your account in order ways before fully diving into Reels? Check out the how to unfollow everyone who isn't following you on Instagram!

USE INSIGHTS IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WORKS AND WHAT DOES NOT


A woman looking at her Instagram business analytics with her phone in her right hand
Photo by Georgia de Lotz

There is no telling how good a video will do. The algorithm does reward watch time and shares over everything else. Keeping this in mind, make your videos so that the people watching them have a reason to watch them. For example, a caption telling the viewer to stay to the end of the video or hiding a quick message or picture that lasts for a moment, which would make a curious user rewatch the Reel.

Instagram, very recently, updated the app to add insights for Reels. This is a wonderful addition that will finally let users see and analyze their Reels’ performance.


A picture of a laptop on a table showing various insights and analytics
Photo by Carlos Muza

A decent way to see if they are performing well is to check the number of watches vs the number of people who watched it. A ratio of watches that is higher than the number of people who watched it means people are replaying the Reel. Instagram will push this video out to more and more users, which is exactly what you want.

Another classic avenue to see if your Reels are good is to just see how many people watch them in general. Lower views are bad, higher views are good. Use the aspects of the videos with higher views on your next reels. It is a bit of an experiment, have some fun with it!

 

USE HASHTAGS THAT FIT WHAT YOUR REEL IS ABOUT


An iPhone with the homescreen open
Photo by Rahul Chakraborty

Hashtags are tremendously powerful and the most reliable way to grow on Instagram. They are the old and traditional avenues of discovery. To this day, they are probably the best, second behind Reels.

You will want to sprinkle hashtags that are very popular, some that are decently popular, and some hashtags that do not have many posts. You can use up to 30, but I personally do not recommend it. Using all the allotted tags uglies up a post and you will eventually have to start reaching hard for them to fit your picture.


Two men pointing and gesturing at a phone
Photo by Luis Villasmil

Instagram can detect what your image is about and can detect the quality of it as well, so make sure not to overdo it on the hashtags. Some hashtags can also become banned, which can lead to your post being hidden as well! Be careful, but do not let that deter you from tagging your pictures in good conscience.

SPECIFICALLY CREATE CONTENT FOR REELS


The Instagram logo on a box with a black background
Photo by Alexander Shatov

Like Tiktok, the short-form videos create a more personable atmosphere. Reels benefit not from professional quality production, but the production quality of a video you would send to a friend.

Content that is retrofitted to fit the Reels format is therefore not desirable, and content that is specifically created to be a Reel would be the best option for you.

If you have spent as much time on Tiktok as I, you would know that close-up shots of your face with informal language perform the best on the platform. This translates almost one-to-one to Instagram’s Reels.  Add in a bit of comedy and you have a golden recipe for a Reel that will reach a considerable amount of people.


An image of an iPhone that is taking a picture of New York City's Time Square area


Remember, people’s attention spans are short, and nowadays this is more evident than ever before. The average attention span fell from 10 seconds to 8 seconds, a 25% decrease in only a few years. Aim for snappy videos that throw in a new stimulus in your target audience’s face quickly, lest they get bored, and keep on scrolling for that next dopamine hit.

POST 3 OR MORE REELS A WEEK


A man using a computer, an Apple iMac
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Posting a lot is extremely important to generate an organic and captive audience. This goes doubly so for Reels. Through my own experimentation, I have received 500+ views on each Reel that I have posted this week in about a day. The views slow down considerably almost to a standstill after Instagram decides your Reel’s hay day is over with. I have only posted 3, yet that adds up to 1800 views. The more you post, the more people see your content, the more people share or view it, and the more Instagram’s algorithm is encouraged to promote it.

Virality is a never-ending cycle if you are smart about it, and you are only one viral Reel from having your life be changed forever.

USE A CALL TO ACTION


A sign that has the words Follow me on top of car

This is a bit more of a psychological tip than anything else. People respond to being instructed to do a task. Many studies have shown huge percentage increases in engagement when a call to action is used. One study displayed a 211% increase in click-through rate from not having a call-to-action to including one, two simple words, “see demo”.

Simple calls, such as “stay to the end of the Reel!” or, “follow for more content like this” can improve the amount of engagement you will get. It does not take much effort yet gives results.

  

A book page with the letters word "Step" being circled with a highlighter
Photo by Clayton Robbins


Using this short guide, I hope you can increase your Instagram growth using its new Reel feature. Keep in mind, that while Reels and Tiktok are very similar, they are two different companies and platforms. Where one thing might work on the other, it is not always a 100% translation, so to speak.

However, most of the explore page on the Reels section is reposted Tiktok content. You can see that they are very similar. So, while they might not be clones of each other, they are basically one and the same.

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