What is Trending Audio on Instagram Reels? And how do you use it?

When it comes to reels one of the top pieces of advice to boost views is to use trending audio, but does this leave you confused? Do you know what people mean by this term? And most importantly, once you find some trending audio do you know what to do with it? 

Instagram Reels will be 2 years old this summer and their main purpose is to ‘entertain’. 

Audio (the sounds or songs that go along with the short video) forms a key element of this entertainment. Instagram want you to enjoy the content (so you’ll watch more), and also to inspire others (so they’ll create more); this is where trending audio comes in. 

Trending audio (songs or sounds) refers to audio that is gaining popularity. 

It is not so much about numbers, in fact there are many audios that have been used thousands of times but are not trending. It is more about the momentum; indicators like it being viewed more frequently and more & more people using it, or saving it, to create their own original content. 


Here’s a few common questions about trending audios to help get you confident and having fun with using trending audio.

So firstly, how do you know what is trending? 

When you’re scrolling through reels, you can identify a trending audio by the small arrow next to the audio title. 

The manual way to find trending audios is to simply look out for them whilst you’re scrolling and watch for the arrow – if you see one, which you enjoy, then save itIf you don’t want to scroll, or just want more inspiration, then there are a few accounts that publish regular trend reports. Two to check out are the @creators account and this blog from Later that is updated regularly. 


So how should you use Trending Audios? 

Trending audios can be used in a variety of ways, and don’t worry they’re definitely not all dance routines or pointing – I know you don’t enjoy those! 

For some it will be obvious; there will be a trend around what to film or show to go with the audio. 

For others you may need to get more creative, and try out some different ideas to go along with the audio. Check out other reels that have been created using that audio for inspiration; but remember to keep it for inspiration don’t copy someone else’s content. 

If you like an audio but not sure how you would use it then you can: 

  1. Save it for later when you have time to plan how to utilise it for your niche
  2. Film the reel anyway and worry about what context to put with it later on. This is a great way to batch create reels; using short audios to film a few at a time – you can then save them as draft to edit later. 


Should you use the trends with a set ‘template’ or are they too popular? 

Following the ‘template’ of the trend is fine and will help inspire others (likely why it has gained the momentum to be trending). If it is a very popular reel in your niche, then some may feel they’ve already seen it many times and start to lose interest. This though is very much personal choice. 

Even when following a template, always make it your own & add your own personality wherever you can. This will help keep people engaged. 


Is there a time you should not use trending audio? 

As with any content the key is to ensure what you are sharing is consistent and relevant.

  • Consistent with the rest of your content; ensure it aligns with what your account is about and what your audience expect to see from you 
  • Relevant to you, your business & your audience

Some trending audios can be fun but if they’re totally random compared to what your business is about and the audience you want to build then just keep them for your personal account. 

Trending audios are more likely to be seen by more non-followers so it is an opportunity to attract new people into your audience; keep the content relevant to what will appeal to your ideal audience. 


Does the trending audio need to align to your niche? 

Many trending audios start off in one niche but then will quickly expand out to others. The fact that the momentum builds around them to make them trending often means that they cross different niches. 

As before, if you can ensure that the content you’re sharing is consistent & relevant then you don’t need to worry about which niche it started off in. 


What about captions & hashtags? 

Audio is only one element of your reel. When creating your reel you need to consider all other aspects – the visuals & edits (text etc) you make are the other key element. 

But that’s not to say the caption and hashtags aren’t important too. As with all content it is important to include a caption – you can add more explanation & context to your reel and prompt discussion. 

For hashtags, you don’t need to use any specific hashtags that go along with the trend (unless they’re relevant). Stick to adding hashtags that are relevant to your niche. 


Hopefully this helps answer some questions you may have around trending audio. When it comes to reels my key advice is to just have a go! 

Some will work and some won’t, but its through this process that you’ll discover what you enjoy creating and what your audience enjoy consuming. 

I want you to enjoy using Instagram to build your community and grow your business; to find out more about how I can help you do this click here to view my Instagram services.

Or if you’re not sure where to start or have some questions, then get in touch to book a free 30 minute clarity call, we can chat it all through and work out how I can best support you. Book a call here.