It’s a given now that social media is one of the best ways to build relationships with your target audience, particularly since well over 50% of the global population are now active on various social platforms.
Instagram is one of its leading channels, so you can’t ignore it for your marketing campaigns. It remains one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, having added more than a quarter of a billion new users in 2021, bringing it to almost 1.5 billion users by the start of 2022.
That means that a campaign that goes viral on Instagram can bring your brand in front of a massive number of eyes. But of course, going viral requires more than just wishing. To create viral Instagram campaigns, you need to understand the latest audience interaction trends and plan your strategy accordingly.
Here are seven tips to help you kick off a viral Instagram campaign in 2022.
1. Choose Your Topic Carefully
Connecting your brand to a broader vision or cause that your audience cares about can help attract a lot of attention.
Young people make up the majority of Instagram users, and they care passionately about issues like social justice, sustainability, and diversity: 52% of Instagrammers follow a social justice account, and 18% voted in local, state, or national elections, versus just 6% of non-Instagram users.
But make sure your chosen issue is relevant to your USP, or you risk being accused of hijacking a serious issue just to drive clicks.
For example, Airbnb connected the drive towards diversity with its foundational messaging of hospitality, based on the idea of everyone being welcome in an Airbnb property, yielding nearly 115,000 views on the video post.
2. Encourage Engagement
After a compelling, witty hook that attracts Instagrammers to click on your post, you need to deliver engaging content. Style without substance gets you nowhere, and 46% of consumers said that appealing content is what makes a brand “best in class.”
But don’t let things end with a great impression. You want your followers to continue to engage with your brand, whether that’s checking out your latest collection, voting on an in-story poll, or leaving feedback about your new product. Encourage them to keep the action going with interactive features and clear but appealing CTAs.
The Instagram algorithm will reward these interactions by making your post more discoverable in more people’s feeds.
3. Set up Methods to Measure ROI
“You can’t improve what you can’t measure” is an oldie but goodie. Viral campaigns rarely just “happen” — they are built, managed, directed. You need hard metrics for the number of people seeing, responding, sharing, and engaging with your posts in order to know whether to tweak your post or amplify it as-is.
One great tactic is to distribute custom URLs to measure the success of your campaign, so you can see how many people came as a result of the campaign rather than any other cause.
By promoting links with UTM parameters on your bio link tree page, you can direct everyone to the same place and simply update the links you promote from there whenever you need to. Using a free tool like Lightricks’s Link in Bio, this is easy.
4. Present Yourself Appealingly
It doesn’t matter how important or relevant a topic you choose if you can’t communicate it effectively. Make your posts concise and memorable, use high-quality images (it’s Instagram, after all), and look for ways to be witty or funny without diluting your message. Also, export Instagram analytics to understand how your content performs overall and make all the necessary improvements for better engagement.
According to the 2022 Instagram Trends report, memes are big, and growing in popularity, right now, reflecting a need for control and certainty, with absurdist humor leading the mood.
Here’s an excellent example from Chipotle, who highlighted the timelessness of burritos with a classic “throwback Thursday” meme.
5. Create an Uncommon, Relatable, and Catchy Hashtag
Hashtags are the main way that people find new content on Instagram, so all your posts need them, but you need to get them right.
Hashtags should be:
- Relatable, to attract people’s interest
- Uncommon, so you aren’t competing for attention with too many other posts
- Catchy and not too long, so that people will look for it and reuse it themselves with their UGC.
Nike Los Angeles did a great job by adopting the hashtag #playinside when lockdowns began, to drive interest in posts about people working out indoors.
Take a shortcut to an effective hashtag by using a free hashtag generator like All Hashtag. The tool lets you choose between different types of “best hashtag” depending on your goals, and includes hashtag analytics, so you can keep perfecting your hashtag craft.
6. Go Live
Instagram Live sessions feel authentic, honest and open, letting your audience connect with you in real time. People can comment and you can reply during the live stream, which makes it more interactive and builds a personal relationship.
On top of that, Instagram live video broadcasts are pushed to the top of a user’s Instagram story feed, so you get immediate visibility when someone opens the app, and live videos are displayed at the front of Instagram story feeds.
For example, the pet brand Chewy regularly hosts Vet to Vet live Q&A sessions with experts, inviting pet parents to ask questions and get instant answers, which strengthens its positioning as a trusted resource for pet owners.
7. Be Smart About Influencer Choices
Influencers can be a powerful tool for catapulting your Instagram campaign to virality, but only when you select them wisely. Someone with a few thousand engaged followers can be more valuable than someone with a few million who aren’t very dedicated. Tools like Phlanx’s engagement calculator can help you identify which influencers are capable of driving the most engagement.
If you have a follower with a sizable follower count themselves, consider connecting privately and making an influencer deal with them.
Small-to-medium size influencers who are already enthusiastic about your brand make better ambassadors than huge influencers who are only in it for the contract.
Viral Instagram Campaigns Can Be Your Reality
It’s rare for an Instagram campaign to go viral just “by accident.” Usually, viral campaigns are carefully planned and implemented, no matter how casual they might appear. By wise use of hashtags, influencers, live video, and CTAs, smart choice of topic and tone, and attentive monitoring of your progress, you too can be the proud manager of a viral Instagram campaign.