I have and always will love taking photos of my home and looking at photography of interiors and home décor.
I love to be able to stop and take all the details in, giving me lots of inspiration for my own home. That’s not to say that Instagram Reels do not give me inspiration!
With Meta now putting priority on Instagram Reels, I started posting still images less and less. I am constantly told by my audience that they prefer to see stills, but the engagement on them would suggest otherwise.
Setting up a still shot can often take an hour or two. I have to tidy the space, to begin with (shock horror! My house does not represent the clean and tidy space you see on Instagram, I have two small kids after all #instasham).
I then have to style the space which often means bringing in items that aren’t already in the room, taking the photos, editing the photos and repeating if necessary.
Once I am happy with the shot, I upload it to Instagram, think of an engaging caption and add the 30 hashtags.
So, with all of this in mind, why would I spend time and effort creating a post for Instagram to shun it and my followers either not see it, or decide to not engage with it?
As I said, people are very vocal about preferring still photography, but my insights would suggest the complete opposite!
I decided to swap to a mainly Instagram Reel lead account back in March 2022 with a still image becoming few and far between. In fact, for the last 4 months, I have posted Instagram Reels only as still images were relegated to the back of the queue.
Over the last 4 months, posting Instagram Reels consistently has given me the opportunity to experiment with different formats and find out what my audience (and an audience of potential new followers) liked best.
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I get asked “how often should I post on Instagram” and “what is best for Instagram engagement?” a lot but there is no definitive answer. The goal posts are forever changing, so posting Reels only helped me build a better Instagram Reel strategy.
Here’s what I found –
Instagram Reels are the best way to find new followers
FACT. There’s no denying it, when a Reel goes viral it can bring tens of thousands of new followers your way.
When I had a Reel hit over the million views mark recently, my account grew by over 10,000 followers in just over 2 weeks. Your Reel will get pushed out to the Instagram Reel tab where it doesn’t matter if you are following accounts or not.
Instagram will show you Reels based on who you’re following and what you engage with and show you more.
With that algorithm in play, your Reels will be shown to people who already like and follow accounts that do similar things, so they should follow and stay a follower.
One of the questions I get asked the most is how to grow Instagram followers and Reels is your answer!
If a format works for you, keep using it
A bit like how a still image would go viral so you would post that image again or a variation of it. It didn’t matter how many times you posted this image, it would always get a huge reception.
Instagram Reels are the same.
I like to use the Instagram Reels feature “Use Template” a lot. It is a really quick way to create a Reel and is often accompanied by viral music. Fortunately, this feature also happens to be some of my best posts.
People like it when I post a quick snapshot of my home or do a stop motion of a room. So, I will keep posting these kinds of Reels until they no longer do well. Why wouldn’t you?
Don’t delete an underperforming Reel. They always have the potential to pick up
It can be so disheartening when you’ve worked really hard on creating content and making a Reel, only for that Reel to completely bomb.
I’ve had it several times and you’re left scratching your head as to why it hasn’t performed.
It could be all manner of reasons; it’s a sunny day so people are out and enjoying real life! Shock horror! So, they’re not looking at their phones.
Maybe it wasn’t a particularly engaging Reel so not many people responded to it. Therefore, Instagram decided not to push it out to more people.
Or maybe it was just a bit crap! Haha.
I used to take down Reels that had performed particularly bad.
That was until I had a Reel that went viral recently. It was a stop-motion reel and I loved it. It took me a while to put together and I was really proud of it, but it just didn’t get the views I hoped for.
A couple of weeks later, I realised that I was getting an influx of new followers and I couldn’t work out why. I then realised that this stop motion that I had forgotten about had suddenly picked up and was going viral.
Unless you think that a particular Reel wasn’t up to your normal standard, don’t delete it! It can always be a slow burner.
Don’t knock Facebook
Facebook is now the Grandad of social media. Personally, I am not a fan of the platform. I think it lost its way a long time ago and tried to become too many things (which, unfortunately, has had an effect on Instagram ever since it took over the app).
However, since Facebook has started showing Reels on their app, I have noticed that some of my Reels can get 1000s of views from Facebook alone.
A reel that wasn’t gaining many views on Instagram, picked up on Facebook recently and doubled my views which brought in new followers.
Always share your Reels on Facebook!
It gets easier the more you do it.
I guess this saying can be applied to anything in life.
Reels definitely get easier the more you do them. When I was first posting Reels back in the summer of 2020, it would take me forever to think of an idea, film it, edit the reel and post it.
If you consistently post Reels, you work out what your audience likes so you can stick to that formula. It is then quicker and easier to create these Reels as you’ve done it numerous times before, picking up tips and quicker tricks along the way.
A lot of people still don’t like Reels!
Even though they’re here to stay, I am always coming across comments with people saying how they dislike Reels.
The problem is, the stats show the opposite and this is what Instagram and Mosseri were saying from the beginning. People enjoy short-form videos.
I’ve always enjoyed Reels and I still like still images. I think there is enough room for them both.
Unfortunately, Instagram no longer pushes still images so engagement will always be down on these kinds of posts.
The thing is, I get so many people saying how they dislike Reels, but when I post a still image it absolutely bombs. No one is engaging with it and this is even with still images that have been shown to over 40,000 people.
If you don’t engage with still images by liking and commenting on them, you are telling Instagram that you don’t like this kind of content so they will show it to you even less.
I know how people are always banging on about the algorithm, but you do have control over what you want to see to some extent.
So, if you want to see more stills, engage with them!
These are just a few things I’ve learnt since consistently posting Reels on Instagram.
It has helped me to establish how often I should post Reels, what my audience wants to see and what content has the potential to go viral.
Although, I have to say I do miss taking photos and posting them. It would seem that Instagram is starting to backpedal when it comes to photography (as of Nov 2022) and I am starting to see more beautiful still shots back on my feed.
Only time will tell what the next big thing will be!
More on Instagram…
Instagram Account – 7 things I wish I knew before I started
My 10 Step Guide to Instagram Success & Sustainable Growth