Instagram reels aren’t all hype. These 15-30 second videos are best known for garnering engagement, which is the #1 metric for success on the platform.
It has been firmly established that Instagram reels are among the best formats to use for marketing. It not just drives engagement but also helps customers to retain information better and boost ROI.
Statistics show that Instagram reels get a 22% higher engagement rate than other video posts on Instagram. Also, 61% of Gen Z TikTok users plan to spend more time watching reels on Instagram. And we are not surprised.
But the real question is how to use these reels to reach more people or spread the word about your business products and services. In today’s post, we will discuss how you can use Instagram reels to increase engagement.
What are Instagram Reels?
Instagram Reels are short video clips, typically between 15 and 60 seconds, reminiscent of TikTok. These reels are short, entertaining, and have various editing tools. If you aim for more flexibility, you can easily upload videos you’ve previously edited on video editing platforms such as Canva, Visme or Wevideo. They can include audio tracks, video clips, captions, filters, interactive backgrounds, stickers, and more.
Many people confuse reels with Instagram stories. But unlike stories, reels do not disappear after 24 hours. Once you post a reel, it stays on Instagram until you delete it.
Using reels for yourself or your brand can reinforce your video marketing strategy:
- It drives engagement: Instagram reels beat all other short-form video applications in terms of engagement.
- It provides a competitive edge: Instagram enables users to cross-share their reels to Facebook to reach out to a wider audience base.
- It attracts the younger generation: The resemblance Instagram reels have to TikTok appeals to GenZ.
Currently, Instagram’s algorithm hugely favors accounts that post regular reels. In fact, many marketers claim reels to be the future of digital marketing for businesses.
How to Use Instagram Reels to Increase Engagement
Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your Instagram reels and widen your reach on the platform.
Structure Your Reels for Success
Well-structured and nicely edited reels make the maximum impact. To make sure your reels grab viewers’ attention and enhance engagement, you can follow the structure below:
0-3 seconds: Provide a subtle introduction
The first 3 seconds of your reel must introduce your target audience to your topic. It must clearly show what the reel is all about.
4-6 seconds: Use a good hook
In the next two seconds, you need to entice viewers and give them something that persuades them to watch the entire reel. The first 3 seconds were enough to seize the viewer’s attention, and this section is what will make them keep watching. So, think of a nice hook that creates a wow factor.
7-25 seconds: Provide unparalleled value
This is the main section of the reel where you drop knowledge bombs. You can enlighten your audience by providing them with helpful tips, hacks, advice, statistical reports, insights, resource links, etc.
You can pause for a while in the middle and leave your viewers with a cliffhanger. This will pique their attention even further. Finally, follow the cliffhanger with even more valuable tips or advice that add value to the viewers.
25-30 seconds: Add a CTA
Adding a call to action (CTA) is very important. It will guide your viewers and tell them what action you want them to take. For instance, you can ask them to comment or subscribe. Alternatively, you can ask them to send you a direct message using a specific keyword. Whatever it is, mention it clearly to boost engagement on your profile.
Use Trending Sound Tracks and Hashtags
One tried and tested way to grab the maximum number of eyeballs for your content is to use trending soundtracks and the most relevant hashtags. Although these aren’t any secret weapons to guarantee boosted engagement, they can surely enhance the discoverability of your reels.
Now, the best way to identify what is trending is to browse through the Reels homepage on Instagram. Check out what most of the top-ranking videos are using, and pick out something that fits your brand and content. For instance, if you are a food channel, doing the latest dance challenges won’t do you any good. So, be pretty sure to choose something that aligns with your brand.
The Home Depot Beat, for instance, became a hugely popular soundtrack with several creators using it. If a particular soundtrack gains popularity, you can use it too by adding them to your reels and increasing engagement.
When you scroll through the Reels homepage, carefully check if any of the sounds has an arrow next to its name. If it does, it indicates that the soundtrack is trending.
Find the Best Time to Post Reels on Instagram
Don’t just post reels randomly if you want to boost engagement on Instagram. Find out when your target users are most active and schedule your posting accordingly. Catching your target audience when they scroll is a surefire way to increase engagement and enhance your brand's reach. And believe it or not, this isn’t hard at all.
Instagram has its own set of analytical tools that makes it easy to identify the best time to post on Instagram.
To begin with, go to your Instagram insights and view ‘most active times’. This will indicate when your target users are most active on the platform. Now the trick is NOT to post when these users are at the peak of activity. Instead, schedule your reels for when your followers are coming online and activity is increasing.
Remember, your Instagram reels will work best if you understand how the platform’s algorithm works. Understanding when your target audience is most responsive and active can help you get more views on your post from the Reels tab and the Explore page.
Each brand’s best time to post will differ depending on the locality of its core audience. However, typically, the best times to post are between 9 am and 4 pm CST, Monday to Friday.
Add On-Screen Text and Closed Captions
Most people watch Instagram reels without sound. Therefore, adding suitable captions and on-screen text to your reels is crucial to increase viewership and boost engagement. It also enhances the accessibility of your content by making it suitable for those who are hearing impaired.
So, even if you are in a hurry to post your reel, make sure to add an optimized caption with on-screen text. Instagram has made the latter quite easy by offering the Instagram Reel editor. Alternatively, you can use the platform’s closed caption sticker, and Instagram’s algorithm will automatically transcribe the reel audio.
Lastly, make sure to include relevant keywords in your caption. This will make your reel more likely to be viewed by your target users. You can use a couple of relevant hashtags to complement your reel description and boost its searchability.
Engage With Your Target Audience
One of the best ways to boost engagement and acquire more followers is by liking and replying to their comments.
A conversation cannot be a one-way street. So, if your viewers are commenting on your reels, you must respond to them to keep this conversation going. This will help you to build a highly engaged community.
As you grow your Instagram presence, it may not be viable to respond to every single comment. In such a case, you can use a reputation management tool that funnels all your comments into an inbox.
Pro tip: Try including a question in your response to a viewer. Doing so will compel them to reply to you and keep the conversation going. This will further help to boost engagement rates on your Instagram reels.
Below is a classic illustration of this point where @kencho tries to respond to every user's comment with requests for feedback. This will ideally result in positive reviews that ultimately convert prospects into customers.
Reels are Instagram’s newest feature in comparison to stories and carousel posts.
Consequently, the platform pushes these reels into the feeds at a much higher rate than all its older features. And it is for this reason Instagram reels tend to get far more engagement and exposure than other types of Instagram content.
So if your Instagram profile has been experiencing a lull lately, Instagram reels might be the right feature to breathe new life into your Instagram presence. And thankfully, Instagram reels are quite easy to learn and work with. Following the aforementioned practices will help you boost your engagement on the platform and acquire new followers organically.