Instagram Reels – 5 Quick Tips on How to Make Reels Go Viral

Ah Reels. Instagram seems to have a habit of riding on the coattails of everyone else and Reels is no exception. With the meteoric rise…


Ah Reels. Instagram seems to have a habit of riding on the coattails of everyone else and Reels is no exception. With the meteoric rise of TikTok in the last couple of years, Instagram got scared and started forcing everyone to either post videos or not get seen.

5 tips on how to make your instagram reels go viral

I actually don’t mind Reels, I enjoy creating videos and getting creative with them. In the beginning, it was easy to go viral as not many people were posting. I jumped on the bandwagon early and managed to go viral a few times which helped see my follower count increase exponentially!

I included Reels in my 10-Step Guide to Instagram as they are now fundamental to an Instagram content strategy. It is common knowledge that you literally won’t get anywhere on Instagram unless you post consistent Reels and it is getting increasingly hard to go viral. So, what do we do?

I’m forever seeing Instagram posts and Pinterest pins with headlines like “How to Go Viral in 5 Easy Steps…” I click on the link and it’s basically a run down of what we already know –

  • Make sure you’re creating content your followers love. Like, duh!
  • Concentrate on providing value for your followers. Well, if you’re not doing this already, you need to! And it’s pretty much the same as the above point
  • Have a call to action or CTA. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t feel like I have a connection with someone I follow, I won’t comment regardless of whether they put a CTA on their post or not. Which goes back to why building a community on Instagram is so important.

So, how do we make a post go viral??

1. Trends!

Stop everything else you’ve tried and concentrate solely on getting onboard with TRENDS!

The Seasonal Trend

What are we celebrating at that moment in time? I know we all get onboard with Christmas, Halloween and other big events, but what about all the smaller ones that can pass us by. Examples include; International Woman’s Day, National Cake Day (we all love cake right?) or Earth Day.

There are so many other trends, I could write a whole separate blog post on the topic. It’s quite easy to find out what everyone is talking about, just a quick scroll through your Reel feed will show you.

Everyone loves cake! Photo by Deva Williamson on Unsplash

The Controversial Trend

A big trend at the moment (especially in the interior world) seems to be “My husband told me not too…” and then they go buy that pink sofa or a pair of dungarees their husbands and boyfriends can’t stand. This tells me that people like controversy!!

It could be anything from telling people you don’t like Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday or didn’t enjoy Disney’s Encanto. Whenever I put a controversial subject in my caption, my comments are on fire!

I personally find it a little tiresome seeing the same thing over and over again. It seems to be stifling creativity and letting people be what they want to be. But, here we are with Instagram!

2. Viral Audio

And whilst we’re talking about controversy, I’m going to throw my 2 pennies in. Time and time again we see the experts telling us to choose a viral audio for our Reels (you can tell an audio has gone viral when it’s got a little arrow next to the tune at the bottom of a Reel).

I have never really had any success with this. In fact, the Reels that have gone viral for me are ones where I have matched the sound to whatever my video is about (whether they be trending audio or not).

For example, when I upcycled my Welsh Dresser, I created a Reel with a before and after slider and included the audio – Ariana Grande, Love Me Harder. Or when I posted about my favourite colourful paint projects and it started with the lyrics “living life in colour”. All my viral Reels have not included viral audio.

My welsh dresser upcycle that went viral on Reels with over a million views

Sure, viral audio probably does work for a lot of people and if you jump on the bandwagon early enough, it does have the potential to boost your Reel.

But I honestly believe that if you are going to use trending sounds, still try and make the Reel match the audio in some shape or form.

The problem with using Viral Audio is that EVERYONE is using it.

3. It’s Only Words

Including text in your Reels also seems to be a huge ratings winner. You need to start with a hook – using words that have impact at the beginning of your Reel so that audiences want to see more. Popular hooks can include – “How To …”, “Why I did …”, “You won’t believe …” etc.

“How-Tos” are particularly good at drawing an audience in and this tactic can be used in any niche. You could explain to your audience how you put an outfit together and include the clothing shops in text, you could explain the process of how you created a product or piece of art.

I do a lot of How-tos on my @melaniejadedesign Instagram account and they always get a lot of engagement.

4. Don’t be afraid to reinvent old reels

Or just post them again! I used to repurpose a lot of image posts back when still images were content gold. A popular picture of my green velvet sofa and gallery wall, which would regularly get 10,000+ likes, was always a rating winner every time I posted it. I might tweak the corner somewhat or just use the exact same photo; it didn’t seem to matter.

This image was always content gold on Instagram!

I am now seeing this with Reels. If you are lucky enough to have one Reel go viral, use it again! There are many accounts on Instagram that seem to have nailed this process with time lapses of a view out of the window on repeat or a quick 7 second video tour of a garden gaining some Instagrammers tens of thousands (if not 100s of thousands) of new followers.

There are over 1 billion users on Instagram so chances are 99.9% of the audience have not seen your Reel before!

5. Keep it short

This one just makes sense. I have always been one to explain the finer details and in the beginning, a lot of my Reels would be in excess of 30 seconds. But actually, when you started delving down into the analytics of the Reel, there would be a sharp turnaround of people moving onto the next Reel after around 3 to 4 seconds.

However, I’m not saying you should start creating Reels of 3 to 4 seconds. It seems to be that 7 is the golden number and I have seen plenty of people going viral by just saying that. Literally just posting a Reel or TikTok with words over their video saying “Use this audio and keep it to 7 seconds” and getting millions of views! I will never be able to fathom the world of social media…

It makes sense though. It’s all about ranking and how many people Instagram thinks it should show your content to. People watching Reels to the end and then playing it again ranks very highly in the Instagram algorithm world, it believes that your content is worthy of watching multiple times.

If your Reel is 6 or 7 seconds long, there’s a high chance people will watch to the end. Even if your Reel is crap and basically just telling people to watch it to the end. Ha.

Photo by June Aye on Unsplash

These are just a few of the many ways you can go viral with Reels on Instagram. Going viral has huge potential to increase your following and engagement and help with your brand awareness.

But, when it really comes down to it, creating consistently high-quality Reels is the only way to keep building your following.

It is increasingly difficult to be seen on Instagram so finding out what your audience loves is fundamental in your content creating strategy.

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