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Brand Strategies for How To Go Viral on Instagram in 2024

Jamie Landry
December 21, 2023
Last Updated On
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Viral posts on Instagram are like digital wildfire. These posts capture attention and ignite engagement, spreading rapidly across the platform. Viral posts often feature compelling visuals, relatable content or trending hashtags and resonate deeply with audiences. For social media managers, understanding the anatomy of a viral post is crucial. It's not just about the content — it's about timing, audience interaction and often, a touch of serendipity.

On Instagram, virality isn't just about likes and shares. It's about creating moments that connect, engage, and leave a lasting impression on the audience.

Our latest blog touches on: 

  • What going viral on Instagram means.
  • Why brands want to go viral on Instagram. 
  • Tips to go viral on Instagram. 
  • How to leverage viral success.

What Does Going Viral on Instagram Mean?

Going viral on Instagram refers to a phenomenon where content rapidly gains popularity and spreads across the platform like wildfire. This surge in visibility and engagement happens when a post — a photo, video or story — resonates deeply with users and prompts them to share, like and comment. There’s no defined metric for 'how many views are viral,’ as this varies based on the context and audience size. Content could go viral within an industry; for example, Dior’s glitter lipstick went viral among the beauty community but didn’t go viral in technology communities, while Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce memes have reached every corner of the internet. Generally, a post that garners significantly higher views, likes and shares than the creator's average content can be considered viral.

Content virality is influenced by several factors, such as the content's relevance, relatability and timing. For instance, a video might go viral if it taps into trending topics, evokes strong emotions or features something extraordinary or humorous. The Instagram algorithm also plays a crucial role, prioritizing content that sparks high engagement, further boosting its reach. Going viral is about creating content that strikes a chord with a vast audience and compels them to interact and share.

Why Brands Want To Go Viral on Instagram

Going viral is a coveted goal for many brands on social media platforms like Instagram. Producing viral content often results in a massive spike in visibility, engagement rate and reach compared to regular posts, which allows brands to connect with a broader audience and gain more Instagram followers. Viral content often reflects a brand's authenticity and relatability, which can enhance brand perception and credibility. When a brand's content goes viral, it also leads to increased brand awareness since the content is shared and discussed widely across various social networks and traditional media.

The benefits of creating viral content include:

  • Enhanced Brand Visibility: Viral content can exponentially increase a brand's exposure, reaching audiences far beyond its typical scope.
  • Increased Engagement: Viral posts typically see a surge in likes, comments, and shares, fostering greater interaction with the brand.
  • Cost-Effective Marketing: Viral content acts as a powerful, organic marketing tool, reducing the need for paid advertising.
  • Audience Growth: Going viral can attract new followers, expanding the brand's social media presence.
  • Boosted Sales and Conversions: The heightened attention can translate into increased website traffic and potentially higher sales.
  • Improved Brand Image: Viral content often humanizes a brand, making it more relatable and appealing to consumers.
  • Valuable Insights: Analyzing viral content can provide insights into audience preferences, guiding future marketing strategies.

How To Go Viral on Instagram 

Mastering the art of going viral on Instagram is a blend of creativity, content marketing strategy and timing. It involves crafting content that resonates deeply with your audience, leveraging Instagram trends and engaging with the community in a way that encourages widespread sharing and interaction. Here are tips to capture your audience’s attention.

Know What Your Audience Wants To See 

Understanding your audience's preferences is crucial for viral success on Instagram. Dive into their interests, pain points and what entertains them. Use Instagram Insights or similar tools to analyze which types of posts garner the most engagement and tailor your content to mirror these preferences. This alignment ensures your content resonates with your audience, increasing the likelihood of it going viral.

Develop a Unique Brand Voice 

Establishing a distinctive brand voice sets you apart on Instagram. Whether witty, inspirational or informative, your voice should reflect your brand's personality and values. Consistently using this unique voice in your posts helps in building a strong brand identity, making your content instantly recognizable and shareable among your audience.

Stay On Top of Emerging Trends 

Staying on top of the latest trends is key to viral success. Monitor trending hashtags, challenges and topics within your industry and the broader Instagram community. You increase your chances of riding the viral popularity wave by quickly adapting and creating content around these trends.

Leverage Pop Culture 

Incorporating elements of pop culture into your content can significantly boost its viral potential. Reference popular movies, TV shows, memes or celebrity happenings in a way that aligns with your brand. This not only makes your content timely and relevant but also increases its relatability and shareability.

User @twifttheerastour announced that Taylor Swift was seen eating 'a piece of chicken with ketchup and seemingly ranch', which went viral rapidly. Creators leveraged this moment by repurposing the original tweet or putting their own funny spin on it, like the Empire State Building (@EmpireStateBldg) did when they turned their lights red and white and tweeted the occasion.

taylor swift poses with fan sitting with chicken fingers and seemingly ranch meme
Image credit: @middeclassfancy

Use Popular Songs

Music can be a powerful tool in creating engaging content. Utilize popular trending Instagram Reels songs to add an extra layer of appeal to your posts. This taps into the popularity of the song and enhances the emotional connection of your content with the audience. 

Don’t Overthink It 

Sometimes, the simplest content can go viral. Don't get bogged down in overproduction or perfectionism. Authentic, relatable, and slightly imperfect content often resonates more with audiences. Embrace spontaneity and don't be afraid to experiment with different types of posts.

Analyze Past Campaign Success

Look back at your previous successful posts or campaigns to identify what worked. Analyzing factors like content type, engagement rates and audience feedback can provide valuable insights. Use this data to replicate and refine strategies that have proven effective in capturing your audience's attention, like incorporating successful tactics into future campaigns and their marketing campaign checklist

Post at the Right Time 

Timing can significantly impact your post's viral potential. Use analytics and research to determine when your audience is most active on Instagram and find the best time to post on Instagram. Posting during your brand’s peak times ensures maximum visibility and engagement and increases the chances of your content going viral.

Optimize Posts for SEO 

Optimizing your Instagram posts for search engines can enhance their discoverability. Use relevant keywords in captions, hashtags and your profile bio. Using social media SEO best practices like using alt text, incorporating the right keywords and more helps reach a wider audience seeking content related to your niche.

 Regularly Monitor Performance 

Keep a close eye on the performance of your posts. Regular monitoring lets you quickly identify what's working and what's not. Use Instagram Insights to track engagement rates, reach, and audience demographics, adjusting your strategy accordingly for better results.

Connect With Your Community — And Other Brands 

Engaging with your community and collaborating with other brands can amplify your reach. Respond to comments, participate in conversations, and feature user-generated content. Partnerships with other brands or influencers can also introduce your content to new audiences, boosting its viral potential.

Conduct Regular Social Media Audits

Periodically conducting a social media audit helps maintain a strong online presence. Evaluate your profile's aesthetics, content quality and overall strategy. This regular check ensures your Instagram account remains aligned with your brand goals and audience expectations, fostering an environment conducive to viral content.

You Went Viral on Instagram — Now What?

After experiencing a viral moment on Instagram, brands should focus on strategic analysis rather than chasing another viral hit. This period is crucial to help your team understand the dynamic behind your success — and leverage it for future strategies. 

Firstly, dissect what worked and what didn't. Analyze the content's elements – its tone, visual assets and timing – to pinpoint what resonated with the audience. Understanding any aspects that didn't contribute to its success is equally important and provides valuable lessons for future content creation.

Next, assess the impact on conversions. Did the viral post lead to an uptick in website visits, product inquiries or sales? This data is vital to seeing the tangible benefits of viral content and how it aligns with broader business objectives.

Also, evaluate whether the viral success aligns with your larger social media and marketing goals. Did it enhance brand awareness, improve brand perception or reach a new audience segment? This reflection helps to align future content with overarching business strategies.

Finally, use these insights to guide your team towards future viral successes. Develop a content marketing strategy that incorporates the successful elements of the viral post while you continuously experiment and adapt to the ever-evolving social media landscape. Remember, consistency and engagement with your audience are key to sustaining viral momentum.

Measure Viral Success With Dash Hudson

Social teams can measure viral success and gain deep insights into your content's performance with Dash Hudson. Social analytics and monitoring help brands monitor their performance, while Dashboards let teams curate the metrics that appear to them so they can get an at-a-glance view of cross-channel performance anytime. 

Social teams can use the link-in-bio solution LikeShop to create a seamless journey from your brand’s Instagram feed to checkout. Teams can also leverage Shoppable Galleries to create custom shoppable landing pages with your top-performing earned and owned content. 


Can you go viral on Instagram?

Yes, you can go viral on Instagram. Achieving viral status involves creating content that resonates strongly with a wide audience, often by tapping into current trends, showcasing unique creativity, or sparking strong emotional responses. With the right strategy, engaging content, and a bit of timing and luck, any post has the potential to reach a vast audience and gain rapid popularity on the platform.

How many views are considered viral on Instagram?

There isn't a specific number of views that universally define a post as viral on Instagram — it largely depends on the account's context and usual engagement levels. Generally, a post can be considered viral if it receives significantly more views, likes and shares than the average content of the user or brand, especially if this happens in a short period. This threshold varies greatly among different accounts and audiences.

How do you make Instagram Reels viral?

To make Instagram Reels go viral, focus on creating highly engaging, visually appealing content that taps into current trends or challenges. It's essential to use relevant hashtags and catchy music. Ensure your Reels are of high quality and offer value or entertainment to your audience. Consistently engaging with your followers and posting at times when your audience is most active can also increase your chances of going viral.

How do you find viral ‘Add Yours’ on Instagram? 

The ‘Add Yours’ sticker has been popular since its advent in 2022. To add the ‘Add Yours’ sticker to your Reels or Story, tap the smiley sticker at the top of the page and choose the ‘Add Yours’ sticker. From there, write the prompt that you’d like other users to respond to. When complete, tap ‘Done’ to share your Reel or Story.

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