By now you probably know that Reels are one of the most important parts of your Instagram strategy in 2023.
The biggest reason for this is that the Instagram algorithm prioritizes Reels which means the app is more likely to show a Reel to people who don't already follow you than a static image in your feed. The more Reels you post, the more opportunities you have to introduce your brand to new people.
Recently some of our clients have noticed a significant drop in their Reel views. Where they were once getting 1,000+ views and more, their Reels are now stuck in the 100s.
If you are looking at your Instagram feed and realizing the same thing is happening to your content, we have a few Instagram Reel Hacks for 2023 that will help you increase those views and get your content and brand back on track.
How Does The 2023 Instagram Algorithm Treat Reels?
When deciding which Reels to suggest to you, Instagram looks at a few things including the accounts you currently follow and accounts you have yet to follow but that it thinks you might find interesting.
It also looks at these signals:
Your Actions: Instagram looks at which Reels you've watched until the end and which Reels you've engaged with and builds an idea of what types of content you are most interested in.
Your Previous Interactions: You probably see suggested Reels on your feed by creators whose content you have interacted with in the past… but haven’t followed yet. Instagram will always show you new accounts but they also love showing you accounts you have seen in the past. Just in case you might want to follow them now.
Reel Details: Instagram is also evaluating Reels based on some typical quality indicators like the song being used and the quality of the video and editing.
Account Details: Instagram is more likely to show content from accounts that are heavily active on the platform, post consistently and receive engagement and who engage with their audience in return — this is just one of the many reasons why you should always be answering your comments and DMs.
Now that we know what Instagram is looking for when the algorithm decides whether or not to show your content to new eyeballs, we can dive into some helpful and easy hacks to get your content more views more often.
Reel Hack #1: Your Intro Is Everything
Instagram logs a view every time someone watches your video for 3 seconds or longer. If a person watches your video for a second and keeps scrolling, Instagram will not give you a view.
This means the first few seconds of your Reel are the most important part. It needs to grab the attention of the person scrolling and hook them to keep watching more.
Insider Tip: Big text bubbles with content that encourages a person to keep watching can be extremely helpful.
Reel Hack #2: Write Captions With Intent
When you are crafting a caption, keep your end goal in mind.
What are you trying to do with your Reel? Sell more products? Get more views? Introduce a person or an idea?
Write carefully and with intent. Every word matters so choose them wisely. Instagram captions cut off in the main feed in under 140 characters so the most important part of your message or the hook should be in the first part of the caption.
Insider Tip: Instagram recently rolled out “Topic” tags to their Reels you can select when uploading. The tag helps Instagram know what your Reel is about and shares it with people who are interested in that topic. It even looks like topics could be the next hashtag.
Reel Hack #3: Encourage Engagement
Now that we know engagement is a huge part of how the algorithm determines how often to show your content to new people, getting your followers to engage with your Reels should be one of your top priorities.
That means you need to be asking your followers to connect and weigh in with their thoughts about your content.
Insider Tip: While asking questions in the caption is an easy way to generate engagement, it can also come across as fishing or insincere. We recommend going a step further and engaging in your Reel through in-video captions and voice-overs. Be sincere in your interest in feedback and your followers will be happy to oblige.
Reel Hack #4: Add Value To The Conversation
Gone are the days when a simple old-school panning shot of the skyline could get you a thousand views in a few minutes. Your content needs to add value to the conversation.
Can someone learn something from your content?
Are you saying something original?
Is the information valuable to your target demographic?
These are all questions to ask yourself before you start creating your Reel. We predict that in 2023 Instagram will be embracing more ‘How To’ content — like the vlog style you see on YouTube. So start wracking your brain around the various content you can create that will improve and add value to the lives of your customers and followers.
Insider Tip: Need help coming up with Reel ideas that are engaging and informative? Using a Free Keyword Research Tool will help you get an idea of what types of things people are searching for in your niche. All you need to do is come up with content to answer their burning questions.
Reel Hack #5: Mix Up Your Hashtag Game
It is really easy to get into a hashtag slump. Meaning, you did some hashtag research a few years ago and have been using the same ones ever since. The thing is — the hashtag game has changed and your old list may no longer be relevant for your niche.
We recommend doing some research to see what hashtags your competitors are using. You should also mix up the types of hashtags you use. Your list should include a variety of different tags including some product or services, community, niche, relevant phrase and location-based hashtags (i.e. #yegsmallbusiness).
Insider Tip: You can include up to 30 hashtags on your Reels but we recommend sticking to 10 or fewer. Try different hashtag lists and combinations of hashtags and track what earns you more views. Finally, hide those hashtags in the comments. If you take all that time to write a great caption, why clutter it up?
Ready To Dive Head First Into Reels This Year?
If you are serious about growing your brand on Instagram this year then Reels need to be one of the biggest parts of your content strategy.
Being effective with Reels will take a small financial investment. That means buying yourself a few tools (like a ring light and some editing software) will go a long way in the quality of the video content you produce.
Being effective with Reels will take a time investment, too. Brainstorming relevant content ideas, finding trending audio and researching useful hashtags will take time.
But with consistent posting and following these simple hacks, you will start to see your Reel views increase over time.
Need help managing your small business Instagram account or want to learn the fundamentals of how to be successful on the platform in 2023?
Reach out to our team today. Instagram is our bread and butter and we've helped clients in Edmonton, Alberta and beyond grow their brands on Instagram with branded content and beautiful visuals.