As much as we all want to go viral on social media – especially Instagram – there’s no clear-cut way to guarantee it will happen. But, through experimentation, marketers and users alike have figured out there are certain things you have to get right if you ever want to have a shot at it. One of the biggest factors is making sure you have an audience of followers who are willing to help. Click here to learn how you can automate that process.
1. Aim for the Explore Tab with All Your Posts.
If your content shows up there – you’ll be exposed to people who follow your current followers. These are targeted to your niche since the Explore tab is personalized for each user. While no one knows exactly what you have to do to land here, we do know it takes lots of engagement – likes and comments – on a post shortly after it goes live (more on how to accomplish that below).
No matter what you’re posting – make sure you take steps to try to get it on the Explore Tab every time. This means paying attention to the image and making sure it’s good quality, uses the right colors, experimenting with filters, hashtags, and so on to see what works for your audience in terms of engagement.
2. Develop a Posting Schedule.
While it will take some time to wait for analytics to show you the times you get the most interaction from your audience, it’s best to create a posting schedule for your content.
Scheduling allows you to batch your content creation and keep it flowing it at a regular pace, and it also ensures you’re posting when your audience is most likely online and ready to engage. This increases your chances of going viral because the faster you get engagement after a post goes live, the more Instagram sees it as popular.
3. Complete Your Profile.
Fill out everything on your profile – including the About Me/bio section. Include an image – even if it’s just your company logo, and definitely link to your website or landing page. If you don’t take the time to complete everything, you’ll look like a fake account/spammer and really decrease your chances of going viral. Also, consider linking your Instagram to your Facebook account, so you can spread your content around both networks for maximum exposure.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Ads.
Instagram ads look like any other post on the platform, and audience targeting is way easier. When you consider this, along with the fact that the ads are much simpler and less competitive than on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, ads can help you advertise a particular post you want to go viral, and they can help you build a larger following.
5. Use Popular Hashtags.
Relevant hashtags help users find you who may not otherwise see your content. It’s been proven that photos with more tags get more likes, too – likely because of the additional exposure you get. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post.
You can include them in the post description, or in a comment on the post – whichever way you want to do it. It’s best to use a mix of general hashtags, niche specific hashtags, and branded hashtags. You don’t need to use all 30 on every single post, so if you can only come up with five, that’s okay, too.
6. Use Instagram Stories.
Using Instagram Stories is a great way to attract attention to your page, which will increase your chance of going viral. People will see your account at the top of their feed and be more likely to visit your profile and click like on one of your photos.
Remember, you can download your Stories content before it goes away at the 24-hour mark. This allows you to use it again later in Stories Highlights, or repurpose the content for use on other social media platforms.
7. Partner with Influencers.
Influencers are those who already have large followers similar to the ones you want to attract. You can find them and partner with them to get them to share your brand with their audience, in hopes that some of them will start to follow and interact with you, too.
You can use various tools to locate influencers you want to work with. Then, follow them and engage with them for a while before pitching the partnership. You can also take a look at who is following them to find accounts to follow, too.
8. Run Contests.
One of the best ways to gain followers – which you’ll need if you ever want to go viral – is to run a contest. Of course, you’ll want to spend time planning it, because you need to know the type of contest you want to run, the hashtag you want to use, and the prize you want to give. When planning your contest, make sure the contest has rules, is easy to enter, has some sort of prize, and includes a branded hashtag.
Consider running contests on a regular basis to keep a steady flow of new followers coming in, so they can like and share your content. Engagement is a key factor in landing on the Explore tab, which is critical for going viral.
Following these eight tips will definitely get you on your way to becoming viral on Instagram. Going viral just once can make a huge difference in your follower and engagement growth. And when you do it once, you have a better idea of what you need to do to do it again and again.