The Top Instagram Reels Hacks You Need to Know

By Jessica Worb

Published March 26, 2021

10 minute read

From useful tips to our top editing tricks, we’re sharing some of our favorite Instagram Reels hacks that are sure to make your videos stand out.


Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!

Creating Instagram Reels for your brand or business can be one of the best ways to get more followers and engagement on Instagram — in fact, they’re a real growth hack right now!

From useful tips to our top editing tricks, we’re sharing our favorite Instagram Reels hacks that are guaranteed to make your videos stand out from the crowd.

12 Instagram Reels Hacks You Need to Know

Discover our top creative hacks by watching this video — or continue reading the full blog post below.

Here are our top 12 Instagram Reels hacks for creating engaging and click-worthy Reels:

  1. Create Creative Original Content

  2. Include Closed Captions

  3. Remove the TikTok Watermark

  4. Keep Your Captions Short and Sweet

  5. Hop on Trends Fast

  6. Share Your Reels to Your Feed

  7. Optimize On-screen Text Placement

  8. Find Your Niche and Post Consistently

  9. Provide Value and Share Educational Content

  10. Include Hashtags

  11. Use Music From the Instagram Library or Create Your Own Audio

  12. Share to Your Instagram Story

Instagram Reels Hack #1: Create Creative Original Content

If you want to show up on the Instagram Reels tab, creating original content is key.

With thousands — maybe millions — of creators sharing to Instagram Reels daily, thinking of original ideas is one tall order.

Fortunately, you don’t have to totally reinvent the wheel when it comes to planning your Instagram Reels. The main thing is to create content that is educational or entertaining — with your own unique twist.

By adding your own little spin or perspective, you can take any existing idea and create something fresh and engaging.

For example, if you’re a photographer, this could be a series of camera setting hacks, lust-worthy locations, or your favorite portrait shots like @myparisportraits:

Instagram has confirmed it prioritizes videos that aren’t visibly recycled from third-party apps, so creating original content in the Reels editor could also help boost your visibility.

Creating original content may take a bit of time and effort, but it’s one of the best ways to hack the algorithm and set yourself apart in your niche.

Ready to save time planning your Instagram content? Start scheduling your posts with Later — it’s free!

Instagram Reels Hack #2: Include Closed Captions

There’s no secret that creating video content, whether for Instagram Stories or Instagram Reels, is one of the best ways to make your content more accessible.

We know 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound, so adding subtitles to your videos is a no-brainer when it comes to reaching more users.

Plus, not only are subtitles great for people who watch without sound, but they’re invaluable for those with hearing difficulties.

Automated captions aren’t available on Instagram (yet!) but in the meantime, there are ways you can start creating more inclusive Reels now.

To add video subtitles, manually type your audio in text boxes and show them on screen during your video.

For a quicker approach, you can use apps like Subtitles — Video Captions Mi‪x, Clipomatic, and MixCaptions to automatically generate captions for you.

TIP: Make sure your closed captions are visible in every part of the Instagram app by positioning them in the center of your screen (more on this later).

Instagram Reels Hack #3: Remove the TikTok Watermark

Instagram recently announced that they’re deprioritizing Reels that are visibly recycled from other apps — meaning they’re less likely to appear in the Instagram Explore Page and the Reels tab.

So, if you’re looking to repurpose your TikTok videos for Instagram Reels, it’s a good idea to remove the TikTok watermark first.

How to remove a TikTok watermark:

  1. Before uploading your final video to TikTok, screen record it. Then crop the screen recording in your photo album to remove the TikTok watermark.

  2. Use a watermark removal tool like Snaptik App, MusicallyDown, or Apowersoft’s Online Watermark Removal.

Instagram Reels Hack #4: Keep Your Captions Short and Sweet

There’s a time and place for long educational captions on Instagram (hello, Instagram feed posts!), but because of Reels’ dimensions, short and sweet captions are the way to go.

When you share an Instagram Reel, the first line can be up to 55 characters. When you go over that amount, your caption is followed by “… more” for viewers to tap and read the rest.

And when they click on the “…more” button, the Reel won’t pause. Instead it opens up the caption, darkens the video, and makes it more difficult for your audience to read the text or see what’s happening in your Reel.

Try to write a first line that’s both engaging and enticing. And, if possible, only include relevant tags and hashtags in the next line.

For example, @shinewithnatasha captivates her audience by including a quick one-liner at the top of her caption that’s both enticing and engaging. When someone clicks to read more, they’ll find additional context to the video and a CTA.

TIP: Include a CTA in your Instagram Reels caption! Encouraging your audience to comment and engage with your videos is a great way to increase your reach.

Instagram Reels Hack #5: Hop on Trends Fast

Similar to TikTok, trends on Reels come and go quite quickly.

To hop on a trend before it becomes old news, take a few minutes each morning to scroll through the Instagram Reels tab and other creators’ profiles to see what they’re sharing.

Is there anything that seems to consistently pop up — a particular song? An audio clip? A dance trend?

If so, click on the music to see how many other creators have used the audio. Scroll through the videos to get an idea of what the trend is. For example, the “Watcha Say” trend was a big hit on Instagram Reels recently.

Another option is to hop over to TikTok and see what’s trending there. If you notice a trend that’s not on Reels yet, you’ve got a chance to be the first to bring it to Instagram.

Instagram Reels Hack #6: Share Your Reels to Your Feed

In case you didn’t know, sharing Reels to your Instagram feed is one of the best ways to boost their views and increase their chances of going viral.

So with this in mind, make sure you opt to share your Reels directly to your Instagram feed.

Otherwise, there’s a chance your Reel will go unseen by your community.

If you’re worried about ruining your Instagram aesthetic, you can upload an Instagram Reel cover image so it fits in nicely with the rest of your content.

Plus, you can always decide to remove the Reel from your feed at a later date. If you want to see how your Instagram Reels cover photo will look on your feed, check out this handy Later hack:

Preview your Instagram feed in advance before you post with Later for free! Sign up and create your perfect Instagram aesthetic today:

Instagram Reels Hack #7: Optimize On-screen Text Placement

Whether you’re adding closed captions or additional text, where you put the on-screen text is extremely important.

If your audience can’t easily see the text, they’re likely to scroll right past your video — which can be a major engagement blocker.

When adding text, make sure it’s within 4:5 dimensions, especially if you’re sharing it to your feed.

This way, when a user clicks on your Reel in-feed, the text will be visible.

While this doesn’t sound like a big deal, carefully curating your text placement makes it a much more enjoyable experience for your audience.

Instagram Reels Hack #8: Find Your Niche and Post Consistently

One of the best ways to gain virality on Instagram Reels is by finding your niche and posting consistently.

There are so many Instagram users with a wide range of interests and hobbies. No matter what your brand or business does, there’s a niche for you!

If you’re a wellness brand, you could share meditation tips like @malacollective. If you’re a bakery, you could go behind-the-scenes in the kitchen like @jennaraecakes:

And even if your first few Reels don’t garner a ton of traction or engagement, keep going! Just like anything else on social media, it’s all about trial and error.

Instagram Reels Hack #9: Provide Value and Share Educational Content

If you thought Reels were only for the latest dance trends, think again. There are tons of creators going viral by sharing informative content.

Creating educational content provides a valuable service for your audience, and helps position you as an expert on a certain topic.

Jera Foster Fell does a great job at this. She has cemented herself as a social media marketing expert by consistently sharing tips, tricks, and behind-the-scenes content for her entrepreneurial community.

Instagram Reels Hack #10: Include Hashtags

While there are no Instagram Reels insights just yet, including hashtags can be a great way to help the Instagram algorithm “understand” your content and serve it to relevant audiences.

For example, using hashtags like #easyrecipes, #mealideas and #dinnerinspiration will indicate to the Instagram Reels algorithm that your content is about food — which may increase the likelihood of it being served to users who are actively engaging with similar content.

Plus, now that Instagram has rolled out keyword search in several countries, users searching for related topics will be able to discover your content.

Ready to hack the Instagram Reels algorithm? Check out our blog post where we outline everything you need to know about the latest changes.

Instagram Reels Hack #11: Use Music from the Instagram Library or Create Your Own Audio

Using music from the Instagram music library or creating your own original audio is one of Instagram’s top tips for getting your Instagram Reel seen by more users.

Finding the right music for your video can be a challenge, but luckily Instagram has a hefty Instagram music library to choose from.

You can browse music curated just for you, trending songs, categories, or use the search bar to find a specific song.

Having trouble accessing Instagram’s music library? Check out our blog post: How to Add Music in Instagram Stories.

Instagram Reels Hack #12: Share to Your Instagram Story

Last but not least, remember to share your Instagram Reels to your Instagram Stories.

If you’re looking to increase your reach, it’s a good idea to share your Reel in as many places as possible.

Plus, you can always cover part of your Instagram Reel with a GIF or image (like below) to encourage your audience to click and watch the full video.

Creating Instagram Reels is one of the best tactics to grow your following right now.

With these top 12 tips, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition, build a niche, and reach new audiences.

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Stay on top of the biggest social media marketing trends!


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