Here’s how you can grow your Instagram following with the creative challenge of posting 30 reels in 30 days.
Instagram used to be known as the photo-sharing app, but late in 2021 they announced that video would be their new focus. As a way to recapture market share from the growing TikTok platform, they are encouraging creators to make more short-form video content. This was the impetus for my 30 day Instagram Reels challenge. The benefits of creating reels are:
- Increased reach to new audiences
- A deeper way to connect your current audience
- Access to paid bonuses if you have an Instagram creator account
I’ll be honest. I love Instagram. It’s my favorite app to use. And I’ve done my fair share of 30 day challenges on creating content. But those challenges have all been static photos.
Making 30 short-form videos was a bit terrifying.
- It requires much more effort than posting static photos
- You have to get comfortable with seeing your face and voice on camera
- You have to learn how to edit video
But with growth as my top priority in 2022, I thought to myself, I will post 30 reels in 30 days on my Instagram account. I love a good creative challenge. And experimentation is to be way to break through fears and roadblocks.
The final results of my 30 day Instagram Reels challenge were shocking.
Going into the challenge I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but my primary goal was to increase my total number of followers as I slowly march toward 10,000 followers.
My experiment technically took longer than 30 days and ran from June 1 – July 15. (I’m human and life happens). During the challenge I also accidentally posted 31 videos because I miscounted during production:
- 61K Accounts reached
- 2,477 accounts engaged
- 4,692 likes
- 224 comments
- 340 saves
- 423 shares
- 309 new followers
Here are 5 things I learned from my 30 day Instagram Reels challenge
1. The Instagram algorithm is all over the place, but if you show up consistently you will get lots of views.
Going into this challenge, I had already done a lot of tests around making reels. But I was surprised to learn that sometimes things that are successful have nothing to do with the actual content you make.
Just because something was successful in the past doesn’t mean that it will hit again.
Just because you work really hard on a video doesn’t mean that it will be successful.
And most importantly, sometimes the super simple reels will actually get more engagement than the more complicated things that you do.
The key learning here is to create the things that you think will connect with your audience and that you enjoy making.
2. Posting consistently takes a lot of planning.
While it actually took me 45 days to post 31 reels, I am incredibly proud of the consistency. In fact, over the course of the challenge, I started getting messages from friends and followers about home much they loved the content that I was creating. This gave me the fire to keep going.
Here’s the process I used to make sure that I consistently posted every single day:
- Write down all your ideas in advance. I just used a simple Google doc.
- Try different lengths of videos. Test making super short 6-second videos VS longer 45-second videos.
- Script out your videos fully. For me, I need more than just bullet points in order to make a good video because I can get a bit camera shy. While you’re scripting, it’s also super helpful to write your captions and source your hashtags. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
- Use a teleprompter app on your phone. If you’re anything like me, you have trouble remembering what you want to say. The teleprompter app is a great way to get over that initial awkwardness on camera.
- Batch shoot and edit your videos. Instead of trying to film and edit one video a day for 30 days, it’s actually easier to spend a full day shooting 5-7 videos. And then using the following day to edit the 5-7 videos.
- Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to post every day. If not, you’ll be like me and end up taking much longer to actually post your videos than expected.
3. Reels are a great way to make a deeper connection with your audience and break through your own fear of failure.
There’s something really special about seeing someone’s face and hearing their voice. While we all can feel timid about our imperfections, the people that follow you are not at all concerned about the things that we don’t like about ourselves.
Showing up consistently in this form makes you more of a real person. And people follow you because they’re interested in you.
Over the course of this campaign, I loved seeing the things that resonated with people and overall saw an increase in comments and direct messages from both people I know and don’t know. This led to deeper, more meaningful relationships with my followers.
The key takeaway here is that while it can feel awkward putting yourself out there, eventually you will get used to being on camera. Making the connection is worth a little discomfort.
4. There are some simple things you can do to increase the chance of your reels getting more views, likes, and shares.
While the algorithm can be confusing, there are a variety of tactics you can try to get more eyeballs on your content.
- Start with a hook. You need something compelling to make people continue watching in the first 3 seconds of the video or they will scroll right by. One easy way to do this is with a controversial statement or using a stat.
- Use a numbered list. Reels are a great way to educate your audience on a specific topic. Numbered lists encourage people to stay if they’re interested in the topic.
- Add captions to your reels. For accessibility reasons (or just in case someone is watching with the audio turned off) you need to make sure that you add captions for anything you’re saying in your video.
- Elicit human emotion. People are more likely to share something if it makes them feel inspired, encouraged or it represents them in some way.
- Try to tell two stories at the same time. One with visuals and one with audio. This will encourage people to watch the video multiple times.
- Reply to people’s comments. The more connection you make with someone, the more likely they will like and share your content.
5. Doing a 30 day reels challenge is a great way to hone your message and develop your creative voice.
Through the process of making so many videos I learned a lot about my personal preferences on content creation.
For example, I loved learning more about the different video shooting and editing techniques. Also the tight deadlines helped me to get out of my head and instead to just focus on the process of finishing something in the time that’s available to me.
Most creators want to find their voice and the easiest way to do that is through consistent content creation.
Would I do another 30 Day Instagram Reels challenge?
The surprising answer is yes. While I’m back to posting once or twice a week on my Instagram platform, there’s real power in setting and achieving a goal. And this dedicated time focused on short-form video was a game changer for my creative process and increased my confidence.
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