From Zero to 100 (Likes)—3 Secrets To Organic Viral Content on Instagram

By Meghan Hubert, Creator — Editorial

@Megagahubert here, content creator at Qnary by day, fluent in Kardashian by night. As an Instagram-aholic, I find it almost natural to fulfill a role on the editorial team at a social media driven company. Honestly and truly, tweeting for a living had my name all over it.

The second I got an Instagram, I was hooked. Instagramming (yes, I’m using it as a verb) has quickly become my personal hobby of choice. But here’s the thing: until I started working at Qnary, I never thought of my social media presence as a showcase of my own personal brand. I thought of Instagram as a way to stay connected to peers—a (seemingly) personal matter. Now, I’ve acknowledged there are major professional benefits to investing time in my personal social media channels. Let’s be real—it’s 2015, social media is the new resume.

Recently, I’ve found remarkable engagement success on my Instagram. I accredit this success to Qnary, for opening up my innocent, millennial eyes to the value of growing a meaningful online presence.

Using myself as a case study, here are my three secrets to attaining organic viral content on Instagram:

  • Know your audience
    • First and foremost, your content needs to be relevant. The catch? There is no concrete answer to attaining relevancy. Being relevant is completely contextual—your relevancy is determined by your audience. You need to really know your audience. Do you know their priorities, values, and interests? Do you know their sense of humor? Do you know what time of day they are most engaged on Instagram?  Understanding this can make or break a post. For example, I know that my audience is predominately female millennials beginning their careers, who pride themselves on engaging with popular culture. Would I have published the below post if my audience was 45 year old women who are established in their careers? No...and that’s why knowing your audience matters!
  • Engage with Popular Culture
    • We are all different, but if there’s one thing that binds us all, it is culture. It only makes sense to position content in a way that speaks to the strongest commonality among us. Whether you’re posting about the Kardashians, the Super Bowl commercials, or comparing your office life to ‘The Office’, there are so many opportunities to tie in bigger content themes to popular culture. Culture bonds us all, and it’s a useful resource in the content world. In today’s day and age, social media is the best venue to prove that you are on top of the game when it comes to popular culture and current events. Don’t be afraid to take some risks, and have some fun with it! (see below!)
  • Use Instagram’s Tagging Feature
    • THIS is my secret sauce—I rarely let people in on this tip. To get noticed at a viral scale, you need attention from the ‘right’ people. Every piece of content I push out on Instagram, I take advantage of the photo tagging tool—maxing out the 20 tag limit. Again, context is key here. Based on the theme of the content, I tag influential Instagram accounts to flag my presence to their attention. For example, as a feminist gesture, I replied on Instagram to Oprah’s Magazine Q&A that basically asserts only skinny women can ‘pull off’ a crop top (see below.) I tagged celebrities and influencers who are very active in the feminist space. (Note, Lena Dunham’s comment on my post.) When influencers like your post, your content will be favored in the ‘Explore’ feature to users that follow that particular influencer. This is amplified marketing at its best, and it has worked wonders for me.

The bottom line—post something so captivating that other users feel obliged to share your content with their friends. Snowball effect, engaged...And voila! you have yourself a viral Instagram hit.