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How to go viral on Instagram with these 10 foolproof Tips!

posted by:

Katie Grazer

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!

Also, don’t miss to download my FREE INSTAGRAM PDF GUIDE on “How to Find your Instagram WHY to become Successful on the Platform” here:

Click here to subscribe

>> For even more Social Media Hacks💡 and fun inspiration on Traveling the World🏝, Popping up the Bubbles🍾 and Cute Puppy Pics🐶, come and say hi👋” on my Instagram account “whatskatieupto” HERE! <<

The Viral Cycle!

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. So, if you love little dachshunds like me or you follow someone who loves them, and you/them give frequent likes to puppy posts then there is a high probability that there will be some doggy pics on your explore page. 

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. 

As you can see the more likes you get by people the more you show up on the explore page of these people’s followers. Who in return like and comment as well which is why I call this the “Viral Cycle”. More likes and comments lead to more exposure lead to even more likes and comments. Cool right?

So, let’s dig deeper into how to go viral on Instagram with these 10 foolproof tips, shall we? 

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. 

Here are 4 ways you could go about finding viral content: 

a) Explore Feed 

Head to your own explore feed and scroll through the posts. What makes these posts particularly appealing. Is it great imagery, funny captions, videos, quotes or a cute puppy pic? Is this something which would work in your niche as well? Emulate the respective content. 

b) Use the Viralfindr.com 

Viralfindr.com is a great tool how to go viral on Instagram. You simply use the tool to a) find the best performing content that already exists on Instagram, b) find inspiration or c) use posts to repost on your own account. Check out viralfindr.com here

Also, don’t miss to download my FREE INSTAGRAM PDF GUIDE on “How to Find your Instagram WHY to become Successful on the Platform” here:

Click here to subscribe

c) Instagram analytics

Have a look at your own account and posts in your Instagram analytics. You can use Instagrams own analytics if you switched to a business account or you can use for example Tailwind to identify your own viral content. Once you know which content your followers already love most, just go ahead and post more similar content.  

d) Research other Platforms 

Head out to Pinterest, Facebooks, Buzzfeed, the Huffington Post or Google to find content people are going crazy about. It’s all about getting a feeling of what people are really interested in right now and everybody is talking about. We are talking about finding trends here!

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how to go viral on Instagram

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.

Pro Tip: 

  • Use Instagram analytics or 3rd party services such as Tailwind or Iconosquare to determine when your audience is online.
  • Start liking and commenting on other people’s posts 10-15min before you post your new content. 
  • Once your post is live, continue liking other people’s posts and immediately respond to comments on your new posts. 
  • Create a new Story showing a sneak peek of the new posts.
  • Promote your post in “DM” and “Engagement groups” (See more in section 3)

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.

-> Check out my Full Guide on “How to use and join Instagram Engagement Groups” here!

What are Instagram DM Groups 

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. 

“DM Groups” usually have 10-15 members and you can join as many groups as you find on Instagram. The groups will have individual rules you need to follow but this strategy is basically very simple. If you want to join a DM Group try typing in, for example, #instapod in the Instagram search function to find a post with the respective hashtag. Then send a direct message to the person who posted and ask if they have an open DM Group you could join. 

Also, don’t miss to download my FREE INSTAGRAM PDF GUIDE on “How to Find your Instagram WHY to become Successful on the Platform” here:

Click here to subscribe

What are Instagram Engagement Groups  

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.

Another advantage to DM groups is that engagement groups on Telegram are time-specific. You and other group members commit to a specific time you will be online to engage in a post. You by now know that timing is super crucial to how to go viral on Instagram. So compared to DM groups where you can’t force anyone to be online and like your post once you publish at a specific time, in engagement group you commit to being online on that specific time. 

-> Check out my Full Guide on “How to use and join Instagram Engagement Groups” here!

Here is a video I love on that topic:

Reasons for not using this Strategy

I personally was part of some DM Groups in the past but stopped because it’s a lot of work to follow and engage with these posts. I love using Instagram but I could never keep up with the rules and posts, nor was I willing to always be available to like and comment all the time. This is exactly how you get burned out and overwhelmed and it’s just not for me. 

Another objection comes from Jenna Kutcher, and she actually has a super interesting podcast episode on why Instagram pods might be hurting your business you can check out HERE

Her main points I agree with are:

  • You are constantly comparing yourself to other people’s content instead of focussing on your own uniqueness
  • It’s anything but authentic
  • You are following and receiving likes by your competition instead of your ideal client. 

Ok so let’s go into some more quick-fire tips: 

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. 

Here is an example where I am on the top pages twice for the hashtag #bloghack. 

How to go viral on Instagram

Make sure you are using a mix of hashtags on your posts though. It will be much easier to rank on the hashtag with fewer posts meaning which is also less competitive compared to a hashtag such as #entrepreneur with 1m+ posts you are competing with. 

Ps. another great tip is to use the Tailwind scheduler. I love using it to automatically post my content to Instagram. The best part is that it compared to many other schedulers, Tailwind lets you post your hashtags to the first comment automatically!

6. Emojis

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!” (Source) 

7. Stories

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.  

Also, don’t miss to download my FREE INSTAGRAM PDF GUIDE on “How to Find your Instagram WHY to become Successful on the Platform” here:

Click here to subscribe

9. Shoutouts

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!

But, paying for shoutouts is a whole other story. Yes, this is a thing but hear me out. There are accounts who will shout you out for money but have you considered whether their followers are your target audience? What kind of people will follow you and what are you trying to do here anyway? We want to build a brand with real engagement and not a mindless account with millions of people who couldn’t give a damn about you. 

People who will follow you just for the sake of it won’t leave the crucial likes and comments we talked about in this post you need to go viral anyway, so is it worth your time? I leave it up to you.

10. CTA 

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! 

I really do hope you have found this post on how to go viral on Instagram useful. 

What surprised you the most? COMMENT DOWN BELOW! 

Talk to you soon


Also, don’t miss to download my FREE INSTAGRAM PDF GUIDE on “How to Find your Instagram WHY to become Successful on the Platform” here:

Click here to subscribe

Ps: For even more Social Media Hacks💡 and fun inspiration on Traveling the World🏝, Popping up the Bubbles🍾 and Cute Puppy Pics🐶, come and say hi👋” on my Instagram account “whatskatieupto” HERE!

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6 Instagram Hashtag Strategies to triple your Likes

How to use Everliker to grow your Instagram

The perfect Instagram Story Size + my 4 best Tips for Engagement

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