One of my jobs as someone who teaches other people online strategy is to test out different strategies to see what works. Since Instagram Reels is brand new, I wanted to see just how powerful of a tool it is for online growth. So in February, I posted an Instagram Reel everyday, and here’s what happened!
I posted an Instagram Reel everyday and here’s what happened
Want to listen to the podcast version of my experience when I posted an Instagram Reel everyday? I’ve got you covered!
A quick PSA:
I’m going to share as much as I can about Reels right now, but I also wanted to mention that I have the doors open to my course Insta Sales School in an evergreen way now! So if you leave this post wanting to learn more about how to grow on Instagram and actually use it to increase your bottom line, you can learn more about the course and grab it for yourself right here. There’s an entire PDF case study of my Reels experiment in February that has everything we’ll talk about today PLUS a lot more in there, if you’re interested.
My Instagram Reels strategy in the month of February
Starting on February 1, I posted 26 Reels to my Instagram account. The two days that I didn’t post Reels, I put up an actual post. I wanted to see whether or not posting every day was the strategy, or if the Reels would increase my engagement across the platform as a whole.
Overall, when I posted an Instagram Reel everyday it DID make a major difference.
What I can tell you above and beyond the actual analytics is that you NEED to be doing Reels regularly.
Instagram recommends you do 5-7 Reels per week. I don’t think you need to do one every day, BUT the ratio of Reels that actually took off on my account to the amount that I did is small (so posting them often is important).
I posted 26 Reels and only a few of them “took off” and served as the drivers behind my growth on the platform in February. So if you’re only posting 2 per week/8 per month, you may never actually have one of those take off so your growth will be slower.
If you want to grow on Instagram, whether you’re just starting, have a massive following, or you’ve let your account die and you’re trying to start it back up, YOU CAN GROW WITH REELS.
You can be an early adopter of Reels still – and early adopters see the most growth. Which means you need to start making Reels like yesterday.
My major findings
Reels work. They grow your account, increase your engagement, and will help your account as a whole and then some.
I see Instagram as a tool to help grow your bottom line. In my opinion, it’s not worth growing on Instagram if some of those new followers don’t turn into customers! That piece of the puzzle in my case study is still being formed, but OVERALL I had an increase in my swipe ups, in my story views, and in every other metric that Instagram has.
The most important piece of Reels strategy
The key to Reels is that you HAVE to remember who you’re trying to attract. You should NOT be doing Reels that only people who do what you do will understand. Instead, you want to create Reels that people who need your services will get.
Example: if you’re a web designer, you shouldn’t make a Reel about “the woes of being a web designer” because only other web designers would get that. Get into the mind of your ideal customer and create something that resonates with them!
The Reels that do the best for me are the ones that make my ideal client go, “OH my gosh, you GET me!” I am all about teaching people things, but the Reels where I’m sharing strategies or talking don’t do as well for me.
Reels have to be saveable and shareable. It makes people go “yyyeeessss.” If they watch a Reel and feel like they understand it to their core, they’ll engage. That’s where you find the major growth.
Quick voiceovers that apply to entrepreneurs in general do the best for me!
When I posted a Reel every single day, the engagement on my posts went up. Using regular posts, I get about 100-200 likes. In the middle of doing a bunch of Reels, my posts got between 300-400 likes and way more reach.
Reels grew my follower count by more than 2,500-3,000 followers. But I lost a lot of followers too. And that’s TOTALLY normal. The more active you are on a platform you are, the more followers you’ll lose (especially if you were inactive for awhile).
I gained about 1,500 net followers when I posted Reels every single day. That’s with four of my Reels getting over 100,000 views, about 10 getting 20,000+ views, and a handful getting between 50,000-100,000 views.
Gaining 1,500 followers in a month is a LOT. I went from 14k to about 15.5k, which makes a difference. Honestly, I expected to grow more. And I expected the proportion of new followers from viral Reels to be more, too.
My story views nearly doubled with my Reels. I got a ton of new DMs, and the overall reach of my account went up by over 2,000%. I ended the month with a 3% follower growth too.
Some notes about my Reels experience:
I didn’t have to put in a ton of effort to post an Instagram Reel everyday either. I would batch record 5 or 6 Reels every few days and then post in real time.
I had a much larger account than mine literally copy one of my Reels, which was interesting. I had planned to do an entire series based on that Reel, but now I don’t think I will. It didn’t do super well to begin with anyway.
The thing is, everything with Reels is a “copy.” It’s totally fine to see people using a sound and then use that same sound with a different message. Blatantly ripping people off using an ORIGINAL audio is where I draw the line. I don’t ever want it to seem like I’ve copied someone, and since it didn’t do so well on my account, there was no point in continuing.
The Reels that took off for me
The first two Reels I posted in the month are the two that did the best for me. However, I NEVER had a Reel take off in the moment when I posted it. Everything that “took off” for me happened a week or more after it was posted.
For context, my average views on a Reel are around 4,000. The first Reel I posted has 141,000 views, and the second one (my personal best) has 271,000 views.
The second one started taking off first more than one week after I posted it. And I think the second one took the first one along with it.
So the takeoff period happens one week or more after I posted, and it lasts between 48-72 hours. At most, about 3 days after taking off it starts to die back down.
By “taking off,” I mean when a Reel is gaining WAY more views than usual in a set time period. If I have a Reel that gets like 1,000 views per hour (WAY more than my normal views), I assume it’s being picked up in the algorithm.
Lack of analytics suck.
Instagram really doesn’t let us see a lot of analytics surrounding our Reels, which really sucks. They’re obviously promoting them like crazy but I can’t tell you which Reels gained the most followers or how people saw them from the mouth of Instagram. (I can tell you based on my inference, but still)
Hashtag findings for Reels
Hashtags are VERY important for Reels! When I posted an Instagram Reel everyday, I tested out using hashtags versus not using them.
I experimented with using 28 or 30 hashtags versus 3-4. DEFINITELY use more hashtags rather than less, because I saw a major difference between when I used 30 versus when I used 4. I saw no difference between the 28 or 30.
I did a two-part series about books that changed my business where I purposefully didn’t use hashtags. Part two SUCKED, but part one was doing really well. In a day, it stalled out around 7,000 views which is above my normal view count. When the views stalled, I went back and added all of my standard hashtags as a comment. In 24 hours, it doubled its views and then stopped.
Final verdict: post 30 hashtags with your Reels and you'll see the benefits.
I found that Reels did best for my audience when I posted them later in the afternoon. That might differ depending on your audience, so keep that in mind and test for yourself.
My analytics skyrocketed but conversions were meh.
If we look at my gross follower growth, I gained 2,500 new followers. ALL of my analytics increased by a massive amount. My reach went up by 2,000%.
I got 842,000 VIEWS over the month on my Reels. That’s not far from 1,000,000! They do count views whether they’re from the same or different people, but for the sake of the argument let’s imagine those are 842,000 eyeballs on my content. And I ONLY gained 2,500 followers.
So in my personal experience, about 0.3% of my viewers converted to followers. That means I need to get a lot of views to get just one follower. The ratio of followers to views is WAY less than I expected.
Fun fact for comparison: I also had a Tik Tok go viral during this period
I cross-posted my Reels to Tik Tok and one of them went viral. Overall, I gained about 2,000 followers on Tik Tok, so I gained more on that platform than Instagram. My video got about 140,000 views. So on Tik Tok, my conversion rate was 1.4%.
It’s so much harder to get someone to push that follow button on Instagram than Tik Tok. That doesn’t mean Tik Tok is better for me because the people on Tik Tok aren’t my audience. Some people did come to my Instagram from that video, but not many.
It was SUCH a pain in the butt because I put in the caption and comments that links to anything I mentioned were in my Instagram profile, but almost all of my comments were asking for the link.
I know people who gained like 10,000 views from Reels when they had a few that hit about 1,000,000 views.
Percentage of my Reels that actually took off
I’m counting Reels that got 50,000 views or more right here because that’s what I set as my marker for “taking off.” Prior to February, I had some Reels hitting 28,000 and 55,000, but that was really it. So that’s why I set my marker at 50k.
Of the 26 Reels I posted, only FOUR of them hit 50,000 views.
When I had a Reel that actually “took off,” that’s when I saw my followers growing. The other Reels didn’t make a giant difference. So, 15% of the Reels I posted contributed to my follower growth.
If we go by the stats, posting more often is better than posting less often. That doesn’t mean you have to post EVERY day, but let’s do the math. If you post 3 per week/12 per month and 15% of those take off, that’s about 2. Maybe those 2 Reels get 100,000 views, then using my 0.3% follower metric, you might gain 600 followers from posting 3 Reels per week.
Your version of “taking off” will be different than mine! We all have a different base level, so you have to set that number for yourself. I think if you are getting 3x as many views on your Reels as you have followers, or even double as many, you’re seeing a Reel take off.
What works best for me overall
OVERWHELMINGLY, the Reels that are super easy to create do best for me. They have to make the people who watch it go, “oh my gosh, YES,” or, “wow, that’s funny and so true!”
Both of the Reels that went super viral for me were voiceovers. You can watch them below.
You can see a theme here. I’m attracting people who are frustrated that entrepreneurship isn’t the societal norm.
My current plan is to post 3-4 Reels per week and doing posts other than that. PLEASE know that posting that many Reels doesn’t take me that long to do. Filming 2 this morning took me about 6 minutes.
I hope that you learned from my experience when I posted an Instagram Reel everyday!