Instagram Reels 101: How to Create Viral Content and Grow Your Followers

Instagram Reels 101: How to Create Viral Content and Grow Your Followers

Instagram Reels have exploded in popularity, quickly becoming one of the best ways for brands and creators to reach new audiences and make viral content. With the power of short-form video content, Reels offers a massive opportunity to showcase your personality, share compelling content, and potentially go viral.  

In this comprehensive guide, we will break down how to excel at Instagram Reels for business success and in digital marketing. You will learn insider tips on creating binge-worthy Reels, optimizing for viral content, and growth strategies to build your following.

What Are Instagram Reels and Why Do They Matter?

Launched in 2020, Instagram Reels are short, entertaining videos up to 30 seconds long that play on a loop similar to TikTok. Reels offer a range of creative editing features like audio, AR effects, green screen, timers, and more.  

Here’s why Reels should be a priority for your digital marketing efforts:

Reach New Audiences 

Reels have a dedicated section in Explore and can appear in feeds, giving your brand exposure to tons of accounts who do not follow you yet. 

Personality & Engagement 

The casual, fun vibe of Reels lets you express your brand’s personality. Reels also get much higher engagement rates than regular Instagram posts.

Viral Content

If your Reel strikes a chord, it can easily go mega viral through shares and views across Instagram. User-generated Reels featuring your brand can take off too.


Instagram Reels ads let you promote your organic Reels to expand your reach. Powerful for showcasing your brand to viewers seeking that type of content.
Succeeding with Reels requires an effective digital marketing strategy focused on creating binge-worthy content and optimizing for visibility.

Viral Content

Creating Share-Worthy Reel Viral Content

When trying to make Reels that captivate and convert viewers, keep these proven tips in mind:

Analyze Trends in Your Niche

Study what types of Reels perform well in your industry. Take note of winning formulas in terms of audio, effects, captions, transitions, and more. This will inspire ideas tailored to your brand.

Hook Viewers Instantly 

You only have a few seconds to grab attention before viewers swipe away. Open with your most eye-catching scene, joke, effect, or another wow moment. 

Tell an Engaging Story

Even short Reels should have a narrative structure. Creative storytelling techniques like humour, conflict, mystery, or drama will keep viewers glued to the screen.

Include Interactive Elements 

Encourage viewers to engage with your Reel via comments, duets, stitches, polls and challenges. This helps increase visibility through algorithm ranking.

Post Consistently 

Stay top of mind by consistently publishing fresh Reels aligned to trends and hashtag challenges. This trains the algorithm to show your content.

Remix Trending Content

Put your spin on popular audio, songs, effects and meme trends related to your brand. Familiarity helps gratify viewers and gets more shares.

Growth Hacking Strategies for Reels 

Beyond creating viral content, you need comprehensive digital marketing tactics to maximize Reels success:

Cross-promote on All Channels

Share your Reels across Instagram feed, Stories, IGTV etc. Leverage your existing followers to gain momentum with a new Reel.

Use Niche & Branded Hashtags

Hashtag strategically with a mix of popular viral tags and niche branded hashtags to get on both general and topic-specific explore pages. 

Run Instagram Reels Ads 

Amplify your best organic reels by running ads to target fresh relevant audiences. Powerful for showcasing your hook to potential new followers.

Enable Shopping Tags

If you sell products, add shoppable tags to Reels so viewers can easily shop featured items. Streamlines path to purchase.

Analyze Performance 

Check Instagram Insights to see which Reels resonate best. Fine-tune your strategy based on data like views, likes and comments.

Encourage User-Generated Content

Get followers involved in creating UGC Reels featuring your product or branded effects. Reposting user Reels expands reach.

Do Sponsored Challenges

Partner with influencers or sponsor a custom-branded challenge to incentivize UGC and organic promotion.

Live Stream Behind-the-Scenes  

Go live creating your next viral Reel to generate buzz and give fans a sneak peek. Downloading the live video for use as a Reel is a great hack.

Short-form video

Maximizing Your Reach With Instagram Reel Ads

Instagram Reels ads offer a killer way to supplement your organic efforts by promoting your top-performing Reels to new audiences. Here are tips to get the most out of your ad investment:

Target Competitors’ Followers

Great way to siphon off audiences in your niche.

Retarget Website Visitors

Remarket Reels to users who have already shown interest.

Test Different Objectives 

See what works best between awareness, consideration or conversion campaigns. 

Highlight UGC

Social proof of fans loving your brand or product is persuasive. 

Split Test Elements

Test variations of captions, visuals, length etc. to optimize performance.

Measure ROI 

Track sales or email signups generated to gauge real returns from Reel ads.

Automate For Scale

Use rules to automatically turn organic Reels into ads for amplified reach.

Key Takeaways for Reels Marketing Success

The major keys to deciphering Instagram Reels for your brand include:

  • Analyzing trends in your niche to create relatable content.
  • Creating captivating Reels with hooks, storytelling and interactivity. 
  • Growing your presence through cross-promotion, UGC, and using niche hashtags.
  • Amplifying top content with Reel ads targeted to new relevant audiences.
  • Consistently posting fresh Reels and remixing trends.
  • Measuring performance data to refine your strategy.


With the right approach, Instagram Reels provide an immense opportunity to highlight your brand personality, engage potential customers, make viral content and catapult your business growth. Will you make the next viral Reel?

Short-form video


Q: What apps can I use to edit Instagram Reels?

A: Some top apps for editing Reels include InShot, Vita, CapCut, and iMovie. These offer options to trim video clips, add effects/filters, include audio, text overlays and more.

Q: How long should my Instagram Reels be?

A: Instagram Reels can be up to 30 seconds long. Ideal length is typically 15-30 seconds. Keep it short, engaging and filler-free.

Q: What types of content work best for Instagram Reels?

A: Trending content includes comedy skits, hacks/DIYs, dancing/lip sync videos, beauty/style tips, relatable meme content and more. Show your brand personality!

Q: How often should I post Instagram Reels?

A: Aim to post 1-2 Reels per week at minimum. More frequent posting like daily helps maximize reach. Post at optimal times when your audience is most active.

Q: How do I make my Reels stand out?

A: Use popular audio, effects and hashtags to increase visibility. Add interactive elements. Use compelling visuals and editing. Feature UGC and behind-the-scenes content.

Q: What’s the best way to gain new followers with Reels?

A: Cross-promote Reels, do collaborations with relevant influencers, run Instagram Reels ads, participate in viral challenges, and use niche hashtags related to your brand.

Q: How do I track the performance of my Reels?

A: Check metrics like views, likes, comments, saves, shares, reach and more in Instagram Insights. See which Reels are resonating best.

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