The truth, going viral isn’t entirely random

Yes, luck is still involved but you can increase the chances

Photo Credits: Robert Hensley

Having a piece of content go viral is every marketer’s dream. The dream that one morning, we wake up and see engagement, visits, leads, and revenue has exploded, all from a single piece of content.

It seems that everyone thinks it is just that, a dream, something that is unattainable and won’t happen with their content. You sit there telling yourself that your content will only go viral if all the stars in the universe to perfectly line up.

Yes, there is still luck involved, but there are steps that can be taken to increase the chances that your content has a better chance of going viral.

First things first, you have to know what resonates with your target audience. Funny random memes are great, but that isn’t going to work for everyone. The best way to find what works is painfully obvious; simply find what already works! If you’re running a niche account about food and recipes, you can for example take inspiration from process videos which have high engagement.

Let’s walk through finding a competitor in your niche. Let’s say I want to grow a fan base around gardening. I type in #gardening into Instagram’s search tool.

I find the following posts in the top trending:

Top Trending posts under #gardening on Instagram

The top post is a viral one done by media producer NowThis. Although we can repost this type of content as long as we give credit to the original creator (More on that later), let’s look at the characteristics of the next top two posts under the #gardening hashtag. They both have very high levels of engagement and have been posted within the last couple of hours.

The first one is of a very colorful market in Lebanon that has really resonated with the page’s audience. I look more into the page and find their most well performing posts are of colorful settings or of something we may not see everyday such as a lemon tree or a strawberry the size of a hand.

Content on hydrovegan’s page

The second post gives me the idea of a time lapse video of the growth of an uncommon but beautiful plant. Perhaps I could create one around a plant growing a rare fruit. Again, time lapse and process videos do quite well on Instagram in terms of engagement and reach.

Timelapse of Trichome Growth, another popular post under #gardening

Still, not everyone may have the time and resources to create complex content. Sometimes we may just want inspiration from another page or from the web. You can always look on Youtube, Google, Flickr, and many other areas for content inspiration, especially in content that’s done well in other mediums (Such as a post that’s already gone viral on Facebook). As long as the original creator of that content is credited, you are fine.

If I’m selling watches, I look into famous but not high end watch brands and discovered Cluse through searching for the #bracelets hashtag. I see the way they’ve taken all their shots and what’s led to their high engagement posts. I learn from it when I take shots of my own products.

Some of the most successful companies have learned to properly repackage content from the web as their own. If you look at media producer NowThis, all of their stories are dominated by clips taken from other news stories. But their method of producing those clips with heavy use of subtitles has led them to great success. Some of the best repackaged content has the potential to go viral if its presented well.

With each content post you create make sure to also create a call to action. Ask for opinions or answers, thoughts or questions. The more comments and likes you get, the higher your engagement level.

Once you post kickass content, make sure your hashtags are set up correctly. You are allowed up to 30 hashtags, but make sure they are directly related to your niche. The trick to finding the best hashtags is to ensure they have a sizable number of posts (At least in the hundreds of thousands), and do not have other large audiences not directly related to your niche following them. Avoid the top hashtags with numbers over 50 million. These are much harder to dominate and will not give you the targeted audience you want because they are much more generalized.

Doing the research into finding the right hashtags is quite time consuming and tedious. We’ve found some pretty awesome services that do that research for you, so you can focus more on just killer content creation. (More on that later)

So imagine you’re scrolling through your feed now. You have lots of great content. But you don’t have an audience to appreciate and spread it. Oh no, what are you going to do now?

Well back in the day when I first started building my Instagram, I would painstakingly have my phone out 24/7 following anyone liking or commenting on certain hashtags as me in the hopes that they would follow me back. This would take hours of my time. Then I found a magical shortcut: automation. You see, you can get robots to do exactly what you would be doing on your own anyway. That way you get to focus more on creating killer content and less on the more mundane and tedious steps to growing an audience.

There’s many tools out there that automate this process of finding and following users who like and comment on certain content (leading to many of these users following you back).

This is why we created our company, SociallyRich. It takes the guesswork out of finding the hashtags that fit your niche best and instead automatically gathers followers who follow these hashtags the most. As I mentioned earlier, they save a lot of time by creating the hashtags for you as well. The biggest advantage is they even offer a 3 day free trial so you can see this action at work beforehand.

We have a fantastic Go Viral Engagement program that does all the audience work for you.

Once your content has high engagement, it can potentially end up on the Explore Page. But you want high engagement to occur right after posting, which only happens if you already have a well tailored audience. Why would you want to be on the Explore Page? Because it’s the best place on Instagram to get exposed to a larger audience than the one you already have.

This is essentially a Snowball effect. More people see your post, which causes you to get more likes, comments, and followers.

Get your content seen by people not following you on the Explore Tab

Going viral may sound like winning the lottery, but it doesn’t have to be. You have methods to make your chances go from one out of a million to one out of 10 even because the more engaged and targeted your audience is and the better your content, the more likely you are to go viral and keep going viral.

And that’s just about it. Implementing these strategies will improve your chances of not only going viral but also building an audience over time that will pay for itself time and time again.

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