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“I went viral on Instagram - now what?”

May 11, 2022

So, you learned the tips and tricks of creating great content, you implement them all, you spent time creating your post, it goes live and… IT GOES VIRAL! The likes and comments are coming in, people are engaging with your post, it’s getting shared and you even start gaining some new followers!

That is obviously amazing news, however, having one viral video does not mean that the job is done and that the same will happen to all of your posts from now on. So what comes next? What can you do to keep your followers engaged and to continue growing? Well, before we give you the answer to that, let’s define what it means to go viral because it might actually look different to everyone.

How can you define and measure “viral”?

Now, for someone with 1000 followers, going viral can mean getting 30k or maybe 50k views - it would mean that you reached 30-50 times your amount of followers! For someone with 1M followers, going viral might mean getting 2M or 2,5M views - which would “only” be 2 times the amount of their followers, yet, it’s obviously a lot harder the bigger your account grows. That’s why you can’t really put a number to “virality”. But in general, I would say that when you get views several times your following you can say that your content went viral. And once that happens, here is what you should do:

Respond to the comments and messages

The first thing you need to do when your post goes viral is to respond to anyone that engages with your content or your account. You should obviously always do this, not just when your post goes viral, but it is especially important to show that you engage back and that you appreciate them taking the time to comment under your post. Also, as you know, the Instagram algorithm prioritizes content that receives a lot of interaction, which means that when a post is viewed for longer, tapped, shared, or anything, Instagram will keep showing it to more and more people. And by responding to your comments, Instagram sees that your post is valuable and that it is getting a lot of traction and you will be able to increase your engagement.

Just one thing to keep in mind: don’t be surprised if you see negative comments - that’s completely normal. Some people simply can’t resist being negative and spreading hate. It’s sad but, it’s a reality. Though it’s important not to take these comments personally and just ignore them; don’t engage with them. Make sure that everyone knows that you don’t tolerate negativity on your account. And if they bother you, you can simply block these people.

Find out why your post went viral

As soon as you took care of the first step and replied to all your comments, it’s time to come to the important part. You need to find out why this specific post went viral so that you can learn from it and hopefully implement the same strategy for future posts.

There are many reasons why your post might have gone viral. If you posted something different from your usual content, it should be fairly easy to find out what changed. But if you posted something similar to your usual posts on your channel, it can be tricky to find out what made the difference. Maybe you wrote a meaningful caption? Or it was a stunning image that leaves people in wow? Did you use a trending sound for your Reel? Did someone with a lot of followers share your post? Or have you finally found the right hashtag strategy? No matter what it was, it’s important that you identify the reason.

Don’t know how to see if your hashtags did the trick? Simply go to your Instagram post and tap on the blue ‘View Insights’ button. Here you will be able to see how people found your post and where the impressions come from. It usually shows the top 4 sources, so if you don’t see hashtags written, it’s because the views came from something else.

Stay consistent

Now, as I mentioned at the beginning, just because one of your posts went viral, doesn’t mean that all of the sudden you’ll see the same success with all of your posts. You will need to stay consistent and keep up the good work if you want to continue to grow. Stick to your strategy and posting routine, and don’t forget to implement what you learned from your viral post! Consistency is key to your accounts’ success, so don’t neglect that!

Create different versions of what got you viral

As the saying goes: “Don't try to reinvent the wheel.” Let’s say you created a super cool transition video and it went super viral. Why would you try to do something else now if this is working and people seem to enjoy it? You could do the same type of Reel but in different locations maybe, or you can try a different angle or different style, but it’s all just the same thing at the end. By doing this you will be able to capitalize on that momentum and give people what they want to see.

You could also create follow-up videos or tutorials on how you did your transition. If you see that you get a lot of comments like “how do you do this” or “I wish I could do the same”, you see the people are interested in this particular thing and maybe they’re fascinated by it and they want to know how you do it. Take that to your advantage and give people what they want. That’s how our students @allaboutwanderlust_ grew from 40k to 300k followers in 1 month! They created amazing Reels synced to a sound and after seeing that people were interested in learning how they did it, they created several tutorials for different soundtracks!

Add your post to an Instagram Guide

The next thing you can do is to re-purpose the piece of content that went viral! And Instagram guides are perfect for that. They give you the option to collect multiple posts (yours or others) and to create something like a tiny “blog” around a certain topic. That way you will not only be able to provide your followers with more value but it also helps people to find your post more easily. It gives it more longevity - because a normal post is usually only really valuable for a few days after you posted it. After that, it gets lost between your new posts. But with a guide, you can give long-term value to it!

Reintroduce yourself

The great thing about a viral post is that it will usually bring you a few new followers. And since these new people don’t know much about you, you should consider posting either a new post with some facts about yourself, or you could do a story Q&A where you show people who you are. Introduce yourself, tell them what you like, what they can expect from you, and so on. You want to make sure that your community doesn’t see you as a stranger. Don’t forget that you are technically just a face behind the screen for them, so if you want them to connect with you and your story, they need to know who they are following.

Expect to lose some followers

Now, even though you might see an increase in your follower count after your post goes viral, it’s also normal to lose a few followers over the following weeks. Same as with the negative comments, don’t take it personally. Maybe these people just expected to see different content from you, or they just lost interest. That’s super normal. Just focus on growing and staying true to yourself. Don’t try to please everyone - it’s impossible.

Reward yourself

Lastly, always make sure to reward yourself for your little wins. You did a great job and you should be proud of yourself. Your content reached many people and it made them feel something. That’s not always easy to do, so make sure that you acknowledge that.

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