Going viral on Instagram has many perks, including a significant boost in visibility and engagement. But with the amount of competition on the platform, it can be challenging for smaller brands to gain traction, let alone go viral. It doesn't help that the Instagram algorithm is an impossible code to crack. But you can increase your chances when you have the right strategy.
To help you get your shot at instant fame on Instagram, here are some tried and tested tips you can incorporate into your marketing plan. It won’t be easy, but with creativity, consistency, and great timing, you might have your very first viral post.
What Does It Mean to Go Viral on Instagram?
Going viral on Instagram means your content is spreading through the platform at a rapid rate. But there's no official benchmark for it. Brands with a large audience might not consider a post viral until it has at least 100,000 likes. But for a small brand, 10,000 likes can already be viral territory.
While there's no standard definition, a viral post has characteristics that set it apart from regular content. Here are some ways to tell if your post is viral:
- It has more likes and shares than your other posts.
- It has significantly more unique views.
- It has a faster consumption rate and continues to receive engagement long after its creation.
- It has a lot more link clicks.
How Do You Go Viral on Instagram?
Many things have to align for a post to go viral on Instagram. But it’s mostly about driving engagement fast. Once you publish a post, your followers must like, comment, and share it right away. That way, it can land a spot on the Explore page and be exposed to a larger audience. Here are some tips to boost interaction on your posts and give them a chance to go viral.
Know Your Audience
When you know who your Instagram audience is and understand their needs, you can make content that resonates with them. Your posts will get more likes, comments, shares, and saves, giving them a higher chance of going viral.
There are a couple of ways to identify your Instagram audience. If your company has already created brand personas, you can look for Instagram users with similar characteristics. You can also dig through the data on your Instagram Insights. In the demographics section, you'll see valuable information about your audience, including age, gender, and location.
Join Instagram Trends
There’s no easier way to go viral than to hop on Instagram trends. There’s already a collective interest in trending formats and topics, so don’t miss out on these opportunities. However, social media trends come and go fast, so you must always be on your toes.
One trend you should explore if you want to go viral is Reels. It’s an entertaining format, so it produces high levels of engagement. Not to mention the algorithm favors it. You can make your Reels even trendier by adding music to them.
Create a Unique and Engaging Brand Voice
You’ll be more noticeable on Instagram if you showcase your personality, and one way to do so is by having a unique, creative, and authentic voice. It should be engaging, consistent with your branding, and relatable to your audience.
For example, those who post educational content can be informative while still being humorous and engaging. If you're a creator, you can get personal with your posts and craft heartfelt captions to give your followers a glimpse of your “human” side.
Get Inspiration From Competitors
There’s no better way to get your creative juices flowing than by finding inspiration. And your competitors can provide you with plenty of it. Check if their posts have gone viral and analyze their recipe for success. What kind of images, captions, and hashtags do they use? What time do they post, and how often?
While there’s nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from other brands and creators, make sure you don’t copy them outright. Take the elements they’ve used and create something unique to your brand. If your competitors go viral for their how-to videos, find a way to create tutorials that align with your brand personality and voice.
Make Data-driven Decisions
Data never lies. You can use the analytics on your Instagram Insights to see what your audience likes and doesn’t like. You can identify your best-performing posts, see what worked, and try to replicate these elements in your future posts. Making data-driven decisions will give you a better shot at going viral than simply guessing.
You can also use Instagram Insights to check your follower’s most active times. When you time your posts accordingly, you can get more engagement, signaling to Instagram that your content is worth sharing on the Explore page.
Host Giveaways and Contests
Hosting giveaways and contests is effective in driving interest quickly, growing your following, and going viral. People love free things and will willingly comply with your mechanics. For maximum engagement, include liking, following, and sharing your post in the instructions.
In addition, your prize should be something related to your brand or niche and attractive to your audience. You can partner with another brand within the same industry that can provide enticing prizes for your giveaway.
Be Active on the Platform
Some brands and creators are lucky and will go viral even if they’re new to Instagram. But most users must spend more time on the platform and be active before they hit the jackpot.
It pays to spend time responding to comments and messages with unique replies. Avoid using templated messages because you lose the opportunity to build a genuine connection with your followers and gain their trust and support. You can also be more visible within your industry by supporting your competitors. When you comment on their posts, their audience will become familiar with you.
The Bottom Line
While luck can play a role in going viral, most of it boils down to strategy. It’s about finding the right recipe that works best for your brand.