10 must-know Instagram algorithm hacks for going viral
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Wondering how you can beat Instagram’s algorithm, when everyone else is trying to as well?
Hacking the Instagram algorithm takes a little luck, a lot of great content and some insight into Instagram’s secrets.
In this post, we’ll talk about some little-known tricks that can make a big difference in your engagement and reach. Want to know how the Instagram algorithm works (in plain speak)? Check out this article.
10 Instagram algorithm hacks to help you go viral
Sometimes it’s simply not enough to post awesome content on Instagram. Let’s talk about ways you can hack the algorithm and (hopefully) get your first big break.
Get the scoop on what else the Instagram algorithm loves - and hates.
#1 - Stop recycling your content
We know you’re busy. And we know it’s so easy to cross-promote the same content across Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and the like.
But the Instagram algorithm combs the platform for recycled content, and deprioritizes it. Original content on Instagram should be your focus. Although, you can cross-promote if you remove watermarks (like TikTok’s).
Luckily, you can easily create video content for any social platform in the Mojo app. In just a few taps, you can optimize a post for TikTok, another for Instagram and another for YouTube.
#2 - Go vertical
Make sure you are always shooting your Instagram Reels vertically - and using a 9:16 size. In the Mojo app, we’ve got that covered when you select a Reels format.
If you mistakenly shoot something horizontal, we suggest you reshoot. The Instagram algorithm won’t appreciate it.
#3 - Keep your text ASAP
In this case, ASAP means “as short as possible.” Remember: Instagram is the land of visual content.
If your Reels or posts contain too much text over the visual component, your post will get deprioritized. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your words only take up about one-fifth of the image.
#4 - Match your hashtags and content
We’re all guilty of stashing popular Instagram hashtags away in a note on our phone. Then, we copy and paste them into every Reel we create.
And it’s no surprise. The thought process is, “These hashtags work, so I should use them all the time.”
The problem with this copy-and-paste method is that your saved hashtags may not be relevant to your video. And since hashtags land your Reels into specific filters, you’ll want your hashtags to match your content.
Here’s an example…
Say you made a new Reel about your 5 favorite children’s books. You use the hashtags #toddlermom, #booksforkids and #puppies (because who doesn’t love puppies).
Which hashtag isn’t relevant to your content? #puppies.
Users on Instagram who are searching for #puppies (or who tend to interact with puppy content) may come across your video and immediately swipe away. The Instagram algorithm thinks that puppy people don’t like what you posted, and it’ll be deprioritized.
Make sure all your hashtags closely match the individual Reel.
#5 - Remind viewers to comment
The Instagram algorithm wants to see your Reel get engagement, especially in the form of comments. And no, spam and bot comments don’t count.
While you can’t hack the Instagram algorithm with a bunch of comments created by you, you can encourage your viewers to comment.
How can you do that without seeming desperate? Here are a few ideas about what you can do in your video to inspire more comments:
- Ask a question to viewers
- Talk about something “controversial” (like “pineapple on pizza or not?”)
- Host a prize drawing if people leave a comment or tag friends
- Use your Reel as a place to talk about a subject
- Quiz your viewers
#6 - Get viewers to save your post
When someone saves your post, the Instagram algorithm believes that it was useful to the viewer.
Just like with comments, how do you get someone to save your video without sounding desperate? There are plenty of ways to inspire someone to save your video. Here are some ideas:
- Create an educational video
- Do a “how-to” process
- Be inspiring (like #hairgoals)
- Add a “save this Reel” CTA
- Start an Instagram challenge (with instructions laid out in your video)
#7 - Start with excitement
Hacking the Instagram algorithm also requires people to actually view your video. In general, the more time someone spends on your video, the more the Instagram algorithm thinks it’s something worth watching.
It’s really a matter of what the video is about and how you organize it.
That’s why it can be beneficial to give a glimpse of the final product at the start of the video - before you dive into how you got there.
Another strategy is to start your Reel with the most “exciting part” in the first several seconds. This is an old-time marketing hack that starts the “storyline” at the climax. It avoids a long, slow build up.
For example: You’re doing a Reel about a new sports car. Instead of showing off all the cool features in slow-mo, start your video with the car zooming by. This high-action intro will get people interested and keep them watching.
#8 - Funnel them to your profile
If you go viral on Instagram for one of your videos, great. But you’ll want to funnel all that new traffic towards your profile so that you can hit it big again and again.
You’ll gain attention from the Instagram algorithm if people watch your Reels and then click into your profile. That tells the algorithm that you’re not just a one-hit wonder. Here are video ideas on how to funnel people to your profile:
- Use a CTA that encourages them to follow you
- Say that you have more content “like this” on your profile
- Tease other videos in your current video
- Do a giveaway if viewers complete a “scavenger hunt” within your previous posts
- Collaborate with influencers or other accounts
- Split the content of your videos into “part 1” and “part 2”
#9 - Keep your old stuff, if it’s good
When trying to go viral on Instagram, people are quick to delete previous content.
Posting on Instagram is a learning curve, so don’t be afraid to keep your “pretty good” stuff up there. It’ll help you look more established, and give the Instagram algorithm something to index in the analysis of your account.
We suggest going through old content and deleting anything that is off-brand. Also, if you have cringeworthy content, get rid of that too.
Some “oldie but goodie” content includes:
- Content that got higher engagement
- Content that educates
- Content that fits your niche
- Content that was done in collaboration with someone else
#10 - Use auto captions
In the Mojo app, you can automatically generate auto captions in your videos. All you have to do is add your video, and the app will instantly create the captions.
We encourage all of our users to use auto captions in their videos. It’s a great way to cater to people who are hard of hearing or who need the additional written text to retain the information.
Auto captions let you reach people who can’t listen with audio at the moment.
This will help your video get seen by more people - whether with sound or without. And if you have a written CTA, you’ll likely get more engagement on it too. The Instagram algorithm will love that.
Prep your content to go viral on Instagram
Even though these Instagram algorithm hacks are pretty great, nothing beats awesome content that gets people engaged. We invite you to try out the Mojo video creation app.
With over 400 pre-made templates, you can create on-brand Instagram content in just a few minutes. All you have to do is customize the template and drag-and-drop your media.
Looking to upgrade your social content? Subscribe to Mojo Pro today and get started!