Tips on Creating Instagram Reels That People Want to See

The truth is, captivating Instagram Reels aren't about luck - they're about crafting content that informs, entertains, and ignites engagement. This guide unveils the secrets behind those reels you can't stop watching.

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram Reels and felt a pang of envy? Wondering how creators and businesses like yours craft those funny, informative, or visually stunning videos that rack up Instagram reel views and likes? Well, the secret isn’t magic (although creativity certainly helps).

But for many brands, racking up views is easier said than done. It’s common to feel that, no matter how much effort you put into creating incredible content, you’re not getting the attention you hoped for.

This article will equip you with the tools & knowledge you need to create Instagram Reels that people genuinely enjoy watching. We’ll also look at why Spotlight is a helpful tool to have in your toolbox when embarking on this journey.

Understand your audience

Before you whip out your camera & lighting gear to shoot your next reel, you need to understand who you’re creating content for to get more Instagram Reel views. You can make all the content in the world, but you won’t get too far if you’re not appealing to the interests, likes, dislikes, needs, and pain points of your target audience.

To identify and research your target audience, look at Instagram Insights. You’ll be able to glean details like age, gender, and location of the people who are already active on your page if you have access to a professional dashboard. You’ll need a creator or Instagram business account to see this feature.

Instagram insights in professional dashboard

Look for the ones who are most engaged, as they’re likely resonating with your brand already. 

You can also look at comments on your existing audience and dig deeper into those profiles to learn what these engaged followers are interested in. Also, you can check out what your competitors are doing and see how your target audience is engaging with their Instagram Reels as well.

Another way to understand your audience is by analyzing trends. Use Instagram’s Explore page to find popular creators in your niche and see what content they’re creating that’s getting the most engagement. You can also access Reels Trends to look at trending audio and hashtags.

Reel Trends Instagram


Create a content plan and strategy

Now that you understand your audience, what they’re interested in seeing on Instagram, and what kinds of interests and key pain points they have, you’re ready to start designing a killer content plan that gets their attention and keeps it for the long run.

The first step is to set clear, achievable goals that’ll get you more Instagram Reel views. 

Are you looking to increase your following, boost engagement, promote a specific product or service, or drive traffic back to your website? 

When your goals are specific and measurable, you’ll have a sense of direction and the ability to track your progress as you go. As you work on your content plan, think of some categories and ideas for creating content that’s likely to resonate with your audience. This can include Reels that are:

  • Educational: Tips, tutorials, and how-to guides related to your specific brand and the niche and industry as a whole
  • Entertaining: Funny or interesting skits, behind-the-scenes explorations, or trends like dance challenges
  • Inspirational: Stories that share success, personal growth, and overcoming challenges
  • Interactive: Questions, polls, and Q&A sessions where your audience can ask questions directly

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, you can simply borrow ideas from what others are doing in your niche or apply some ideas that are trending. 

Instagram for business account used to share useful tips for Instagram reels growth

@instagramforbusiness is a great account to follow if you’re looking for the latest tips on growing and connecting with your audience. 

Remember, whatever content idea you settle with for your Instagram Reel has to have an angle that is engaging and interactive. You can do this by leveraging the power of storytelling. 

Why is this important?

We’re wired for stories. A well-crafted narrative grabs viewers from the first second and keeps them wanting more. Stories make us laugh, cry, feel suspense, or root for the protagonist. When you trigger emotions, viewers become invested and more likely to engage.

Consider technical aspects

Coming over to the technical aspects of Instagram Reels, there are a few key points to consider when creating engaging Instagram Reels. We’re talking video quality, editing, sounds, and effects. 

Video quality

No one wants to see blurry Instagram Reels. Make sure to optimize your video settings to avoid this. Turn off HDR, select 4K at 60fps, and use enhanced stabilization to make your Reels sharp and appealing to viewers. Also, be sure to shoot in well-lit environments: either outdoors, or indoors with good lighting. If you’re recording with a smartphone, opt for the back camera over the front-facing (selfie) camera.


Editing can help you refine your content and make it more engaging. Use third-party apps like CapCut or InShot for better editing tools than Instagram’s built-in editor. You’ll be able to experiment with editing features like transitions, effects, and overlays, which may help add to the look and feel of your videos while adding some extra excitement. Increase sharpness by 20% to improve video quality of your Reels. 

Music and effects

Instagram allows you to add music and effects to your Reels. Choose music that complements your content based on the general feel and mood it creates. You can use Instagram’s music library or switch your account type for more options. In terms of effects, consider things like filters, polls, stickers, and text to add extra flair.

Don’t neglect Instagram’s engagement metrics

Your Instagram Reels won’t get the visibility you want if you don’t work to generate engagement. To ensure they reach a broader audience, focus on pleasing Instagram’s algorithm. Using things like captions and hashtags in your videos can make a huge difference in the level of engagement.

Write engaging captions that ask questions, tell an interesting story, give context to what they are watching, or encourage reactions. Pair them with a mix of trending and specific hashtags to target your audience effectively. 

Use clear calls to action, such as “Comment your favorite,” “Follow for more tips,” or “Tag a friend who can relate.” This nudges your audience to engage with your content, which not only strengthens relationships with your viewers — it also boosts visibility by triggering Instagram’s algorithm to share it with even more people.

Lastly, as a general rule of thumb, never leave a comment unanswered (or at least give a reaction like a “like” or “love” to show that you’re listening and engaged). Respond to comments with thoughtful replies or additional questions. Show your audience you’re interested in their input to foster deeper connections.

Optimize and analyze constantly

One of the best strategies for optimizing the value of your Reels is deciding your posting times. Generally speaking, late mornings and early evenings on weekdays can be great times to get some engagement, as they’re some of the times when people are most active. But be sure to check your page’s Instagram Insights to learn more about the key times for your unique audience.

Instagram has a special feature that lets you view insights on the Reels in your business account. Go to the Reels tab in your profile, choose the Reel you want to see insights for, tap the “…” icon on the lower right, and tap “View Insights.”

You’ll be able to see analytics performance like:

  • Accounts reached
  • Total number of plays
  • Intitial plays
  • Replays
  • Total watch time
  • Average watch time
  • Follows as a result of the Reel

Pay attention to what’s working and what isn’t. What are the traits and characteristics of your Reels that got the most attention and engagement versus the ones with the least? Can you experiment with those traits and characteristics in future content?

As a general rule, you should always be coming back to your analytics performance to see how you’re doing, then tweaking and optimizing to grow the strategies and content types that are generating interest.

Once you put all these tips together, you’ll be well on your way to creating Instagram Reels that resonate with your audience. 

Remember, these are general guidelines, and your business account might find different approaches even more successful. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your Reels. 

The best way to find what works for you is to track your results and see what content gets your audience excited. This experimentation will help you refine your Reels strategy and establish yourself as a must-watch creator.

Use Spotlight to boost Instagram Reel views on your website 

While creating engaging Instagram Reels is key to driving views, if you have a website, you can also consider using a plugin like Spotlight

Our WordPress plugin simplifies embedding your Instagram Reels directly on your site, making it even easier for your website visitors to discover your content, potentially increasing your Instagram Reel views.

It also offers pre-designed Instagram Reel templates to help match your site’s aesthetic – making your audience’s experience visually entertaining.

Spotlight Instagram Feeds Grid Template

You also get robust analytics that track how your Reels perform. See which posts perform best and tweak your strategy to get more engagement. With detailed insights, you can optimize your Instagram feed for better performance.

Check out Spotlight if you’d like to add those beautiful Instagram Reels to your website to keep generating engagement and conversions across multiple channels. At the end of the day, you’ll get what you put in — so put in the time and effort to make your content stand out and inspire your audience.

Can Spotlight help you and your team revamp your website? We'd love to help you find out. Why not give Spotlight a try?

Article by

Dan Virgillito

Dan Virgillito is a professional content writer with a passion for social media. Dan’s insightful posts are a must-read for anyone looking to enhance their online marketing game through Instagram feeds.

Article by

Picture of Dan Virgillito

Dan Virgillito

Dan Virgillito is a professional content writer with a passion for social media. Dan’s insightful posts are a must-read for anyone looking to enhance their online marketing game through Instagram feeds.
Picture of Dan Virgillito

Dan Virgillito

Dan Virgillito is a professional content writer with a passion for social media. Dan’s insightful posts are a must-read for anyone looking to enhance their online marketing game through Instagram feeds.
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