How To Go Viral On Instagram: The Basics And The Secrets

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Ah, Instagram. There’s no doubt – the minimalist social network is where it’s at. Anyone who’s anyone has an Instagram account, and no other social platform is quite as good at turning a Nigel-no-name into an overnight celebrity.

You want a piece of that pie. A fresh-cut slice of internet fame. And who can blame you? Success stories like @kayla_itsines and @fuckjerry show that if you massage Instagram just right, you may even beat that 17-like personal best for the super cute puppy photo you put up the other day.

So how do they do it; how to go viral on Instagram?

While the world of Instagram popularity is far from understood, there are a few things that we do know help the like count of a post. If you mix a set of basics into your Instagram cake, and whip a few little tricks into the icing, you’ll be well on your way to triple figure double-taps.

I promise the baked-goods references will stop.


The Basics

There are a couple of fundamentals that you may not currently be doing in your quest for Instagram hearts. By slightly altering your basic post routine, you could increase your followership markedly.

Properly Fill In Your Account

As basic as it gets, you want to make sure you’ve filled in all of the information asked for by your profile. As simple as it seems, a complete profile is the first step to being a proper Instagrammer. I realize there is nothing more painful than coming up with a snappy ‘About Me’ paragraph. Put on your thinking cap, you’re doing it anyway.

Secondly, properly linking your Instagram to your Facebook account is a must. You’ll have to choose whether you’re happy to link to your personal Facebook, or, if you’ve got higher ambitions, whether you’d rather have a specific Facebook page dedicated to your Instagram activity. The choice is yours.

Hashtags Are Vital

Hashtags are the motor of your Instagram post – they’re the only way it’s going to go anywhere. By using hashtags you’re allowing people to search for and find your post. While funny #ohmygodlookatthispuppyitslikeanangelsentdownfromheaven style hashtags have their place, the real business is in both the more literal and the more trending hashtags. #puppy, #puppyshow2016, these are the ones that will get your post to the most eyes.

You can see what hashtags are trending on the Instagram app, or alternatively, you can relate your post to some sort of current event that has Instagram talking. Geotagging your posts will do the same for searchability.

Connect To Those With Influence

Like all communities, Instagram is a big old class system. The more powerful (i.e. those with more followers) have the ability to change the lives of one of the Insta paupers with a single repost. Where Instagram is different from the real world is that you can throw your work right in front of their faces.

Say you’ve just taken what is surely the most epic photo of a sunset ever. Every other sunset that has been ever captured on film prior to this moment is now meaningless.

It would be fair to say that people need to see this. All you have to do is lay down an @natgeo tag to notify them of your work (natgeo might not be the best example here – they’d get thousands of these submissions a day) or hashtag #natgeo to put it in front of anyone looking for sweet National Geographic shots.

Less humongously popular Instagrammers may be an even better bet, as the amount of competition for attention is lowered. Accounts like @matadornetwork have specific hashtags for the purpose of discovery, where you just add #travelstoke to your photo for them to look at and possibly regram it.


The Stranger Tips

Basics are one thing, but how do you get ahead of those who are already doing everything above? Well, here we go…

Red Means Stop

Featuring photos dominated by the color red is psychologically proven to have the viewer stop in their tracks. No more being blindly scrolled past. Whether they like your post is another thing, but at least you’ve got their attention.

Have An English Breakfast

People go mental for pictures of teacups. Go figure. Just make sure you pop a saucer underneath that sucker you heathen.

Snap With Celebrities

Ride on some coattails guys! If you’ve got the ability to take a selfie with a celebrity, you’ve got instant access to their fanbase. Likes ahoy.

Subject Matter That Excites

A quick list of the most popular Instagrammable objects: bikinis, revolvers, perfume and puppies. A list of the least: Kitchen utensils, golf carts, and tools. I don’t care how much your diamond-encrusted bespoke plunger cost you, an Instagram-like-fest it is not.

So there you have it. An absolutely guaranteed and foolproof way of getting millions of Instagram followers instantly*. Spread your Insta wings, my pretties, and fly.

*The tips here are neither guaranteed nor foolproof.

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