You already know that video content is dominating social media, and it’s quickly become a must for brands, businesses, and creators to share Reels on Instagram. But with more Reels being posted on the platform than ever before, it takes a strategic approach to stand out and drive deep engagement.
But how can you use Instagram Reels to expand your reach, boost your visibility and drive meaningful action from potential customers?
We’ve compiled a list of proven engagement-driving tricks to help you hack the algorithm and design Reels that stop viewers in their tracks.
Ready to rise about the rest with epic Instagram Reels? Keep reading to discover ten must-try ways to skyrocket your engagement.
Instagram Reels: Why should you use them?
The numbers don’t lie, with studies showing that Instagram Reels can deliver a 22% boost in engagement when compared to static Instagram posts.
In fact, Reels is now the only video content format available on Instagram, highlighting just how important this content format is for brands, businesses, and creators.
With Instagram doubling down on Reels, now is the time to harness the power of dynamic video to help your brand stand out and drive action from users. Plus, there are stacks of tangible benefits to including Reels in your social media marketing strategy. Let’s take a look:
• Boost your reach: Reels are key to helping new users discover your brand on Instagram. Not only is the Instagram algorithm prioritizing Reels content, but the Discover page is actively preferencing Reels and putting this content front and center.
• Showcase your brand personality: with their engaging, dynamic, and lighthearted nature, Reels provide the perfect opportunity to humanize your brand and showcase who you are (and what you stand for).
• Build trust with new audiences: the combination of short-form video and captions in Reels allows you to share valuable content with your audience, which can be used to build trust with potential customers.
• Grow your following organically: with huge scope for discoverability, Reels offer your brand the potential to go viral and increase your following (and tap into a valuable new customer base).
• Harness the power of trending formats and sounds: the best thing about Reels is that you can harness the engagement-driving potential of trending templates, transitions, and audio tracks to create truly engaging content (even as a beginner).
Ultimately, Reels are a must for any brand or business using Instagram as part of their marketing mix.
The 10 best hacks for boosting engagement on Instagram Reels
So, you’re ready to start creating and posting Reels. Now what? Set your brand up for success with these 10 epic hacks, designing to drive engagement and generate tangible results for your business on Instagram.
1. Lead with a strong hook
The truth is that the structure of your Instagram Reels is almost more important that the content of your Reels. Yep, it’s true.
That’s because it’s crucial to make them stand out, particularly in the first few seconds, to keep viewers engaged.
This is where the “hook” comes in: it should be attention-grabbing and make people want to see more. One method is to start with a teaser, and then build up to the main event.
Another way is to use a storytelling format where you create a narrative arc, keeping viewers engaged throughout the Reel, such as introducing a problem or challenge, and then showing how you solve it.
No matter what approach you take, remember the first few seconds are critical. So make sure your hook sets the stage for the rest of your content.
2. Use Reels templates to harness trending formats
A great way to capitalize on trending formats is by using an Instagram Reels template.
These pre-made layouts make it easy to create stand-out content that boosts engagement. Once you hit the ‘use template’ button on an existing Reel, all you have to do is upload a specific number of video clips and the Reel will instantly come to life (timed perfectly to a trending audio track, too).
With many options, from text overlays to more complex animations, there’s sure to be a template that’s right for your brand’s tone of voice. Plus, the best thing about templates is that they’re quick and easy to create.
Templates are a great way to ensure that your visuals sync perfectly with the audio. With these accurate transitions, the finished result is polished and professional, all within a few minutes.
3. Add hashtags to boost discoverability
When it comes to boosting reach, hashtags are a must on Instagram. These discoverable tags allow you to reach relevant new audiences and make your content searchable within the Instagram algorithm.
So, make sure you’re adding a curated selection of high-performing hashtags to every Reel you share.
Want a helping hand streamlining your hashtag selection process? Plann’s hashtag manager gives you to access thousands of handpicked hashtags, ready to save and share in your next Reel with ease.
It’s also important to strike a balance between including wider, well-known hashtags and more specific niche hashtags. You could even try creating your own branded hashtag to help community-building and encourage user-generated content.
4. Reshare Reels to your Story
Sharing your Instagram Reels to your Instagram story can increase your content’s visibility. The Story will be visible to your followers for 24 hours and is a great way to ensure your viewers are seeing your content.
If your followers aren’t served your Reel in their feed, adding and resharing this video to your story can boost the chances of it generating reach and engagements. It also gives your followers a more personal look at your content, which can help to build a stronger connection with them.
Plus by adding fun elements such as stickers and additional text you can offer an interactive way for your viewers to engage with your Reels content.
5. Include a compelling CTA
When it comes to increasing engagement and prompting action from viewers, including a compelling call-to-action (CTA) in your Instagram Reels is a must.
To make your CTA effective, it should be clear, concise, and relevant to the content of your Reel. For example, if your Reel is promoting a new product or flash sale, make sure your CTA makes it easy for viewers to shop for these products on your site.
Strategic placement of your CTA is important. Typically viewers expect to see it at the end of the video or as a text overlay.
6. Use native editing tools (and include trending audio)
Instagram tends to favor creators who jump on new trends and use Instagram’s features, including its built-in photo and video editing tools.
By editing your Reels within Instagram, you’ll increase the chances of Instagram boosting your visibility in its algorithm.
Thankfully, Instagram offers many ways to quickly edit your content. You can use pre-existing templates, overlay text, and interactive buttons to boost engagement, or even use trending audio tracks that are conveniently curated for users.
Quick tip: when selecting audio for your Reel, look for a track with a small upward tick next to it – this means it’s just starting to get popular! Want to keep up with the lasting trending audio on Instagram? Check out Plann’s list of trending sounds on TikTok and Instagram, updated weekly.
7. Optimize the cover photo
Your cover photo is the first thing viewers see when they land on your Instagram profile, so it needs to catch their attention and entice them to watch your Reel.
To optimize your cover photo, choose an image that is visually appealing and represents the content of your Reel. This could mean crafting a custom graphic in Canva (which you can do effortlessly in your Plann workspace) or sharing a high-quality image as your cover photo.
Another important thing to remember is to include keywords on Reels’ cover image to make it easy for viewers to understand what your video is about. Pull out a keyphrase or a few strategic keywords, add them as a text overlay and watch the views roll in!
8. Post consistently
Consistency is vital when it comes to building an engaged audience through Instagram Reels. Posting Reels on a regular schedule can help establish a routine for your audience, which can help increase engagement.
Experimenting with posting at different times of day can help you identify when your audience is most active and engaged, allowing you to develop the most effective posting schedule.
Need a hand figuring out when to post your Reels? With Plann’s powerful Instagram analytics, you can understand your best posting times with ease. Plus, our auto-posting features allow you to create, schedule and publish your Reels on auto-pilot.
Sticking to a consistent publishing schedule has never been easier!
9. Use a vertical format
Because most people will be engaging with your Instagram from their mobile phones, it’s best practice to create Instagram Reels in a vertical format that’s optimized for mobile viewing.
This means shooting your content in portrait mode, rather than landscape.
Vertical content is given priority in Instagram’s algorithm, making it more likely to appear in users’ feeds and get discovered by new viewers.
10. Include a detailed caption
Although Instagram Reels are primarily a visual medium, it’s still important to include relevant detail in your captions to provide context and information for your viewers.
Captions help to make your content more accessible to a wider audience through the use of searchable phrases and hashtags. Plus, they’re a great opportunity to interact with your audience and encourage them to leave comments or share their own experiences related to the content of your Reel.
However, it’s important to remember that your audience is on Instagram to view content and not to read lengthy captions. And because of Instagram Reels formatting, it can often be difficult to read lengthy captions, while maintaining the visibility of the video content.
Include enough details, but be concise, and most importantly make sure to use relevant keywords and hashtags in your caption to improve your Reel’s discoverability.
Ready to boost engagement on your Instagram Reels?
Looking to boost engagement, broaden your audience, and take your Instagram Reels to the next level? Let Plann help you get there!
Now you’ve got your strategy sorted it’s time to upload with Plann’s auto-scheduling feature so you can easily upload and post your automatically post your Reels at the optimal time for maximum visibility.
What are you waiting for? Sign up for a 7-day free trial of Plann Pro and see tangible ROI from your Instagram Reels.