Are you struggling to make viral-worthy reels on Instagram? Do you find yourself stuck in a cycle of low views and engagement? Fear not! In this ultimate guide, I’ll explain why reels are so important on Instagram, what is holding you back, what mistakes you might be making, how to film high quality video, what formats work best, and how to make your reels go viral. This is the Ultimate Guide to creating viral-worthy Reels on Instagram so you can grow your following, brand, and business and work from anywhere.
Instagram Reels is Instagram’s competitor to Tiktok because we know short-form video is *the thing* right now. And rightly so, as video content holds user’s attention longer than a photo. This is the best way as a creator to make fun, engaging, and viral video content. You can record and edit Reels right on the app or upload pre-recorded or created videos. You can add music, text, filters, and special effects – it’s pretty much become a full-blow video editing app inside of Instagram. Instagram prioritizes reels as a way to reach new audiences, increase your engagement, and share short-form video content with your followers.
By creating video content, you can build a stronger connection with viewers and potentially gain more followers, customers, or clients. Plus, reels allow you to showcase your creativity, connect better with future fans and your current audience, and stand out from the crowd. Reels are basically your key to growth, which means your keys to growing a career or business using Instagram that can allow you to work from anywhere.
Before we dive into the tips for making your reels go viral, let’s address why you might be struggling in the first place. It’s common to let these things hold yourself back from creating! Here are three common reasons:
You’re spending wayyyyy too much time scrolling IG looking for ideas, trending audios, and get overwhelmed with what everyone else is creating. If you aren’t posting at all or hardly ever, to begin with, you’re comparing yourself too much! START SIMPLE – the most viral Reels are ACTUALLY super simple!
Creating viral worthy reels actually is not hard – you DO NOT need to be making fancy videos with crazy transitions. There are 2 simple things you can do to make an easy video that GETS views:
Look, I’ve been in your shoes and have done *all these things that have kept me from creating, getting views, growing, and getting clients…*You get stuck comparing yourself to others on your feed, your content doesn’t get much reach, so you stop posting as much…. It’s just a downward spiral and cycle.
This is why I made the Viral Reels Library so you have 30 days of content picked out with trending audio voiceovers, trending songs, hooks to stop scrollers and WATCH, AND content outlines of WHAT TO POST for each audio!
2. You don’t have a plan for posting
Not only are you overwhelmed, but you have TOO MANY OPTIONS of what you COULD post. Focus on 3-4 topics to post about so you can see what works for you and your audience. You DO NOT need to post about every single little thing. FOCUS allows you to not be overwhelmed about what to post. IF you know you only post about beauty for example, you can REALLY focus in and have clarity about what you’re posting. CONSISTENCY comes from CLARITY. And CLARITY comes from a plan.
This is why I take you through everything you need to figure out your niche, content categories, posting calendar, and strategy in the Instagram Guide(along with all the hacks, tricks, and tips for creating and growing your followers). I also have a 60-minute FREE Instagram Masterclass Training where I walk you through exactly how to figure out your niche – you can sign up for my free training here.
3. You don’t have a goal
Are you trying to get more clients? Do you just want more followers? Do you want more brand deals? You need a GOAL for your video – that way you can speak (or visually show) directly WHAT your audience wants (or potential clients or customers or brands).
For example, are you trying to get more customers? What do you customers need to know in order to purchase your product? Do they need to see it in action? Do they want education around your products space? What types of videos are your competitors creating? Get in the shoes of your customer – or rather, think about videos you see that make YOU want to purchase that product!
If you want more brand deals, you need to go in with the goal of creating videos the BRANDS you want to work with would want to see in order to hire you! They need to already see you posting the type of content that is on brand for them and that educates or will sell their brand and product. So research what creators who are working with brands you want to work with and see what type of videos they are creating. Or simply look at that brand’s page for the type of content they post. Ask yourself – are your posts similar? Or do you need to create more types of content that are?
Now, once you get a plan, have a goal, and simplify, let’s talk about some mistakes I see on why your Reels still might be flopping.
A reel that is viral for YOU is different than generically viral – you might think it means 1-10million views. Yes, that is viral. But you can still post viral FOR YOU reels that aren’t anywhere near that.
Viral reels for YOUR account is any reel that gets 5-10x or more views than your typical videos. If your videos typically get 1-5,000 views, a video that gets 20k views is pretty viral for you! If your videos typically get 10-20k views, a video that gets 50-100k views is viral for you!
So now let’s talk about why your reels aren’t performing well and getting low views.
Starting filming better quality videos RIGHT NOW. And no, you don’t need to become a professional cinematic videographer quality – I just mean better quality! Not only does higher quality mean INCREASING your views of your videos, or even going viral on TikTok and Instagram, it also increases your ability to get paid work as a creator – how does it sound to get paid by a brand for a video that you DON’T even have to post on your page?! (Welcome to being a UGC & Content creator!). So here are 5 SIMPLE THINGS you can do to increase the quality of your videos RIGHT NOW.
✨ 1. Clean your lens
Before you take a video – simply WIPE the lens of your phone camera
✨ 2. Change your settings
Make sure you shoot in 1080p or 4k at 60fps! (in your camera settings!). This allows you to shoot more frames and higher file size for STUNNING quality.
✨ 3. Use better lighting
Stop shooting in a dark room with no windows and only overhead lighting. Simply stand in front of a window and use the window light! This is some of the best light to use since it diffuses the light evenly. Let the window light fall on your face (or object). Don’t have good window light? Use a ring light (here’s the one I use).
✨ 4. Use your back camera
The back camera (normal camera) of your phone is higher quality than the front (selfie) camera. So if you can, use a tripod (or just set up your phone on something, lol). I sometimes put a mirror in front of the phone screen so I can still see myself 😉
✨ 5. Adjust the exposure
Tap and hold down with your thumb on the screen to lock the focus and exposure – you can adjust the little sun icon up and down to increase or decrease the exposure, brightening or darkening the video.
Literally, start using these tips NOW! Better quality videos aren’t only for your own personal memories, but increase your reach on social media & get more paid work as a creator as a result (so YOU can make more money on the side or take your creative business full time and live that work anywhere lifestyle you desire).
So now that we know what mistakes we are making with our reels, how to increase the quality of them, let’s go into the ways to make them go viral.
Finally, let’s dive into the tips for making your reels go viral. My biggest reels have had over 6 million views and this is what I’ve learned from it. Here are five ways to do it:
The main thing is: none of these top performers were boring to watch. They MADE the viewer want to keep watching. So here’s how you can do that.
1. Use a hook & capture the viewer: The first 1-3 seconds MUST hook a scroller’s attention
It’s gotta be a SCROLL STOPPER. They have something that draws a viewer in. It can be something like..
2. Incentivize a viewer to watch until the end
This is a secret to increasing the rank in the Reels Algorithm for IG to show it to more people is how many people are watching the ENTIRE video (or rewatching!). So try these:
4. Use a trending audio
I know everyone keeps saying this, but seriously, anytime I use a trending audio, I get more views. I know it’s obvious, Instagram even calls it out that an audio is trending on the app. This is where IG differs from Tiktok, I have learned that trending audios are more impactful on the gram than a visual trend itself. The Reels Algorithm is pushing out the trending audio and the reels that are using it, so USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! And if you don’t want to spend hours scrolling to find the perfect audio, I have 60+ trending audios WITH content ideas for each you can use in the The Viral Reels Library.
5. Provide value with ATLEAST one of the 3 E’s
All of my most viral reels provide value in some way – I call these the 3 E’s:
Education: teach the viewer something
Entertainment: make them laugh
Emotion: make them FEEL something – this could be inspiring, or a transformation/emotional story, this could just be relatable in a funny way, or a connecting way
6. Be the first of a trend You do have an advantage if you’re the first to bring over a trend from tiktok to Instagram that works. Being one of the top videos on an audio page, people will watch your video in order to create after that trend and watch to be inspired by (increasing your views).
7. Be controversial or share something most aren’t willing to share It’s not unlike “any press is good press” – what most people aren’t willing to share is usually something people are MOST curious about (taboo topics, like talking about your finances, or your point of view on something that’s maybe controversial, like breastfeeding a 3 year old).
8. Use proven formulas We have been trained to watch the entirety of certain types of videos, generally because they peak our curiousity and make us keep watching them. Here are a few of those proven formulas:
9. Tell a story Humans have loved stories and storytelling for centuries – it’s nothing new when it comes to our modern short form video in the palm of our hand. We love a story. Hook them in, take them on a (short) ride, have a climactic/pivotal point, and end. Bonus points for increasing more views and follows is break this story up into parts or a series to get people coming back to watch the next part.
10. Commit to a posting schedule
Tiktok might not care how often you post on a schedule, but Instagram does. Consistency is rewarded in the algorithm for Instagram – it might take you a few weeks or a couple months, but seriously, if you stay consistent, the algorithm will start to push you more. Instagram wants to retain people on the app, so the creators that are reliable in posting, they want to prioritize that. Shoot for 4 reels a week. (more if you have the capacity to – but consistency is more important than volume).
Now that you know what doesn’t work and all the tips for creating, let’s talk about what does work and specific formulas and examples. Here are four easy-to-follow video formulas that can help your reels stand out:
If you want to be a successful content creator, or grow a business on Instagram so you can work from anywhere, we need to solidify your strategy for Instagram Reels. The ultimate reels strategy is going to first, get more eyeballs on your page, and then 2, convert those eyeballs into followers. Viral hits / trends reels get those eyeballs and your original content turns them into followers.
So what makes your viral reels strategy successful? If your ultimate goal is to grow your following, then it’s going to be composed of 2 things: content that increases your reach, and content that nurtures.
Nowadays, someone isn’t going to follow you just because your reel made them laugh.
But they’re going to follow you if you had more than 1 reel that made them laugh. They want to go to your page and find MORE before they hit that follow button.
And this same content that makes them hit “follow” is also what nurtures your existing audience (because you’re giving them MORE of what they followed you for).
Trendy content is good for increasing your reach, usually uses a trending audio or viral format/formula, is not too long, maybe 7-10 seconds, and is eye catching or highly visual (basically what we’ve covered in this guide!)
Original reels are longer and not based on a trend. They are more informative, in depth, giving tips or advice. This could be you talking to the camera, providing tips or advice,
So it’s all about balancing these 2 types of content in your ultimate viral reels strategy. Because just making a viral reel WON’T make you go viral and grow your following, you need to back it up with the original content.
So if I were to put together the master reels strategy for you, here is what I would do:
Decide how many Reels you can create each week. Let’s go with 5 (Instagram suggests at least 4 a week for growth!)
Categorize these reels into 2 types: Viral hits / trends & Original Content. I suggest doing 2 viral hits and 3 original content. You want to back up the viral hits with a deep dive into whatever the topic was on that viral hit.
Analyze the content of 3 similar pages/accounts in your niche that post similar topics. Evaluate their highest performing videos that are viral for them (getting 5-10x+ more views). Recreate your own version of these viral hits.
Create your original content reels based on your niche to deep dive into that topic.
I dive into this strategy even more in depth in my 60-minute FREE Instagram Masterclass Training – so sign up below and i’ll walk you through exactly how to implement this strategy. And if you’re feeling lost exactly about what your niche is – we cover exactly how to narrow this down in the training too! If you want to see follower growth and grow your account using reels (and not just get the eyeballs on your page!), nailing your niche is really going to be a big part of it, but we’ll cover this in the training. Click here to sign up for the FREE Instagram training!
Traveler, Content Creator, Influencer, and UI/UX Designer empowering you to explore the world and make money while doing it.