Capturing attention in today’s social media world is a challenge. The not-so-secret weapon you need to stop the scroll and turn viewers into engaged followers?

Hooks.

This article dives deep into Chelsea Peitz‘s recent BAMfest presentation, where she gave a mini-masterclass on the type of content that’s working to convert clients right. During her time on screen, she shared the three powerful hooks you NEED to include in every single Reel.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we’re covering below, straight from Chelsea’s presentation:

  • Why you actually need THREE hooks, not just one (and which one is the most important!)
  • How to craft scroll-stopping hooks using words, visuals, and captions
  • The secret hook Chelsea predicts will dominate Instagram Reels in the future (hint: it’s casual)
  • Plus, bonus tips on maximizing your Reels’ SEO, creating high-value captions, and repurposing your content for even greater reach

Content that works has a structure

Let’s start by talking about structure. Effective social media content has a strategic structure, starting with the element that arrests your audience’s attention, compelling them to watch your Reel (rather than keep scrolling). 

Here’s Chelsea’s quick breakdown of the full structure: 

  1. Stops the scroll: Verbal/visual hook(s), eye contact
  2. SEO: Reels ‘topics,’ hashtags, closed captions, custom audio title with keywords
  3. Starts conversations: Asks questions, “YOU,” CTAs, engagement stickers/polls
  4. Standalone: Each episode represents the 3 Ps (your person, personality, & perspective)
  5. Scannable: First-time visitors scanning your profile become followers, thanks to the bingeable library you’ve created for them

Today, we’re focusing on how you can get your audience to stop scrolling—with not one, but three hooks. 

Why You Need 3 Hooks

Every talk-to-camera style Reel you create needs three hooks

  • Verbal: The words you’re saying
  • Visual: On-screen text
  • First line of your caption

Can you guess the most important hook on that list? Hint: It’s not the verbal one (though that definitely matters!). 

The most important hook is your on-screen text. This helps catch the attention of scrollers who have the sound turned off, and can help to make your Feed more scannable. It can even help with SEO, as the algorithm reads every word of on-screen (and caption) text. 

Hooks don’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as asking a question. Just make sure to use the word “you”: 

  • “Do you want ____?” (Your viewer should answer, “Yes”)
  • “What if you ____?”

Your hook can also imply that you’re about to show your viewers exactly how to do something they want to do themselves—or exactly why you do something they’re likely to be curious about:  

  • “How to ____” 
  • “How to ____ when <specific, relatable challenge>.”
  • “Here’s why I ____.”

Chelsea admitted during her presentation that she’s in her “anti-hook era.” 

I really do predict that content is going to go very more Instagram Stories, very more casual talking to friends. The conversational types of hooks, where you just start talking to someone, like, ‘So, this just happened’ That is totally an appropriate hook. And honestly, I think we’re going to see a lot more of those hooks—that ‘in the middle of a conversation with a friend’ hook.

Chelsea Peitz

That doesn’t mean hooks like “3 Things You Need to Know about ____” are out or that they’re less effective for your audience. You know your people. Give them what they want. 

Other points Chelsea emphasized:

  • Eye contact — Look into the camera, not your own eyes. 
  • Closed captions — These are a must, not a nice-to-have, both to retain the viewer’s attention and to maximize your content’s SEO
  • High-value captions — This is visual content, and it’s one of the first things viewers see when they land on your Reel. Make every word count. 
  • Keywords in the audio title — Replace the audio title with a keyword-optimized title to make it easier for Instagram to feed your content to the right audience.  
  • Standalone content (with the three Ps) — Every piece of content should have the three Ps (your person, personality, and perspective), because that’s the only original content out there. Every post should also be able to stand alone, meaning your viewer shouldn’t have to watch other posts of yours to understand what you’re talking about. 

Actions to Take to Level Up Your Instagram Profile

Chelsea’s next gift to BAMfest viewers was her list of actions to take right now to help you convert new visitors to your Instagram profile into engaged followers. 

  1. Make sure your face is showing and each post’s cover image has visual hooks
  2. Make sure you have three pinned posts on BOTH your main content grid and your Reels tab—with titles! 
  3. Make your content library scannable. 

Chelsea’s 40 Content Concepts

If you’re hitting a wall right now with Instagram content ideas, Chelsea’s got you covered with a list of 40 shareable content concepts, many of which she described in her presentation. 

This post barley scratches the surface of Chelsea’s presentation. Watch the recording in full on BAMx. Chelsea’s presentation starts at about the 59-minute mark. 

Keep a notebook handy! 

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