1. Choose Relevant Hashtags
Instagram, like Twitter, relies heavily on the use of hashtags, and the hashtags you attach to your Instagram videos can directly affect views. A clever hashtag on its own can actually be enough to encourage users to watch your video. More importantly, the right hashtag will help you expand your reach and can potentially connect you to new members of your target audience using the search feature.
Brands can also use hashtags to jump in and create videos on trending topics. These topics get a lot of searches, and can give you major visibility very quickly. I wouldn’t recommend only creating videos around trending topics, but using the strategy occasionally can help you drive up video views quickly.
Posts on Instagram with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those with none. In 2015, best posts from top brands had an average of 2.5 hashtags per post. And believe it or not, 70% of Instagram’s most-used hashtags are branded hashtags.
2. Optimize Your Description
Instagram is and (I’m assuming) will always be a highly visual platform. It’s all about the images and videos when we’re scrolling through out feeds. A common error I see brands making, however, is not using the descriptions to draw users in. This is particularly important with video views; the description can actually convince users to watch them instead of scrolling past.
There are a few ways to optimize your description that are proven to increase video views:
- Your description should be long enough to capture interest, but not so long that users don’t feel the need to watch the video. It’s just like a blog post title. A video offers more context than a still image, so keep that in mind. Multiple studies have shown, however, that there is no specific best caption length. Test what works best for your audience.
- Put the most important and engaging stuff before the “see more” button if your caption is long. Use line breaks to section a long caption into more manageable chunks.
- Use hashtags for more engagement (as discussed above).
- Mention and tag relevant users, especially influencers; this can significantly expand your visibility by an average of 56%. One case study from Tommy Hilfiger showed an increase of 3x more video views than its average when it featured and tagged an influencer.
3. Schedule to Post at Peak Times
While Instagram’s algorithm has somewhat affected when users see our posts, scheduling videos to go live during peak times can still make a huge difference. Since most engagement happens on Instagram content very soon after it’s posted, knowing your audience’s times of peak activity can still drastically increase your video views. Once you’ve got a solid first round of engagement, Instagram will boost the reach of your video, increasing your number of views further.
Here’s the thing; you’ll need to learn what the peak posting times are for your specific audience. It can actually vary widely from brand to brand. According to one study, for example, the best time to post on Instagram is on Mondays. Another found that the worst day of the week (if only slightly) was on a Monday.
There is one consistency across all studies, however. While specific times vary, it’s a general rule of thumb that posting in the afternoon and evening will yield best results. You can learn more about how to find the best time to post for your brand here.
4. Run Instagram Video Ads
Instagram ads aren’t organic posts and they do cost money. But they’re also a surefire way to get more Instagram video views quickly. If you have a video you want to get a lot of eyes on, running a “video views” campaign is the way to go. Thanks to its shared Facebook ad’s amazing targeting system, Instagram ads can even help make sure those views are from relevant users.
Instagram ads have been exceptionally effective since their release. Technology company LG proved this when its Instagram video ad campaign saw a reach of 16 million relevant users and over 1.7 million engagements. While these are drastically big numbers (and were likely very expensive to obtain), SMBs can replicate these results on an appropriate scale for their brands.
5. Share Your Post
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