Instagram reach can seem like magic. How do some creators get tons of views while others rarely see it? And why do some quick, spur-of-the-moment posts seem to get more views than others you spend hours creating?
It’s not all smoke and mirrors. In this article, we’ll share 14 ways to get more views and increase reach on your Instagram content.
What does 'Instagram reach' even mean?
Instagram reach is the number of unique people who view (and hopefully interact with) your Instagram posts. You can track Instagram reach for a single post, for your Instagram profile, or for a social media campaign. Along with the number of unique visitors, you also get insights into the demographic of the people who saw your post or profile.
This reach can be organic or paid. Organic is when the Instagram algorithm shows your posts to similar audiences. Paid reach is when you purchase Instagram ads to sponsor your content — it has a “sponsored” or some other CTA label attached to it.
“When you reach people organically, you’re a lot more likely to not only reach your right audience but also hold their attention. This is because people tend to ignore paid ads more than they do organic content.”
In this article, we’re exploring ways to boost your organic Instagram reach.
What is Instagram reach rate?
Instagram reach rate is the percentage of followers who see your Instagram post. Unlike Instagram reach, it’s unique to your followers only and doesn’t include non-followers who view your post.
Instagram reach rate is calculated as: (Total reach / Number of followers) * 100
For example, if your reach is 500 and you have 5,000 followers, your Instagram reach rate is: (500/5000)*100 = 10 percent.
What is a good Instagram reach?
The right answer? It depends — on your profile and the type of Instagram post you’re evaluating. Let’s look at some data.
One study from June 2022 categorized the average reach based on the number of followers an Instagram creator has.
- Instagram creators with 500 to 2,000 followers reached 292 people via in-feed posts, 114 people via Instagram Stories, and 1,600 people via Instagram Reels.
- Instagram creators with 2,000 to 10,000 followers reached 964 people via in-feed posts, 244 people via Instagram Stories, and 3,400 people via Instagram Reels.
- Instagram creators with 10,000 to 50,000 followers reached 4,400 people via in-feed posts, 698 people via Instagram Stories, and 16,800 people via Instagram Reels.
Another analysis of 876 businesses found brands with smaller following (less than 501K) should reach 34 percent of their audience through posts and 7.5 percent of their followers through Instagram Stories.
How is Instagram reach different from Instagram impressions?
Instagram reach, and Instagram impressions are often used interchangeably, but they are different terms.
Instagram impressions are the number of times your post was seen. Unlike Instagram reach, 'impressions' don’t consist of unique people. If the same person sees your Instagram Reel three times, it’ll count as three impressions but one reach.
With the terminology discussion out of the way, let’s discuss how to get more views on your Instagram Reels.
How to get more views on your Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels are famous for being the primary booster of Instagram reach. Here’s how you can capitalize on them to grow your reach by leaps and bounds:
1. Grab attention in the first 3 seconds
People are having a marathon in their Instagram Reels tab. You have to grab their attention in the first three seconds to get them to stop the scroll.
Get rid of the introductory words — like “hey people!” — and get right to the point. Tease what the audience will get if they watch your reel to entice curiosity — and deliver on that promise.
Some good hook ideas you can customize for your Instagram Reels to boost video views:
- This one tip/fact will blow your mind
- Do you struggle with [a problem your target audience struggles with]? Follow these X tips
- These X things are holding you back from [result your target audience wants to achieve]
- Did you know [a surprising fact your audience would love to know, but might not be aware of]
- How to [something your audience wants to learn] for free/in X easy steps
- Secret to accomplishing [something your audience wants to achieve]
A good example is creator Erin McGoff — all her Instagram Reels highlight a curiosity gap and begin with a bang that keeps people hooked.
Inspiration is notorious for striking at random times — when you’re walking your dog, watching a show, or preparing dinner. Saving the idea ensures you never lose the thread.
2. Use a mix of speaking-to-the-camera and trending audio
Using Instagram's trending audio and topics can boost your Instagram reach significantly. How do you find these trends?
- Tap the 'Trending' button when you upload a Reel. This will show you 50 of the most popular songs on the app right now. (Note that this new feature is still being rolled out, so it might be available to you yet. Sit tight — it should land in your app soon!)
- Keep an eye on your Reels feed (tap the video icon at the bottom of your Instagram app to get there). Your Reels feed is unique to you and the best place to find trending Reels from content creators you follow and those you don’t.
- Follow Instagram's @creators account. This is a gold mine of inspiration and trends! You can join the Creators broadcast channel to have news of Instagram’s latest features and trends sent straight to your Instagram inbox. Sign up here
“Don’t you dare [do a specific thing] as a Wes Anderson movie” is a good example of what’s 'trending' content. Creators from across the globe put their own personality, humor, and niche to it to create Instagram Reels in a similar format.
Along with trending content, you also want to produce original, evergreen content where you’re talking directly to the camera about a specific topic. It builds community, connection, and true value for your audience.
Ankita Chawla, marketing consultant and content creator, follows a ratio of 60:40 — where 60 percent of the time, she focuses on producing original speak-to-the-camera Instagram Reels.
“Original content needs to be more in volume as compared to trending content. The speed at which your community will get to know you and start trusting you will be much higher if your original content is more,” she says.
3. Make Instagram Reels that get people commenting, saving, and sharing
Instagram Reels’ engagement boosts when it gets a lot of attention — in the form of comments, saves, and shares.
- For more comments: Have a call-to-action that asks the audience what they think of a particular topic in your niche. Or ask them to comment their favorite part/tip from your Instagram Reel. Giveaways are another great way to boost comments on your Instagram Reels — ask your followers to comment about something specific to participate in the contest. Don’t be afraid to get creative here! A good example of a comment-driven call-to-action is this Instagram Reel by Michaela.
- For more saves: Share Instagram Reels that share advice, lists of resources, or tools that your followers can refer back to later. Think: What would my target audience can’t remember from just a video, but would want to reference in the future? This Instagram Reel by Maeve is an excellent example of how to pack info in a video your audience would like to save.
- For more sharing: What kind of video would your audience like to share with their friends? Funny and relatable content is the most shareable of all — think of memes you can create in your niche. Apart from humor, you can also rely on aesthetic, informational, and educational Instagram Reels to boost the shareability of your video. AI company, Tl;dv, often creates funny kits on their Instagram Reels, which their audience would DM to their friends.
4. Write well-thought-out captions on your Instagram Reels
If a hook grabs your audience's attention, the Instagram caption ensures you don’t lose it after the first three seconds.
Whether your captions on Instagram Reels should be short or long is debatable.
- On one hand, it isn’t easy to read the text below Reels — advocating for captions to be shorter. People also might not prefer reading long captions because they come to the Reels tab for video content.
- On the other hand, captions — when well-formatted — provide more context to your Reel and can make your Reels more discoverable because Instagram’s search bar reads them. Plus, if your followers are discovering your reel in their home feed and not the Reels tab, the caption is easily readable.
A 2023 study found Instagram captions perform best when either they’re very long (over 2,000 characters) or very short (under 20 characters).
The right answer is: It depends. Don’t cut yourself out if your Instagram Reel requires a long caption. But if your video can do with a short and sweet caption, don’t ramble. Katie Gatti Tassin is a creator who has just the right length of captions (with a clear CTA) — not too long and not too short.
The best way is to experiment and see what your audience prefers. Do you see an increase in reach when you write longer captions? If yes, continue giving more details below your Instagram Reels. If not, stick with shorter captions.
(Pssst…you might be able to embrace your inner novelist when Instagram releases their text-based app.)
5. Share your Instagram Reel in your Instagram Stories
An easy way to boost your Instagram Reels’ views is by sharing them on your Instagram Stories. When people view your Story, it will count as another view of your Reel.
Sharing your Instagram reel on Instagram Stories is also important because all of your followers might not get your new reel in their feed — and Stories are a great way to let them know you’ve added something new to your feed.
How to boost your reach for Instagram Carousel posts
If you thought Instagram would be all about Reels, Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) is here with some news: Photos are still very much in play for increasing your reach. Carousels are Instagram posts where you can add up to ten photos or videos in one post. Your audience swipes left to see the next slide.
After analyzing over 5 million Instagram posts sent through Buffer to uncover the best time to post on Instagram, we also discovered that Carousels generate far more engagement than both single-photo posts and Reels!
Here are three ways to increase the reach of your Instagram Carousels:
6. Create a story, tutorial, or listicle that keeps people swiping
The biggest thing to take care of in Instagram Carousels is people keep swiping to the next slide. Tanishaa Bhansali, an Instagram coach, explains why:
“The beginning of your Carousel post has to be a hook, and the entire post has to be like a story stitched together. People should feel that itch, that curiosity to keep reading until they reach the last slide. This will boost the watch time of your Carousels’ post, and it’ll get pushed to more of your followers.”
There are many engaging Carousel post ideas you can experiment with, such as:
- Tutorials on how your target audience can do something using your product
- Tell a story using graphics and/or text
- Before/after images
Cosmix Wellness’ Instagram account is a great place for Carousel post inspiration. The wellness brand frequently shares before/after pictures, customer testimonials, and behind-the-scenes stories of its new product launches.
Right now, GenZ is using TikTok as a search engine. The day when Instagram users start using this social media platform the same way isn’t far away. Instagram is already using the keywords on your Carousel’s posts to understand the topic — so ensure your Carousel posts contain the words your target audience might be searching for.
7. Keep your design clean
Branded design is excellent for announcing product launches, sharing happy testimonials, or spotlighting something in your company. But when you’re sharing educational, shareable Carousels, we recommend keeping your design clean and simple.
Why? Instagram users have varying opinions on what constitutes ‘good design,’ and the idea of aesthetics is subjective. They might not want to share branded content or design they don’t find appealing enough to associate with.
Your Carousels in plain white or colored backgrounds with readable font are risk-free of these personal preferences. Trivarna Hariharan is a good example of how implementing this can lead to a wide reach — she has no Instagram Reels on her account, only Carousels. She has 191,000 followers, and that number is rapidly growing.
This doesn’t mean you only have to stick with white, especially if you want a grid that pops. Enhance your social media images using your brand colors as the background for Instagram Carousels that are educational and shareable.
8. Use a variety of content types in your Instagram Carousel posts
Who said Carousel posts have to stay limited to text? Tie in images, videos, and text together to create an enticing and curiosity-driven Instagram Carousel.
Various content types keep people engaged and “show” things — a superior experience to text alone. Morgan Starr-Riestis, a holistic wellness therapist, often uses Carousels that start with an on-brand headline or tweet, but transition into relatable memes and comics.
This doesn’t mean you’re forbidden to use text-only for your Instagram Carousels. What you should include in a Carousel post often depends on the topic and your brand voice. But we definitely recommend experimenting with using emojis, interactive elements, images, and videos for your Instagram Carousels and monitoring if these posts get more reach compared to text-only posts.
How to get more views on your Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are an underrated content type to boost your Instagram reach. They might not be as relevant as Instagram Reels or Carousel posts to reach non-followers — because they don’t show up on the explore page — but they’re still crucial in reaching your existing followers.
Here’s how to increase the reach of your Instagram Stories:
9. Use interactive elements in your Instagram Stories
This widens the use cases of Instagram Stories exponentially. Instagram Stories can come in handy for:
- Asking your audience their queries on a specific topic
- Polling your followers on what they’d like to see from you
- Sharing the behind-the-scenes of your business with your audience
- Running fun quizzes to share knowledge about a topic in your niche
- Informing your audience about the new posts in your feed by resharing them on Instagram Stories
- Teasing an upcoming in-feed Carousel post, Instagram Reel, or product launch by using the countdown timer
- Forming a personal connection with your audience by sharing bits from your personal life (if you feel comfortable doing that)
Helpful reading: How to Quickly Create Great Instagram Stories with Templates
The more people interact with your Stories (reply in DMs, answer a poll, ask a question, tap a sticker), the higher the chance of the Instagram algorithm pushing your Stories at the top to your followers.
10. Add text to your Instagram Stories
This pointer is most relevant for speaking to the camera on your Instagram Stories or showing something through your back camera.
Instagram users often view Instagram Stories during their lunch break, waiting in line in public spaces, or when they’re bored. They might not be able to hear your video, but they can read text. Instagram lets you add a live transcription on all your Instagram Stories — which you should use to make your Stories more accessible.
Also add the topic of your Instagram Story as text at the top so your followers immediately understand what subject you’re speaking on. Use text to keep them engaged, add a call-to-action, and add nuances you might’ve missed speaking on video.
11. Let your Instagram Stories expire
Instagram Stories are only active for 24 hours. If you upload a Story every two hours from morning to night, there will always be at least one Story on your feed.
The issue is Instagram Story views can drop after your first Story of the day — especially if the first Story wasn’t engaging enough for your followers to click to the next Story. You might notice a sharp decline in Instagram Story views on your first Story for the day versus the tenth.
To reset the Instagram algorithm, let your Stories fully expire before you reupload another batch or even a single Instagram Story. Take a breather for at least a couple of hours (or 24 hours if you wish) before you upload another Instagram Story after seeing a decline in Instagram Story views.
You can also try doing this reset regardless of a downfall in your Instagram Story views. Observe if taking a couple of hours of pause in between increases your Story views. If yes, practice letting your Instagram Stories expire every day.
How to increase the reach of your Instagram profile
We covered many tips on increasing the reach of specific content types on Instagram. But these aren’t the only ways to multiply your Instagram reach. Here are three tips to increase the reach of your Instagram profile as a whole:
12. Optimize your name or username to be clear and search-friendly
It’s one of the easiest Instagram growth and reach strategies: Add keywords to your Instagram username and name.
(Then, use your Instagram bio to specify exactly what you do and who you serve.)
It might not be possible for you to add relevant keywords in both. You might want to keep your username consistent across social media platforms or have it be your name instead of your business’ name. But you can still use keywords in addition to your name to show what your Instagram profile is about.
For example, see the Instagram names of Emily Durham, Nisha Vora, and Sam Bently. They’ve added what they do and post about alongside their name.
You can add your profession, what you post about, or what you stand for in your Instagram name or username. Your profile will show up when people search for the keywords embedded in your name or username, so ensure you use something your audience often searches about.
13: Collaborate with other value-matching creators
Collaborating with other creators in the same space who share your values is the easiest way to tap into a new audience. You can create a new reel together, go live at once, do account takeovers, and more. The ideas and creative potential is endless.
For example, Emily Durham and Blake Johnston collaborated to create a funny Instagram Reel about interviewing a finance bro.
It was a fit because both creators have overlapping audiences who like to be entertained and informed. Their voices and tone are also similar — which only adds to the fun.
Partnerships aren’t limited to creator-with-another-creator, though. If you’re a small business, you can partner with influencers to review your product or share user-generated content too.
14. Post when your audience is online
There’s no one best time to post on Instagram to get more reach. Your audience might be online at a different time than you expect. The only surefire way to get your timing right is to check your Instagram insights to find your audience’s “most active times” and schedule your posts — whether they’re Carousels or Reels for that time only.
Instead of sticking to Instagram’s insights only, use Buffer’s analytics to find the best times to post. Why? Buffer doesn’t limited to telling you the best time to post, but also shares the best types of posts and post frequency.
The best part? It’s easy to understand and navigate the platform — even if you’ve never used social media management tools.
Apart from these actionable tips, there are many other questions and debates on best practices to follow to increase reach on Instagram. Here are their answers:
How often should you post on Instagram to increase reach?
In a Q&A on Instagram’s @creator account, Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, said the ideal posting frequency is “a couple of feed posts per week and a couple of Instagram Stories per day.”
Does posting more content on Instagram lead to an increase in reach? Yes. But you will eventually see a decline in reach if you don’t post high-quality content.
There are no hacks here. Aim for a number that’s realistic for you — whether that’s one post a week, to begin with. The key is to be consistent and avoid creator burnout.
Shannon McKinstrie, a social media trainer, emphasizes the focus should always be on creating high-quality content over shooting for quantity.
“Instagram's algorithm favors accounts with an engaged audience, and when you're focusing quantity, the quality of your content often takes a hit, and then next thing you know, your engagement rate plummets, and Instagram won't do you any favors when that happens. So it's best to focus on high-quality content that resonates with your audience and post about four times a week. Static posts last about three days in the newsfeed, and Reels can last for months if they perform well. So trust me...quality over quantity always.”
Some things that can help with speeding up content production:
- Batch-create content and schedule it in advance
- Repurpose your existing content into Instagram posts
- Repost your old high-performing content (yes, do this with no shame!)
- Find the “Use template” option available in some Reels to hop on trends easily
- Do episodic content (like “social media Fridays”) to talk about one theme consistently
It’s a good social media strategy to batch-create some of your monthly or weekly content and hop on trends the rest of the time. Leave some room for spontaneity.
Dominik, a social, creative-preneur, and SMM agency owner, agrees:
“Having some sort of recurring series that naturally makes people want to binge your content is something we see again and again blow people up recently. Any type of content where people feel like they’re part of something, in the middle of something, or anything that follows somewhat of a storyline is what definitely works pretty well right now. Of course, content like this takes a lot longer to create than your average 7-second trending audio Reel, but these things have a shelf life.”
Which content type should you prioritize on Instagram?
Instagram Carousels or Reels — which should you focus on creating more? It depends on what your audience wants.
There’s no one right cookie-cutter answer. Instagram’s algorithm monitors your followers’ activity and shows content they engage with. If your audience loves Carousel posts, it’ll show more of that to them in their Instagram feed. If they love videos, Instagram will show Reels.
When we asked Meagen Harriman, Instagram Strategist and Content Creator, if Carousels posts are essential for growing on Instagram, she said:
“I wouldn't say that it's vital, but it's a smart type of content to include in your strategy if you want a better chance of success. Everyone should try to use them and track their insights to see how they perform. If you try them out and find that they are not performing well and you don't like creating them - don't continue to use them!”
We also asked her about an ideal ratio of Reels to Carousels.
“Regarding the ratio of Reels vs. Carousels, that too will vary based on each account and each creator, but if I had to choose an "ideal" ratio, I would say for every two to three Reels, share one carousel,” she said.
Instagram analytics are your best friend here. Many insights, like most saved content, number of views, and number of shares, are available natively on the app. But if you’re serious about your Instagram marketing, use social media management tools like Buffer that provide detailed analytics for each post, custom reports based on metrics important to you, and overall performance monitoring.
Should you have an Instagram business or creator account?
An Instagram business profile is for brands who want to run ads. It’s meant to help businesses connect with their prospective customers. Creator accounts are for public figures, artists, and influencers. They’re suitable for brand collaborations and building a community.
Does it matter whether you have an Instagram business account or an Instagram creator account for gaining new followers and boosting your reach? Instagram says no.
Reach wouldn’t be affected by what type of account you have, so go ahead and set it to whichever one meets your requirements.
Does purchasing the blue checkmark your reach on Instagram?
But does getting verified affect reach?
Lia Haberman also tested it and said nothing about witnessing (or not witnessing) an increase in reach — although she did report it’s easier to stand out in notifications with a blue checkmark. But this benefit would only be available until purchasing the blue checkmark becomes second nature, and every other account has one.
That said, there’s no shame in buying the Instagram verified blue checkmark. Benefits like impersonification monitoring and live chat support are strong enough reasons to buy the badge if you want to.
What role do Instagram hashtags play in amplifying Instagram reach?
The relationship between reach and Instagram hashtags is still very will-they-won’t-they. Creator coach Jade says hashtags can still help with reach, but it’s not their primary purpose. The sole purpose of hashtags is to help you become more visible when Instagram users actively search for hashtags you’ve used.
Instagram’s creator account has many tips related to hashtags. They recommend using three to five relevant hashtags — any more won’t bring you any increase in distribution.
Use a mix of popular and niche hashtag categories to rank for your targeted hashtags. Free hashtag generators can help you find these hashtags, and Buffer’s hashtag manager can help you categorize and group hashtags together.
Should you use hashtags? Yes. But not more than five. And don’t spend a lot of time on a hashtag strategy because they aren’t the be-all-end-all for reach.
Does posting with a TikTok watermark decrease your reach on Instagram?
It might. Instagram has guided creators not to post Instagram Reels with a watermark. This doesn’t mean you can’t cross-post your TikTok videos or other video content. But export them raw first and write the same text using Instagram’s Reel editor.
It’s normal for your Instagram reach to fluctuate up and down
Remember, it’s normal for your Instagram reach to go up and down a bit. It’s not always about your content: Sometimes, the algorithm changes might affect your reach. Other times, it might be seasonal (like people spending less time on social media during the holidays).
Don’t put “increasing reach” as the sole focus of your social media marketing strategy. Increased reach is the output of listening to your audience, creating content that resonates with them, and aligning with Instagram’s algorithm.
The tips mentioned in this article can definitely help — but creating high-quality content and building a community is a prerequisite to them.