Beginner Guide

How to Go Viral on Instagram: Proven Strategies for Your Brand

You want to know how to go viral on Instagram.

We have seen brands and influencers become an overnight sensation on the platform.

This should come as no surprise, given that 2 billion monthly active Instagram users are looking for unique, engaging content on the app.

But going viral on Instagram is not easy. Thankfully, it is possible if you follow some proven tips and best practices.

In this article, we will tell you 11 tips to go viral on Instagram.

1. Know Your Audience

Understanding your target audience on Instagram will help you create more relatable content that has more potential to go viral.

Below are some ways to identify your Instagram audience:

  • Study your buyer personas. If your company has existing data on your ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas, start there. Find an Instagram audience that shares characteristics with your brand’s customers.
  • Check out your Instagram analytics. If you’re already using Instagram for Business, go to your analytics and view audience demographics. It will show you what kind of people are following you and engaging with your posts. You can also use Sprout Social’s reporting tools to get an in-depth look at your Instagram audience data.
Sprout Instagram Audience Demographics
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  • Find out the audience of your competitors. Not sure who to target? Visit competing Instagram accounts and study their followers. Chances are these people are your target audience as well.
  • Use social listening tools. Track online conversations around your brand and niche using a social listening tool like Sprout Social. This will not only help you identify your audience, but also identify any influencers you can partner with to promote your content.

Once you’ve narrowed down your Instagram audience, understand their interests, goals, and habits. Study the accounts they follow and the positions they interact with.

All of this will give you a solid idea of ​​what type of content is sure to be a hit.

2. Keep an eye on trends

Trends change rapidly on social media, and Instagram is no different. To create viral content marketers need to jump on new trends quickly.

Whether it’s posting more videos, using new content formats or adding trending music to your reels – if it’s going viral, you need to get it.

For example, a recent Instagram trend is the increased use of Instagram Reels – the bite-sized, vertical video format inspired by TikTok.

sprout social instagram
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Reels generate more engagement on the platform than regular videos, making them perfect for going viral.

Other trends we’ve seen this year include using link stickers in Stories, leveraging Story ads, and cross-promoting Twitter posts.

3. Establish a Unique Brand Voice

The key to standing out on Instagram is to be creative and authentic.

For businesses, this means finding your own voice that is unlike any other brand. One that also resonates with your target audience and keeps them engaged with your content.

BBC Earth offers a classic example of what a unique and creative brand voice can do for you on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by BBC Earth (@bbcearth) on

They consistently share stunning visuals with informative captions that are also humorous and relatable at the same time. Talk about non-boring educational material!

Result? Viral post with thousands of likes, comments and shares.

4. Audit Your Own Posts

It’s important to do an Instagram audit so that your new strategy to go viral doesn’t clash with your existing posts and branding.

It will also help you identify gaps to work on before posting new content. Maybe your caption needs work. Or maybe you need to align your bio and profile photo with your brand in order to look authentic and professional.

Whatever the case, fixing any issues with your current aesthetic, brand voice and content will increase your chances of success for future posts.

5. Study the Competition

If you need help coming up with ideas for viral content, turn to your competitors. Analyze their posts and find out what’s working for them.

  • What are his top and worst performing posts?
  • How is their brand voice?
  • What kind of formats do they use?
  • How do they engage with their audience?
  • What days or times do they post most often?

Sprout’s Instagram Competitors Report can help you collect, visualize and analyze this data from a single dashboard.

Sprout Instagram Competitors Report
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Use insight to fuel your creativity. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you start copying your competitors. Think of it as starting with the right foot.

You can even borrow some ideas as long as you add your own personality. Beware of copyright infringement and stay true to your brand voice.

6. Join other accounts

Get noticed on Instagram by actively engaging with your audience. The more you appear in people’s feeds and notifications, the more exposure your profile and posts get.

Also, customers prefer brands that go the extra mile and treat them as individuals.

sprout social instagram example
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And let’s not forget the Instagram algorithm that rewards posts with higher engagement and makes them appear more frequently on the Explore page.

So, ask questions, add a call-to-action, and encourage engagement in your posts and captions. Also, don’t forget to respond to audience comments – both positive and negative.

7. Use analytics to find out what worked before

Analytics helps you make data-driven decisions about everything – including developing viral content. Result? More chances of success.

Use Instagram’s built-in analytics to track key metrics related to engagement and follower growth. Learn about what worked in the past, what didn’t, and what types of posts and stories your audience typically enjoys.

Want to go deeper? Use a third party analytics tool like Sprout Social.

instagram business profile sprout
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You’ll get detailed Instagram metrics, visual reports, and the ability to track analytics for competitors and multiple accounts.

8. Recreate Viral Content

This is probably the easiest way to go viral on Instagram.

But practice it carefully.

Don’t just copy and paste viral content – add your own twist to it.

Explore your feed, look for viral posts in your niche, and follow popular hashtags to find content to recreate. Here’s how we made a viral video.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sprout Social (@sproutsocial) on

Better yet, look for viral content on other platforms. For example, TikTok is a great place to find inspiration for Instagram reels.

Since this material has worked before, it is possible that it will work for you as well. Just make sure you tweak it to appeal to your specific audience.

9. Partner with an Influential Person

Going viral on your own can be challenging, especially if you are new to the platform or have a small following. This is where Instagram influencer marketing can help.

Partnering with popular creators in your niche can give your content a lot of exposure. You can either ask for reposts and mentions, or create content with them. The more attention you pay to your content, the more likely you are to go viral.

For example, Kapten & Son partners with travel influencers to create viral content promoting their backpacks.

Captain and Son Instagram
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The best influencers usually have an engagement that trusts them. Having these creators endorse your brand or product can do wonders for your own credibility.

10. Determine the Best Time to Post on Instagram

Your followers aren’t scrolling Instagram all the time – they work and sleep. The key is to find out when they are most active and then hit the posts for maximum engagement.

Data from Sprout Social shows average global peak engagement times.

Best time to post on Instagram Global 2022
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While it’s good to maintain these averages, the best time for your brand to post on Instagram will vary based on the unique characteristics of your audience.

Factors such as location, time zone, interests, hobbies, schedules, age and gender all influence social media behavior. Use Instagram analytics to find your followers’ peak activity hours and use it to schedule posts.

11. Post consistently to increase your followers

Apart from posting at the best times, you should also post consistently to attract more followers and build a strong presence on the platform.

Posting randomly or taking long breaks in between can make new, excited followers slowly forget about your brand. Stay on top of their mind by regularly posting great content.

They will soon start expecting entertainment or creativity from your brand, which is always a good thing for your brand image and engagement.

Use Instagram automation to help you stick to a consistent posting schedule. For example, Sprout’s scheduling features enable you to set up a content calendar for Instagram and post at optimal times.

Scheduling posts based on your followers' engagement data is a prime example of Instagram automation
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How many likes are viral on Instagram?

Generally, a post with 100,000+ likes or views and 1,000+ comments is considered viral. However, the term ‘viral’ is subjective and can mean different things to different brands.

For example, you can consider a post to be viral if it has been viewed 10,000 times. Or, if you’re a smaller brand targeting a very specific audience, viral could mean 1,000 views or even likes.

The thing is – it depends. We recommend benchmarking based on your own analytics and competitor data, and aim for a higher (but realistic) engagement rate as you grow.

Build a data-driven strategy to go viral on Instagram

Going viral on Instagram can be difficult, but not impossible.

The trick is to use the data to fuel your creative efforts, post timely and consistently, and take advantage of new trends.

Most importantly, stay true to your brand voice and always be authentic. You will only drive away customers with repetitive and ostentatious content. If you want to stand out from the noise, you have to be unique.

If you’re wondering how to use data and analytics to create amazing content for customers to view and share, check out our complete guide to Instagram marketing.

How to Post Viral on Instagram: Proven Strategies for Your Brand first appeared on Sprout Social.

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