How to Go Viral on Instagram in 2023

by Alafiya Memon
10 minutes
how to go viral on instagram

There needs to be a simple formula that you can implement to go viral on Instagram. Unfortunately, Instagram is so hush-hush about what makes posts go viral that most believe virality on the this platform is merely a stroke of luck.

The good news? This is partially true. Because a well-planned Instagram marketing strategy can help snowball your odds of going viral on Instagram. 

So, let’s take you through proven tips you can follow to get viral on Instagram. First, we’ll start with what is considered viral content on the platform and then move on to how to go viral on Instagram. 

What is viral content on Instagram?

Viral content on Instagram is the one that ranks among the top posts on the app’s explore page and garners thousands of likes and comments. 

Viral posts have significantly more engagement than other posts. This is precisely how you tell your post has struck the right chord with Instagram’s algorithm and audience. 

Typically, viral content on Instagram gets about a million or more likes/views and over a thousand comments. However, this is a broad definition of what’s considered viral on the photo-sharing app. 

The number of likes and comments required to be considered a viral Instagram hit varies from niche to niche. For instance, if posts in your niche and by your competitors typically get 20,000 likes, but your post gets 50,000 likes, this post will be considered viral.

Put simply; your Instagram post is a viral hit if it: 

  • Receives more unique likes, views, and shares than your other posts
  • Gets more activity (such as comments and saves) than other posts in your feed
  • Garners interactions much faster than your content has received in the past
  • It continues to get interactions long after you’ve posted it.

Why would you want to go viral on Instagram?

Going viral on Instagram massively boosts engagement on your account. If you continue to create high-quality, engaging posts that often go viral, you can quickly become an authority in your niche. 

Put another way, when a post goes viral, it brings you likes and follows, increasing your chances of getting more leads and conversions as a marketer or influencer. 

Remember, a single viral post may not do you much good in the long run, mainly if you don’t consistently publish content that resonates with your audience. While a viral post can work as bait, your feed ultimately makes followers stay and interact with you.

How do you make a post go viral on Instagram?

You need to trigger the platform’s algorithm to make your post go viral on Instagram. To this end, work on three things mainly: 

  • Increase your engagement. Interact with your audience so that they interact with you. For instance, get chatty with your target audience and your community. This encourages them to like and follow, increasing engagement on your account.
  • Create relevant, entertaining posts. Remember, quality content that piques interest is likely to gain more traction. 
  • Post frequently. Regularly posting on Instagram and at times when your audience is most active helps grow engagement further.

Instagram serves users with relevant, entertaining, and recent content. So, increase your chances of going viral on Instagram by creating high-quality posts and improving your engagement. 

Pro tips and tricks to go viral on Instagram 

With the basics out of the way, let’s get to the juicy bit — the steps to include in your strategy for boosting your chances of going viral on Instagram. Here are some tried and true tips to help you out:

1. Create unique posts that your audience is likely to enjoy

The first thing you need to nail is your target audience’s persona. That is work out exactly who you’re posting for. To do so, create or revisit your ideal customer profile or buyer persona.

With information such as your viewers’ age, gender, occupation, and interests, you’ll know exactly what type of posts your target audience will enjoy. For instance, if you’re a makeup influencer, your focus might be on creating makeup-centric content for millennials and zoomers. 

Take it from beauty and lifestyle influencer Katerina Shevchenko, who shares high-quality, aesthetic content in her niche that her audience loves. A recent video of hers went viral as it had way more likes and comments than she typically gets. In the said video, you’ll see her flaunting her hairstyle — definitely something that her audience enjoyed. 

Take a page from her Instagram account and do the same that is to create posts that your audience can’t resist interacting with. Keep in mind, if your post gets engagement immediately, Instagram is likely to boost users’ Explore pages as well. 

2. Learn from others and your ownself

A keen eye on what’s working on the ‘gram is another tactic to become a viral hit. 

To this end, dive into your analytics. If some posts have outperformed others, figure out what made them successful. Once you’ve identified the engagement-driving elements, instill them in your new posts. For example: if you suspect a particular hashtag has helped your content get noticed, include it in your captions often.

Psst! You can rely on something other than Instagram’s inbuilt Analytics alone. Instead, a social media management app such as ContentStudio can help you better track key metrics showing your content’s performance. 

With ContentStudio, you can quickly review the engagement different post formats and hashtags are pulling in. You also get detailed monthly reports on your performance, which reduces the work on your plate — all while helping you pin down elements to go viral on Instagram.

Along with diving into analyzing your account, study your competitors too. Zoom into their posts that have attained the viral status and figure out what they’ve done right. Again, with ContentStudio’s Instagram analysis, you can automatically evaluate your competitors’ content performance.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out what’s working for you – and your competitors – on other social channels. For example, the same (but not precisely copy-pasted) content will likely work for you on Instagram. 

Read-Up: Marketing with Instagram Guides

3. Keep an eye on what’s trending

Have you noticed more posts on a particular challenge or hashtag on your Instagram Explore page? If so, it’s time you make content on it on top of your regularly scheduled content.

Recreating viral trends with your unique twist can make you go viral on Instagram. Just ensure you are right on time – posting after a trend has died down won’t attract virality. 

Look at how Oglollipops has followed the recent Little Miss trend on social media and made it about its brand. It has also used #littlemiss to jump on the trend and get more attention.

Note that this post didn’t pull in engagement in triple figures, but it did bring more attention to Oglollipops’ page than its typical posts. 

So you know what to do. First, find trends to make viral Instagram posts on. As a bonus tip: since viral trends commonly jump between different social platforms, search for trends on other social channels such as TikTok and Facebook on top of finding them on Instagram’s Explore page.

Also Read: Instagram Notes: All You Need to Know

4. Post more Instagram Reels

Reels are short videos paired with music — much like the videos on TikTok. 

If you want to increase your chances of going viral on Instagram, consider making more of these video posts. Thanks to this feature’s ‘fairly new’ status, Instagram is all in on boosting engaging reels. 

What type of Instagram reels should you make? Jump on the trend bandwagon in your niche and make reels to trending sounds. Remember, your reels should be of high quality and unique enough to attract eyeballs. 

Look at how digital marketing and web design expert Dayana Nikolova’s reel on a trend went viral to the extent that she made another reel on the same trend. 

Read-Up: The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Automation

5. Try Instagram Collabs with influencers in your niche

Another relatively new feature on the social channel is ‘Instagram Collabs.’ This feature enables two Instagram users to co-author posts. 

The co-authored post shows up in both the creators’ Instagram feeds. This means it enjoys the viewership of two different accounts, which means it gets higher engagement. Recall that Instagram rewards posts that quickly attract attention, which is precisely why Instagram Collabs is a feature that increases your chances of going viral. 

To benefit from this feature’s potential, makeup brand Florence By Mills co-authored a post with its founder, Millie Bobby Brown. As expected, the post quickly went viral with millions of likes. 

Whether a marketer or an influencer, you can significantly benefit from this feature by collaborating with other influencers in your niche. 

6. Create posts and captions that show your personality

No one enjoys bland stuff, whether it’s broccoli soup or an Instagram post. This is why you should focus on creating content that has personality. 

What does that mean, you ask? Simple — establish a unique voice and stick to it. Your posts are more likely to impress Instagram’s algorithm when their content and captions are unique. 

Take a page from the Instagram feed of the late comedian and actor Leslie Jordan. His videos were humorous, and his captions would pique interest, both ingredients of virality.

7. Create informational content

Apart from entertaining videos, Instagrammers also enjoy informational posts that help them solve a problem or two. 

As a means to this end, share tutorials or informative tips. You have many options to go about this — create reels, share a video, share a post with a lengthy caption or make carousel posts that are likely to encourage interactions. 

For instance, this particular post from Coursera got more likes and views than the account typically does. See how they’ve shared helpful tips in carousel format here? 

Give this format a try for sharing information. After all, carousel posts attract the most likes among different formats, according to SocialInsider.

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8. Make sure your Instagram SEO game is strong

Your account and your posts are more likely to show up on the Explore page and get the engagement needed to go viral when you follow Instagram SEO tips

Since Instagram is a mini search engine, following an SEO strategy for your account can be quite fruitful. Here are some tips you can follow: 

  • Fill out your profile and write a clear bio
  • Make sure you mention your niche or job in your name and bio
  • Use keywords and popular hashtags in your captions 
  • Alter the alt text of your posts to include keywords

With the right keywords and using right hashtags, your content becomes more discoverable, which, in turn, brings in more engagement. And you know what higher engagement means, right? A chance to go viral on Instagram! 

NYC-based photographer Chloe’s Instagram is a great example here. She uses the main keyword, ‘photographer,’ that describes her in her bio and profile name. Moreover, her concise description includes her location and links to her web store.

9. Conduct an Instagram audit

An Instagram audit will help you improve your account’s overall look and feel. In turn, this will help with increasing engagement — giving your content a push into viral territory.

For conducting an Instagram audit, take these steps: 

  • See if your profile picture, username, and bio match your branding and convey what your account is about.
  • Check your followers — are they people genuinely interested in your content? An Instagram follower audit helps you cut out bots from your followers’ list, which can help your engagement rate. 
  • Look into your Direct Messages and comments — are you interacting with your followers as you should be? 
  • Audit your Instagram feed — do all posts match the quality and aesthetic appeal outlined in your style guide? 
  • Read your captions to see if they’re high quality and follow your brand voice. 
  • Finally, study your Instagram hashtags to see which ones are working and which need to be helping multiply your reach and engagement.

By conducting an in-depth Instagram audit, you can fill in any gaps in your Instagram strategy and create more on-brand posts that stand a chance of going viral.

10. Post regularly and when your audience is active.

We’ve already touched on posting frequency’s importance to the Instagram algorithm. It’s so important that it merits a separate point. So to reiterate, post often, and that too, when your audience is likely to interact. 

Meaning: find the times when your target audience is active on Instagram so you can post at those times. If you take the manual route, this process can quickly become tedious as it requires you to open your account even outside your work day so that you can keep up with an audience-relevant posting schedule. 

To make it easier, you can use ContentStudio’s post scheduler that automatically publishes your posts at preset times. The ContentStudio app also shows you the best times to post, reducing the lengthy work that goes into manual testing when your audience is active throughout the week. 

The best part is that using ContentStudio is super easy; you must connect your Instagram account and download the ContentStudio mobile app. 

Then open your account on the web to add posts by clicking on Composer. Write post-specific captions and hashtags here before you schedule the content by clicking on the downward arrow beside Post Now.

11. Engage more on Instagram

The final tip? Get more social on Instagram. 

While this may not bring you immediate results, it will gradually bring you more followers and likes.

So, instead of opening your account only to post content, take some time daily to engage. 

Other than replying to the comments on your posts, network with people in your niche by leaving comments on their posts and stories. Don’t forget to proactively get back to any Direct Messages you receive. 

Also, ensure you don’t leave one-word or emoji-filled responses. Instead, write well-thought-out comments and messages that help build relationships. 

As you interact more with people, they’ll likely interact more with you on your posts.

This way, when you post something interesting on the gram, people will immediately engage with you, helping your content go viral. 

Look at how Mush Slime has encouraged engagement by asking a question in its caption. It has also replied to some comments in a meaningful and friendly manner.

Ready to go viral on Instagram?

Virality on Instagram comes with a well-planned strategy. Start by studying your audience and competitors to know exactly what to post to go viral on Instagram. 

Create high-quality posts on trending topics, use the right hashtags and make the most of Instagram’s features. Don’t forget to create reels to trending sounds on the platform. 

Finally, post consistently and engage with your audience to increase your chances of going viral. 

Want to make things easier for yourself? Get started with ContentStudio to schedule your Instagram posts, analyze your account, and refine your Instagram strategy.

Read More: Top 10 Instagram Planning Apps You Must Have In 2024


  • What happens when you go viral on Instagram?

When a post goes viral on Instagram, it gets a quick engagement boost as it is spread rapidly on the platform. Higher engagement, in turn, means that you get more followers and likes, which increases your account’s authority.

  • How to go viral on Instagram overnight?

To go viral on Instagram, you must regularly create high-quality, entertaining, and unique content. However, it is unlikely to go viral overnight. So focus on constantly refining your Instagram strategy and content to increase your chances of going viral.

  • How many likes to go viral on Instagram?

For your Instagram posts to be viral, they need more than 100,000 likes and views. However, this number dramatically varies depending on industry benchmarks. 

  • What are some hashtags to go viral on Instagram?

Use hashtags that are relevant to your niche but are manageable. For example, you can use an app such as Hastagify to find viral Instagram hashtags for your posts.

Also Read: How To Go Viral On TikTok?

Alafiya Memon

Alafiya Memon is a freelance content writer and an ardent lover of fries. She creates value-packed, conversational blog posts. When she's not working, you'll find her doodling or reading.

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