How to Get Views on TikTok and Instagram Reels in 2024

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on July 8, 2024.

Disclaimer: This Week in Blogging uses demographic data, email opt-ins, and affiliate links to operate this site. Please review our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

If you are looking to grow your Instagram or TikTok, it can feel like spinning your wheels at times. The algorithms are seemingly all over the place. Some accounts can blow up and thrive, while others may not see much movement at all.

For the longest time, I discounted short-form video primarily because I was in the latter category. It wasn't until friends of mine gave me a private lashing over what I was doing wrong that I started to take a strategic approach to how I create my short-form content. (Thank you, NC Tripping and Fun Orange County Parks– go check them out!)

So in this one, I thought I'd break out what I've been doing to grow my presence on these short-form video apps, and inspire some ideas to try in your own content creation.

Use SEO Keyword Research as Your Guide

Instagram Reels

While we personally do not use social media apps in such a manner, many studies show that younger generations are using apps like TikTok as a search engine. Whether this is cause for concern for websites, blogs, and traditional search formats is one question, but regardless, the truth is many users are actively looking for content when on the app.

How do they find new content beyond the Suggested for You feeds? Searching with keywords.

So, much like we engage in SEO when creating content on our websites, we should also be engaging in SEO when creating content on our social media profiles. However, perhaps instead of it being called search engine optimization, we should be calling it social engine optimization. Similar logic but on a different platform.

While it may take some time for research software to figure out search volumes for apps not named Google (if they do at all), we could likely use the same keyword logic as analogs for creating short-form videos.

Once I had this realization, things started to click a bit more. I spend a great deal of time trying to capture large keywords on my website as an authority, and I should be making videos that reflect that (albeit, you know, short).

The fun thing about this is that short-form video doesn't have to be the most comprehensive piece out there. You may take your mega guide to a topic and distill it down to five of the best/most famous/your favorite/trendiest subpoints, cut it into a TikTok/Reel with 1-3 of your favorites in clip form, and direct people to your website to read more if they so choose.

So start aligning your video content with your most popular articles and see what happens!

  • Although we're leaving this topic vague regarding what those ideas could be, for those who operate travel sites or destination blogs, as we do, we do have a starting list of popular travel blog keywords (particularly for destination-focused sites) you may want to check out! Just like I am working my way through this list in creating content for my blog, I am creating TikToks and Reels with similar ideas.

Strategic Use of Text and Audio

Instagram Reels

For the longest time, I was reluctant to add text to my Reels/TikTok, and my audio choices were also pretty terrible.

Much like how the apps are trending toward curated topics around keywords, you still need to be concerned with the aesthetic of your Reels as well. Without having a user on your profile and scrolling through your feed explicitly (or via mindless scrolling), you have just a few seconds to capture their attention to watch your video (1-3 seconds, typically).

Often, this is done by appealing text, exciting audio, and/or interesting footage within the first few frames- likely a combination of all three.

While I would say I was reluctant to add text to my videos, when I did, it was also equally bad- so much so that some of my friends who were thriving gave me a bit of a private lashing over minute details like contrast, location, and the like. Yes, it really is that important!

Thankfully, this is something you can work on and improve over time. Most short-form videos do not get indexed forever (although some viral ones can pick up traffic for a great deal of time), and viewers generally won't notice nor care insofar as your content is improving.

On the audio front, you have two choices to make here as well. On one hand, trending/viral audio clips are often thought to receive algorithm bumps, and you can sometimes receive an uplift purely because the content is already popular. On the other, especially for those who are monetizing via bonus campaigns (e.g. Ads on Reels on Facebook), you may find that copyrighted music may not be eligible for earnings.

As such, I am torn on this one. For growing accounts that aren't monetized, you obviously have less of a worry here. But for larger accounts who want to receive an income for content creation, you may need to head to royalty-free music selections like on Facebook's Sound Collection to find audio that is a fit.

Where you fall here is up to you, but just remember that every network out there has different licensing agreements for music. Song A may be okay on Facebook, but not TikTok. Song B may be available on Instagram, but not Facebook (rare, but we've seen it). Make sure your music is okay for each network independently!

  • Don't overlook the carousel featured image selection, too. While you can adjust these slightly in some apps, when overlaying text and video, keep in mind what your featured image would look like when editing. Sometimes only a few pixels of movement or lengthened text overlay length could make a big difference when it comes to getting clicks within a feed.

Encourage Engagement at All Costs

Instagram Reels

Although we could go on and on about the types of content that could do well in short-form video, there is one metric that is valued by social media companies above all others- engagement.

Gone are they days where social media accounts will show your content to your followers simply because you have them. No, that makes too much since that your content is shown to people who opted into receiving it. Now, the algorithms will typically only show your content if it meets whatever proprietary metrics they have, typically based on how much people like, comment, and, most importantly, share.

There are simple techniques you can employ here, like asking a question (e.g. “where should we go next?” or “what's your favorite food here?”). Others may involve speaking in superlatives or other impressive sounding phrases (eg. “new,” “best ever,” “favorite,” “holy wow I've never seen this before,” and so on). People love to respond to these because you already set the stage to get them to do so.

Yes, marketing psychology really does work. Several creators I know call everything the “best ever” or “never seen this before” (despite literally sharing the same content 10 times a month, but, look, “new paint!”), and the comments flow in with people going “looks great!” or “amazing!” which, in turn, helps increase the organic reach even further.

But the truth is that captions like these work because they satisfy two key requirements of short-form video success.

First, it features a solid keyword “best restaurant in [city].” We won't rehash this one because we discussed it above. If someone is searching, it would likely be along those keyword lines. This should not be a surprise to anyone who has worked in SEO for a bit of time.

Second, it is designed for engagement. Don't you want the best [whatever] in the city? Who wouldn't! All you then need is a mildly appealing video and enough people chiming in with “looks good!” or sharing with a friend, and the rest is history.

Do you need to have tried every [insert whatever] here to make that claim? No, not for social media, at least. Will people who know better than you roll their eyes when you are wrong? Absolutely. But the principals of E-E-A-T are seemingly not factored into social algorithms in the slightest- only engagement.

Do you have to engage in bad rhetoric to succeed? While most do, I think the answer is not necessarily. You may even find that simply asking a question in your video could be enough to get people to chime in. “Where do you want to eat that you have never been?” could be just as impactful as receiving 100 fire emojis without sacrificing your personal standards.

In either case, whatever you do to encourage engagement will be a good thing- even if we want to admit that most of the popular techniques are pretty terrible.

Short Form Video is Also Entertainment

Although I consider myself a producer of (ideally, quality) information first and foremost, it is important to not forget that short-form videos are becoming a new form of entertainment just as much as they are for search.

Yes, you've likely stopped and watched some incredibly dumb content over the years, either because it popped up next in your feed or because you genuinely found it interesting to watch. In fact, when you see content that has hundreds of thousands or millions of views, your very next thought could very well be “dear lord that is stupid.”

But, guess what? You also just watched it. So the video got intended result- it was seen!

The simple matter is that people consume short-form media in a manner that is no different than watching TV, movies, listening to music, or more. The networks make it very easy to get sucked into watching content, and that is the point.

As such, it is worth keeping in mind that when you create videos, at the end of the day you are also simply creating content that people want to watch to be entertained. Yes, they may learn something. Ideally, they'll comment on it, too. But do not overlook the elements on entertainment, as this may be an angle we as bloggers have simply overlooked for far too long.

Trendy is Trending, But Originality Helps

Instagram Reels

Finally, we come to the element of short-form media that I hate the most- trending videos.

There was a time when I would tell every creator who would listen that you are far more likely to succeed by coming up with a niche that is unique that you could own (E-E-A-T and all). This is still true for those who want to have a robust marketing business, I'll admit, but for those who simply want their Reels or TikToks to blow up, well, engagement favors what is trending.

While I personally think that the first person who comes up with a good idea should be rewarded immensely and everyone else who, quite frankly, copies that idea should not, this is not necessarily the case on social media right now.

I am not saying this as a green light to go make the 7,230,023rd dancing video in the latest trend, or point out to nothing where words pop up, or to verbatim steal a caption from another creator and put it on your own Reel. I still find that lack of creativity to be lazy even if it gets engagement.

But I will say that you should look to see what kind of content is working and inspire your own original riffs from there. Are specific text formats in and others out? Take note. Are there clip styles that seem to create more engagement potential than others? You may be able to adopt an element as your own.

At the time of writing this, lists were trending heavily on Instagram Reels, where creators would simply write out 10 things they liked in a theme or a list of items they ordered at a restaurant without any opinion added. For those who value expertise, this goes against many of our personal standards for content creation, but you can still take a twist and make it your own while showcasing your authority.

For example, I may share a Reel highlighting 10 places I love in a neighborhood, with details that showcase why I like them in particular. At the end of the Reel I point out that we have a full neighborhood guide on our website with 30, 50, or more places we've personally checked out over the years. The video? Just a few clips made when walking around, perhaps food from a restaurant, or an aerial clip from our drone.

It is still using the trendy concepts that work, for sure, but by weaving in some originality and personal experiences, I feel less annoyed about it all around. Since most influencers do not, this is where the opportunity lies!

At the end of the day, however, despite all the nonsense, clickbait, and copies of copies of copies of a trend that was beaten to death years ago, you can still create content online that becomes popular while staying true to yourself. Yes, you may have to come to terms with changing your production content slightly, but if you are flexible, potential reach and massive growth could be your reward.

Have you found other ways to succeed on TikTok or Instagram Reels this year? Comment below to share!

Join This Week in Blogging Today

Join This Week in Blogging to receive our newsletter with blogging news, expert tips and advice, product reviews, giveaways, and more. New editions each Tuesday!

Can't wait til Tuesday? Check out our Latest Edition here!

Upgrade Your Blog to Improve Performance

Check out more of our favorite blogging products and services we use to run our sites at the previous link!

How to Build a Better Blog

Looking for advice on how to improve your blog? We've got a number of articles around site optimization, SEO, and more that you may find valuable. Check out some of the following!

Leave a Comment