How to go Viral on Instagram in 10 Steps
Let’s talk about how to go viral on Instagram! Yes, I know the Instagram algorithm can be a hard nut to crack but that’s why today I want to give you my best 10 tips to get you closer to reaching thousands of people on Instagram. Let’s do this!
Going viral comes down to a lot of factors but one of the biggest ones is getting featured on the Instagram “Explore Page”. So if you head to the App and click the little “loop” – that’s the Instagram “Explore Page”.
The explore page is basically a summary of all your interests based on the likes we give to content, plus the posts liked by people we follow.
It’s basically Instagram’s perception of what interests you mosts. And remember Instagrams goal is to keep you on the app as long as possible.
Now, the explore page reaches hundreds of thousands of people and as you can imagine when you do get featured on there your post will get a huge boost of exposure leaving a ton of likes and comments on your posts.
1. Find “Viral Content” and reproduce!
First of all, we need to do some research on what our audience and the general Instagram users love to like and engage in. What content is already going viral and how can we use this knowledge to reproduce similar content which works for us. Search your favorite influencers and see what goes viral and create similar content.
2. Boost engagement ASAP after posting (1-hour rule)
Timing is another crucial factor in how to go viral on Instagram. Once you know what you want to post, we need to think about WHEN to post best.
Now the timing is important because you want a lot of people to engage in the first hour once your post has gone live. People talk about the “1-hour rule” here. The idea is that Instagram needs to determine if your post is good or bad, so it chooses a certain time after the post goes live to analyze its success. No one knows exactly if this is an hour or 30min but it doesn’t really matter.
The point is, the time after you post your new content is crucial to landing on the explore page. The more engagement (so likes and comments) you get, the wider your post will be distributed. This will increase your chances of hitting that secret spot of appearing on the explore page and dipping into the viral “like” cycle.
3. Engagement Groups & DM Groups
Whether you heard of engagement and DM groups or not, it’s how a lot of Instagram experts like to teach how to go viral on Instagram. Personally, I am on the fence about them but it depends a lot on what your goal for your account and brand is. Let’s see if this strategy is for you.
Instagram “DM Groups” or sometimes also called “Instagram Pods” are private Instagram groups you can join to reciprocate likes and comments with other group members. The idea is that someone publishes a new post, leaves a comment in the group that they have a new post and the group members will leave likes and comments on this post to increase engagement.
An “Instagram Engagement Group” is basically the big brother of DM groups. They are hosted on secondary apps such as the Telegram Chat App (similar to WhatsApp). Compared to DM groups there are hundreds to thousands of people in one group and I am sure you can see the potential of this many people engaging with your post.
4. Create more “Video” content
Instagram is definitely putting a bigger focus on Video (similar to Facebook which owns Instagram). With the introduction of Instagram Stories, Instagram Live as well as IGTV which is in direct competition to YouTube you can see where I am going with this.
Instagram wants you to create more video content and will hence prefer your video content over you image content giving you a higher chance to go viral using video posts.
5. Hashtag “Top pages”
Similar to the Instagram “Explore Page” there is also “Hashtag Top Pages” (go to the search icon on the app, switch to Tags and type in a hashtag). When you search for a specific hashtag the top posts appear first. So similar to most of Instagram feeds nowadays, also hashtag pages are now ordered by performance and not chronologically.
Even though you will not get as much exposure as when appearing on the explore page this is a great way to boost engagement on individual posts. You are allowed to use up to 30 hashtags per post giving you the potential to reach 30 “Hashtag Top Pages” which could increase your engagement to virality.
Always use Emojis!
“According to Quintly, only 24% of profiles with 1 to 1,000 followers used emojis, while 83% of profiles with over 1 million followers peppered their captions with emoji icons. If you also factor in a 15% higher interaction rate with posts including emojis, it’s clear that emojis help fosters connection and relatability with your followers. Score!”
Instagram is the best way to connect with your audience. This means more likes and comments on your posts. My all-time favorite tip is to show up every day and show up in person. Yes, this means showing you face, being authentic, you and just approachable.
Instagram is a social media. I honestly don’t understand why we keep forgetting the word “social”. Show up for your audience and they will show up for you!
8. Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways can be one of the easiest and fastest ways to gain more followers and creating more engagement on your posts. They are fun and build trust in your brand.
Here is how you create a contest or giveaway:
- Partner with a brand or follow Instagram to reach a ton of followers and provide a product for the giveaways
- Choose a cool hashtag so you know exactly who is participating
- Select the timeframe (start and end of giveaway)
- Interact with the participants to generate a hype
- Choose the winner and share it on your social accounts.
This is a big one and again a strategy a lot of so-called Instagram gurus teach to their audience. Now I believe there is a good and a bad way to go about shoutouts. The honest and the paid ones.
First of all, yes, of course, shoutouts work wonders to boost certain posts or your account, especially if the person mentioned you have a big audience. If you are able to create a true relationship with one of the big accounts out there and they shout you out GREAT! Great for you, great for your account authority as well as virality!
CTA’s or “Call to Actions” are very very important. You should be including CTA in every single post and story you publish. It’s important to tell your audience exactly what you want them to do after they read your caption of listening to your story. Sounds super simple and I know it’s very effective but I still see so many people, not including CTA’s in their posts. You want more virality to let your audience know to double tap!
IMPROVE YOUR INSTAGRAM GAME
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Enjoy and good luck on your Instagram journey