What if you could wave a magic wand and immediately dominate the Instagram Reels?
Unfortunately, there is no magical remedy to conquer your Reels performance. Still, it’s possible to even the playing field by learning how the Instagram Reels algorithm works and what kind of content performs the best for your niche.
It's crucial for marketers, influencers, and business owners to comprehend how Instagram's algorithm functions, as well as the kind of material that can improve your chances of getting more views and, eventually, more sales.
In 2021, Instagram made it clear that it was shifting its focus away from sharing photos and instead aims to become the superior alternative to multimedia applications like TikTok and YouTube.
So how does the algorithm work, and how can you use it to help your brand reach more people? Let’s find out!
- You can reach the peaks of the Instagram Reels algorithm by boosting your popularity, posting on time, and creating relevant content.
- Instagram will promote your Reel if you are providing value to your community.
- Instagram has guidelines stating that political views, blurry footage, and violent content will NEVER be promoted to a larger audience.
- Utilize the platform well by using its music, GIFs, and sticker features for more engagement.
- Make your Reel more visible by using the right number of quality hashtags.
- Avoid posting the Reel at any time you deem convenient. There are certain schedules that rack up more views than others.
Understanding the Instagram Reels algorithm
People often talk about the Instagram algorithm as a single idea, but there are actually many algorithms at work.
Instagram itself refers to it as a "variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose.”
You may be wondering what you can do to crack the Instagram algorithm and increase the visibility of your branded content and the number of potential new customers you can reach. The key is this:
Achieve virality by creating content that people want to talk about and save, and inspire them to do the same for your company.
Though several tips and factors can take you far, the best thing you can do to stand out in an Instagram Reel is to authentically feature your brand personality in all its greatness.
However, before you showcase your personality, it’s essential to understand the terms of the algorithm and how it decides what kind of content to show the public.
To put it in simpler terms, Instagram's algorithms are designed to keep you on the app longer by presenting you with information that is both fascinating and relevant to you.
Now, imagine yourself on the opposite end of the spectrum. When you start an Instagram page, how can you create Instagram Reels that resonate with these audiences so that they can stay with your content longer?
10 ways to leverage the Instagram algorithm for business
It’s natural to question how Instagram’s algorithm may affect your own marketing efforts on the platform. In order to broaden your visibility, let’s have a look at the many avenues open to you.
1. Brand your business accordingly
Before you start strategizing about beating the Instagram Reels algorithm, take time to understand the channel. Instagram is a visual platform; every single thing you post is a reflection of your brand identity. That said, your social media branding needs to be on-point.
You could create the most engaging Reels in the world, but if your business name and logo design don’t display beautifully, you won’t get too far.
It’s crucial that you post the right proportions of your logo as your main image. Since people will be clicking on your profile when you post a Reel, you want to take that opportunity to covertly promote your business. If you don’t have one yet, make sure you get a beautiful Instagram logo before you start posting anything.
2. Focus on creating quality content
While it’s tempting to create content that only pertains to your brand, you need to remember that Reels should be fun and humorous. Nothing beats humor when it comes to getting people interested and involved.
Maintain a standard of providing engaging and informative content in your Reels. Don’t just repeat what others are doing; add your own unique spin to them.
Think outside the box and show some imagination. Take advantage of what Reels have to offer and continue creating videos that people want to see.
As a general rule, you should strive to make your point or introduce the topic of your video within the first three seconds. If users can get a quick grasp of the material, they’re more likely to stick around for the duration of the Reel.
3. Make visually appealing Reels
Reels have become synonymous with the addition of stickers, effects, and text to videos. If you think they will provide value to your brand, feel free to use them in the content you create for Reels. To put it simply, Instagram’s visual content provides for more interesting viewing for your audience.
Interactive elements like stickers, GIFs, polls, questions, and more can encourage participation and a heightened interest in your content. Not to mention that Instagram actually suggests incorporating these artistic resources into your Reels as part of its recommendation guidelines (which you’ll soon learn a lot about).
Don’t forget to promote discussions by inviting viewers to leave comments on-screen or in the subtitles, and then respond to all their feedback.
4. Use the right hashtags
Promote your Instagram Reels by incorporating hashtags into your content strategy. In order for this tactic to be successful, you must first determine which hashtags your target audience actually uses.
You can use up to 30 hashtags for your Instagram Reel, but quantity isn’t always key. Choose 3 to 5 relevant hashtags that represent your topic correctly. And it doesn’t hurt to engage with accounts similarly using the same hashtags. If you interact with users under the same hashtag, they’ll likely check you out in return.
5. Use trending music
The mood of Reels is greatly affected by the music you choose to use. Pick tunes that are both catchy and relevant to the subject matter. If you wish to use your own music, ensure that it’s easy to listen to and sounds like it was recorded professionally.
If you use music in your posts in the same way that other people in your community do, Instagram is more likely to promote your material.
6. Collaborate with other influencers
Cooperating with Instagram influencers is a great way to increase your exposure and attract more followers.
In the face of Instagram’s new algorithm, one of the quickest ways to gain exposure and new followers is to interact with a whole new audience base, which is something influencers provide you with.
Most importantly, after the events of 2020, people crave fun, virtual interactions. Get creative with other content creators and figure out a way to cross-promote. Together, Instagram Reels and influencer marketing make a powerful pair.
7. Create Reels from posts and stories
Did you know you could share your Instagram posts in your Reels?
You’ll naturally want to pay particular attention to video footage, but you may also want to supplement your videos with still images. Make slideshows or insert transitions between video segments with the help of some still images.
Even though it can save a lot of effort to repurpose information, you should do so with caution. When incorporating still images into your Reels, ensure that you vary your approaches and filter your feed to exclude repetitive content.
Viewers can still navigate your gallery, so you should avoid showing them the same things repeatedly.
8. Sync with Instagram’s Recommendation Guidelines
To beat the Reels algorithm, you must first understand what kind of content the platform values. Instagram's Recommendation Guidelines are employed to decipher which Reels should navigate to a bigger audience.
These guidelines apply to low-quality content that promotes unsubstantiated health or financial claims, violence, self-harm, or is sexually explicit in nature, as well as content that contains clickbait, engagement bait, or vaccine-related misinformation. These are big no-no’s.
In addition, Instagram will not promote certain Reels to viewers if:
- The majority of the video layout is covered by text.
- The video tackles controversial or political topics.
- The video is blurry, low-quality, or hard to understand.
- Borders are present all around the video.
If your Reel does not adhere to Instagram’s criteria, it will continue to remain in your profile, but it will not be promoted to a larger audience.
9. Cater to your audience’s needs
A successful social media strategy begins with active participation in the communities of other users. Instagram’s algorithm places a higher priority on comments than likes. The more engagement your Reel receives, the more likely it will be shown in users’ feeds.
Although interacting with the accounts you already follow will not directly benefit you, doing so is good form. There are no hard and fast rules on how many people you should interact with; just remember to cater to your audience by understanding them and genuinely enjoying their engagements with you.
10. Interact and build a community
The key to being successful on social media, on Instagram or anywhere else, is to engage with your followers and build an adoring community. No matter how much exposure your Reels get, never forget that the only reason you receive any visibility is the attention you receive from your viewers.
Give back by engaging with your audience and showing as much genuine interest in them as they do in your content.
And how do you get more visibility on a heavily saturated platform? These four factors can tip the scales in your favor.
4 factors determining the appearance of reels
It’s helpful to know what elements the algorithm uses to determine your Reel’s ranking. It can help spread the word about your content and bring in more viewers, ultimately leading to a larger audience.
There are four elements that influence when and where Reels occur.
If you have an engaged following and content that constantly generates likes and shares, Instagram will recognize that you have something exceptional that other people would enjoy as well.
For the most part, it's a good idea to be popular first before you can get popular on Instagram because it's all about excellent material. The app rewards those who already have a reputation for producing high-quality content.
Creating content on a consistent basis is crucial, but it is not the only factor in maximizing your Instagram presence. Instead, you should put in the time and effort into creating relationships and providing users with valuable engagement both inside and outside of your posts.
Having a large number of people interact with your Reel immediately after it goes live is helpful, as it will signal to Instagram that this is a post that many of your followers want to see more of. To achieve this, you need to get your timing right.
It may take some experimentation at first, but you can get a headstart by checking your Instagram Analytics report for your most successful posting periods.
Instagram will prioritize your content for Instagram users who have engaged with a bunch of your previous posts. This is why it’s so crucial to keep your audience engaged with your posts on a regular basis.
If you spend time and effort building relationships on Instagram, whether it’s through a like, a comment, or a share, you give people more reason to look into you and give your content the benefit of the doubt.
4. Relevance of content
As a result of your activity on the app, Instagram keeps track of your "affinity," or desire for certain things. The subject or topic of a previous Reel or post is taken into account by Instagram and served up as comparable content if you've liked or engaged with it in the past.
The algorithm deciphers the topic of your content through hashtags, plus an analysis of the audio, frames, and even the quality of the video.
So, if you’re watching cat content daily, Instagram tops you up with even more cat content on your Reels, ads, and suggested media content.
Frequently asked questions: 5 popular FAQs about the Instagram Reels algorithm
Cover all your bases with the most frequently asked questions about the elusive Instagram Reels algorithm.
1. What else can impact your Reel game on Instagram?
There are some additional factors that can impact how far your Reel will go:
- High video quality
- No watermarks
- Adherence to Instagram's Recommendation Guidelines
2. What engagements are most important to the Instagram algorithm?
Engagement is crucial. As you create your content and descriptions, keep these questions in mind:
- Does this post have a good chance of being shared or liked?
- Is this a post worth bookmarking and revisiting later?
- Is there a call to action (CTA) in this piece that encourages readers to click over to my profile?
The Instagram algorithm can be "hacked" to your advantage if you create content that encourages this level of engagement.
3. What do you post for your first Instagram Reel ever?
Now that you understand what Instagram doesn’t want creators and brands to post, here are some valuable tips for your first Instagram Reel:
- Post fun and entertaining content (bonus points for plot twists!)
- Begin a new trend that others can join and participate in
- Use creative tools like filters and effects
- Take videos vertically
- Take music from Instagram’s own music library
4. What is the difference between the news feed and Reels algorithms?
Unlike Reels, Instagram doesn't employ the same signals to determine what you see in your news feed. More weight is given to the person who posted it in the news feed. Whereas with Reels, the defining factor is the content and not so much the profile itself.
5. When is the best time to post Reels on IG?
According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the following times are the best to post Reels:
- Monday: 6 AM, 10 AM, 10 PM
- Tuesday: 2 AM, 4 AM, 9 AM
- Wednesday: 7 AM, 8 AM, 11 PM
- Thursday: 9 AM, 12 AM, 7 PM
- Friday: 5 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM
- Saturday: 11 AM, 7 PM, 8 PM
- Sunday: 7 AM, 8 AM, 4 PM
According to an article by Wishpond, 5 AM and 6 AM are the ideal times to post Instagram Reels every day of the week.
Summing it up
Instagram's algorithm can decipher what videos people want to engage with. Because of this, it recommends to audiences the most popular content for them. If you want to get your Instagram reel videos viral, you can use the aforementioned strategies to get yourself on Instagram's favorable side.