Every once in a while, Instagram pulls back the curtain and gives very clear advice on how to make your content perform well with their algorithm. They often drop this info through posts on their Creators (@creators) account - give it a follow if you don’t already. Here’s a list of what Instagram suggests to do and not do to make your Reels perform well on the Reels Tab.
DO Post Reels That:
1. are entertaining and fun (i.e. delights people, grabs their attention, makes them laugh, or has a fun surprise or twist).
2. are inspiring (i.e. starts a trend that others can easily participate in).
3. use creative tools like text, filter, or camera effects.
4. uses vertical video; horizontal videos are typically not as easy to recreate.
5. uses music from the Instagram music library and/or original audio you create or find on Reels.
6. are experiments! Try something new, be yourself and see what works for you.
We find number 5 a little annoying because Instagram still hasn’t given our account access to the Instagram music library. Hard to follow a suggestion that you don’t have access to.
TikTok often pushes content of people talking about sad, scary, or depressing stories that have happened to them. We've definitely also witnessed a shame culture on TikTok, where creators will make TikTok's specifically targeted at another user to call them out. This culture doesn't seem to exist on Instagram Reels (yet), and we love that Instagram is making it clear that they want content that is entertaining, inspiring, and fun - setting them apart from the wide range of content that can gain views and success on TikTok.
DON’T Post Reels That:
1. are blurry due to low-resolution.
2. are visibly recycled from other apps (i.e, contains logos or watermarks).
3. are uploaded with a border around them.
4. have the majority of the image covered by text.
Recommendation number 2 is pretty clearly aimed at users that are reposting their TikToks to Instagram Reels. We’re guilty of that too! But we always make sure to cut out the watermark. Check out this reel we made explaining how to make sure you don’t have the TikTok watermark on your Reels before posting!
When Instagram gives recommendations like this - they mean it. Don't think you can keep on with business as usual and think that your content will have reach. Start applying Instagram's advice ASAP to make sure your content can be discovered on the Reels Tab.