Are all social media platforms have equal potential when it comes to viral marketing?
Back in 2016, Aumcore researched the most influential resources of statistics on the Internet – Statista and Pew Internet – to find, which social media platform has it all for those, who want to go viral.
Back then, Facebook took the lead, with the biggest number of users and the most diverse demographic. With YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter ahead, Instagram took fifth place, only hosting about 28% of all Internet users, while Facebook had 72%.
What’s the situation today?
Surely, the viral marketing landscape for Instagram has changed drastically since 2016. Instagram has introduced many new features since then, one of the most popular being Instagram Stories. And, without missing a beat, Instagram is catching up with Facebook in terms of the number of users (1 billion and 2.45 billion respectively).
Such rapid growth of Instagram indicates that its potential for viral marketing has increased as well. Since then, we’ve seen many posts go viral, from Tentree’s initiative to plant as many trees as the number of likes their post receives (over 15 million likes):
Image credit: Instagram
to Jennifer Aniston finally creating an Instagram page and surprising her followers with a pic of the Friends cast (alert: too heartwarming):
Image credit: Instagram
Both posts went viral in a matter of hours and entered the rank of the most popular posts on Instagram ever.
But what’s the science behind this viral success? How do you use viral marketing to achieve such success?
Let’s take a look.
Understand the Characteristics of a Viral Post
There is a misconception that any post has the potential to go viral, at least on Instagram. You can see where this misconception stems from: Instagram posts are highly engaging and have a higher level of visual value, so, as long as they are creative enough, they could go viral.
That’s not how it works in reality.
There are certain components for the post to go viral on Instagram.
Here are three required components of a viral Instagram post:
- Emotional Appeal. Let’s take a closer look at Jennifer Aniston’s post above, as it is the perfect example of the first component in action. There’s no secret that Friends’ fans have been longing for the cast reunion for a long time. So, although with a significant delay, they were given this gift and the post went viral almost immediately.
- Jennifer Aniston’s post is also very relatable. The Friends TV show had over 54 million viewers in 2004 and now has definitely tripled that amount. So, there are at least 150 million Instagram users who could relate to this post (although we think it’s half a billion for sure).
The first post from Tentree, mentioned above, is also a great example of a relatable viral Instagram post. There is no doubt that deforestation plays a huge role in climate change. Just recently, Amazon fires placed in jeopardy the future of our planet, as the Amazon rainforest is extremely important for maintaining the climate. These events forged Tentree’s initiative, making them create a post that millions of people can relate to.
- Tentree’s viral Instagram post is also a great example of delivering value. Since there is a great reason and goal behind this initiative, it quickly resonated with millions of people worldwide, who made this post viral and shared the message to spread this value.
With these three components at hand, the chances of your post going viral on Instagram are much higher. The presence of these components shows that you’ve put a lot of creative thought into your viral Instagram post.
Study the Trends
Being in line with the current Instagram trends is one of the characteristic features of a viral post that we are going to single out.
In viral marketing, studying the trends is an essential step in creating content that will reach viral success.
One of the most effective ways to study Instagram trends is through hashtags.
A hashtag is the quickest route between a user and a viral post. On Twitter, for instance, you can see the daily countdown of trending hashtags. Flatfy, an international real estate company, took advantage of that when they used #bootstrap for their viral marketing campaign:
This graph shows the performance of their hashtag at the time of their campaign, indicating its popularity of this hashtag for the niche audience they were targeting.
On Instagram, however, there is no such daily countdown of hashtags. However, there are resources, like All-Hashtag, where you can track the current best-performing hashtags.
Studying the performance of hashtags that you will use in your viral marketing campaign have a direct impact on its shareability and distribution potential – two other important qualities of a viral post.
Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing
What’s the quickest way to reach out to the niche audience and make your post go viral on Instagram?
Of course, influencer marketing.
As a phenomenon, influencer marketing grew significantly in the past two-three years. Now, we also have so-called Instagram influencers, who don’t operate outside this platform and have their primary audience only on this social channel.
This significantly increases your chances to go viral on Instagram.
Brands have already learned how to take advantage of Instagram influencer marketing. Among the top examples of perfect Instagram influencer marketing is Daniel Wellington, a brand that works with hundreds of influencers to promote their watches:
Image credit: Instagram
How did influencer marketing help Daniel Wellington achieve viral success on Instagram?
Daniel Wellington knows that consumers trust influencers more than celebrities in TV ads. That’s why you can see them partnering with macro and micro-influencers as well as advocates and loyalists. As a result, they now have over 2 million posts only under #danielwellington on Instagram.
The example of Daniel Wellington truly shows the potential of influencer marketing in viral marketing. So, if you haven’t planned to include influencer marketing in your viral marketing campaign, we encourage you to try it.
As you can see, there’s a whole science behind viral marketing and viral success.
First, you need to make sure that your content has all the characteristics of a viral post, including emotional appeal, relatability, and value.
Then, you can start working on finding the solutions that will increase your post’s outreach, including current Instagram trends and collaborations with influencers.
As a result, you get a perfect recipe for a successful viral post on Instagram, catching the eyes of millions of users.
About the author
Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist, you can check his website here. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.