Creating “viral” content on Instagram can result in a huge surge of new followers and ultimately potential sales. But what exactly does it mean to “go viral” on Instagram? And what can you do to increase your chances of doing it yourself?
Ultimately, viral Instagram content refers to posts that generate significantly more engagement than a normal post would. In my experience as the president of a social media marketing company, you’ll know an Instagram post has gone viral when it has over 100,000 likes, views and comments and it’s been posted from an account that initially had only a couple thousand (or fewer) followers.
The virality of content essentially means that a post has generated enough attention for people to want to share it with others, thus circulating it farther and wider. Instagram users might like, comment on and share these types of posts on their own pages, too.
Why should you aim to create highly engaging, sharable content on Instagram?
There are plenty of reasons to put all your effort into creating an impactful post. A single successful post can significantly boost your Instagram followers count. When users come across a post they like, identify with or appreciate, they often follow the founding account. Gaining more followers is a great way to connect with a larger pool of people.
Additionally, it’s a relatively affordable way to market your brand, compared to target ads and influencer marketing. I’ve found that a higher number of followers also generally increases an account’s ability to generate higher conversions. This can be done either by directing a larger number of people to your website or blog, whereby they’ll be introduced to your product or service. Or, by selling directly to your wider audience on Instagram.
Any business, large or small, with an Instagram account should be taking steps toward creating content that captures an audience’s attention for these reasons.
How To Get Started
Not all Instagram posts will be a hit. Some are great successes by accident, while others simply miss the mark. Although whether a post will ultimately be shared resides largely in the hands of the wider Instagram community, there are still a few things an account holder can do to help the process along:
1. Find inspiration from Instagram itself. Turn to the “Explore” tab to discover current trends in your niche. It’s likely that this type of content is what’s catching the eye of your target audience. Once you have a better appreciation for what’s already popular, begin to think about your own post.
2. Know your audience and call to their emotions. Knowing your audience means you’ll understand their preferences, dislikes, fears and motivations. In other words, you’ll already know precisely what type of content is likely to resonate with them. Posts are widely shared because viewers aren’t indifferent to them. They have a connection or emotion related to the content that compels them to engage with it.
3. Incorporate humor when appropriate. It’s no secret that highly engaging content on Instagram is often humorous. Regardless of your industry, niche, product or service, there is usually always scope to be funny. If your underlying message appeals to people at the same time as making them chuckle, it will more than likely resonate with them and drive them to share the content.
4. Be unique and original, and keep content useful and actionable. Content that’s been circulating the web since the ’90s is unlikely to pique your audience’s interest today. Fresh, new angles can greatly influence the success of your post. Take this opportunity to help others and propel the content’s sharability. Offer a promo code or discount for shares and reposts to keep it going.
5. Post regularly. The frequency in which you post content is key to generating content that resonates with your followers on Instagram. According to Hootsuite, depending on certain metrics — such as if your content is timely and reflects what your audience has found interesting in the past — Instagram will show your post to your followers. The more your posts relate to your target audience, the more people who will see what you share. Therefore, creating impactful content begins way before the actual content is created. You must first build an active and engaged follower base to adhere to Instagram’s algorithm.
To help with this, you can consider using online planning tools that plan your posts and stories, add links to your Instagram bio, repost content from other accounts and tag people to your content.
In conclusion, while you can’t guarantee every post your business shares on Instagram will be a home run, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of creating engaging, sharable and “viral” content that resonates with your target audience.