Virality is an essential metric for marketers and influencers looking for more organic followers by building their brand awareness through social media posts with high engagement rates (likes, comments). 

Creating unique content, building a solid following and getting great engagement on Instagram takes consistency, commitment and effort. 

Although not all users can go viral without failing, it’s not always easy to figure out what to do when you go viral on Instagram or develop a solid social presence. 

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This guide will show you what to do when you go viral on Instagram and how to handle the attention that comes with being in the limelight. 

What Does it Mean To Go Viral on Instagram?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question since going viral can mean different things to different people. But first, it’s essential to understand what ‘going viral’ actually means.

Going viral on Instagram means that your content is being shared by many users, significantly increasing your reach and engagement. 

Of course, going viral doesn’t happen by accident. For your content to be shared by a large number of users, it needs to be high-quality and engaging. It also needs to be timely and relevant to what’s happening worldwide.

what happens when you go viral on instagram

What is “Viral”, and how can it be measured?

In social media, “virality” means that users share your online content exponentially. There are also several ways to measure virality, including the number of social media shares, likes, comments and views. 

If you’re wondering how many views to go viral on Instagram? Let’s put it this way, for an account with 3 million followers, for example, going viral means obtaining 5 million or 6 million views on their post; this is “twice” the number of followers. However, since virality is so subjective, it is difficult to quantify. 

But you can conclude that your account got viral when it received views far exceeding your following.

How does a post go viral on Instagram?

There’s no surefire answer to this question, as many factors can contribute to a post going viral on Instagram. However, some things that can help increase the chances of a post going viral include using popular hashtags, tagging other users, and posting compelling content likely to generate engagement

Additionally, shareable and visually appealing posts are more likely to be successful in going viral. 

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What Happens When you go Viral on Instagram?

After going viral on Instagram, what’s next? How do you continue growing your following and keep your brand at the top of your audience’s mind? 

These are the following steps to take after a successful viral post. 

Reply smartly and accurately to comments

When you receive comments on your Instagram post, it’s essential to take the time to reply to them. Not only does this show that you’re engaged with your audience, but it also allows you to further the conversation and build relationships. 

Put the spotlight on your followers by creating an engaging Q&A series in Instagram Stories

As a business owner, you can start a Q&A in your Instagram Stories to engage with your followers and give them a behind-the-scenes look at your business. 

Simply post a story asking your followers to add to the conversation. You can do this by using the question sticker or adding text to your story. Then periodically throughout the day, you’ll receive answers to your questions that you can share with other followers.

Not only is this a great way to engage with your followers, but it’s also a great way to get to know them better. You’ll be surprised at the types of answers you receive and the insights you’d gain about your followers. So go ahead and give it a try! 

Master the art of increasing visibility by including posts in an Instagram Guide 

An Instagram Guide is a tool that allows you to curate and organise your Instagram content into a cohesive, easy-to-follow format. 

By adding an Instagram Guide to your post, you’re essentially creating a mini-blog within your Instagram account that your followers can reference back to you again and again.

Not only does this help to engage your followers, but it also allows you to show off your expert knowledge on a particular topic. 

You can use Instagram Guides to give your followers step-by-step instructions on how to use your products, or you can use them to share your Instagram story. 

Even after you hit “publish,” weeks, months, or maybe years later, new users can still locate your popular Instagram post by adding it to pertinent Instagram guides.  

Check what works: Is it shares or hashtags?

There’s no way to tell if your post went viral because of shares or hashtags, but there are some telltale signs.  

How to tell if it’s your Instagram hashtags that made your content viral  

Return to the Instagram post and click the blue “view insights” link below the main image. The process of uploading viral reels or a post on Instagram and displaying it to an audience is an impression.

Therefore, if ten individuals view your post once each, that would be ten impressions; if ten individuals view it two times each, it would be twenty. 

Find and record effective hashtags

It’s challenging to determine which hashtag on Instagram increases reach (and results). Currently, there’s no way to determine whether a hashtag has garnered hundreds or zero impressions which have long plagued content authors and social media managers.

But you can follow a semi-manual workaround as an alternative:

  • Tap on each hashtag in the Instagram post to open its feed while it’s still “hot,” roughly 3 to 6 hours after publishing. 
  • Look for your photo by scrolling through the first 20 or more images under “Top” (not “Recent”). If it’s there, it means you’ve achieved a high ranking for that. 

This does not imply that you should delete all of your Instagram hashtags. But it would be best to consider repurposing those that performed well for upcoming posts with a similar theme.

Give yourself some space by ceasing to publish for a day or two

Create breathing space by posting two or three days after the last post. This way, your audience will have time to digest the content and be more receptive when you post something new.

Use this attention by putting even more content on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with more potential audiences than Instagram alone could ever provide.

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Make new variations of your favoured video

When you find something that works on Instagram, it can be tempting to keep doing the same thing repeatedly to replicate your success. However, there are better strategies than this. 

Instead, try mixing things up and creating different versions of what got you viral in the first place. This will keep your content fresh and engaging and help you reach new audiences as you grow on Instagram.

In a Nutshell 

Many factors can lead to your Instagram post going viral. In this article, we’ve broken down the essential elements so you can keep track of what is happening in your account and adjust as needed in future posts.

We also covered tips for ensuring people know how others have shared their content and how this leads to more engagement with other users.