How To Get Viral On Instagram In 2023 Even When You Don't Have Followers

April 20, 2023

Written by Jhasmin Vidal

The ultimate hack for getting viral on Instagram right now is Instagram Reels! We know this sounds obvious, but there’s really a perfect reason for this.

However, developing the perfect Reels strategy is no picnic in the park, but don’t worry! We’re sharing everything you need to know about Instagram reels and how you can use them to go viral even without followers!

Understanding Instagram Algorithm

Unlike what others believe, Instagram doesn’t have one algorithm that controls what people can and can’t see in the app. Instead, Instagram uses a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose.

What does that mean? 

It means that each part of the app—Feed, Stories, Explore, and Reels—uses its own algorithm tailored to how people use them.

Therefore, Reels works very differently compared to the other pages of the app. Unlike the other pages that heavily rely on the number of followers and engagement you have, Reels is designed to get new eyes on your account.

According to Instagram, Reels is made to entertain users and help smaller creators get discovered.

So, How Can You Get Discovered In Instagram Reels?

Now that you know how Instagram Reels differs from the other parts of the app, the next step is to optimize your account for it.

In order for your account to get discovered, you need to make sure that you enable the “Show Account Suggestions on Profile” setting in your account.

How can you do that?

  • First, log in to your desktop or laptop and open up your Instagram account.
  • The next step is to go to the “Edit Your Profile” page and scroll to the bottom of it.
  • Lastly, click the box in the “Show Account Suggestions On Profile” setting to enable it.

What does this setting do?

Enabling this setting will allow your account to be suggested on other people’s profiles. Basically, this will increase your visibility even more, increasing your chance to get more views and go viral.

That’s it?

Nope. Not even close. We are just getting started. After you optimize your profile to get discovered, the next step is to optimize your content and how you deliver it. Here are a few tips you can use:

1. Focus on your niche community rather than selling your product.

The majority of what users see in their Reels tab is from accounts they don’t follow but that have the same interests as them. These interests can be anything under the sun: books, plants, science, etc.

Picture this: You’re scrolling through the Reels tab, and you stumble upon some awesome plant-related videos. You like, comment, and even share some of them. The next time you open the app, the algorithm will have picked up on your interest and show you, even more, plant content, regardless of whether you follow any plant-focused creators or brands.

That’s how the algorithm works. With that, the algorithm lets you find other people or accounts that have the same interest as you even though you don’t have any engagements with them in the past. This structure leads to the birth of communities.

What do we mean by communities?

Have you heard about #booktok #foodtok #planttok #sciencetok? These are all TikTok communities on their platform.

  • #booktok is all creators, individuals, and authors that are into books or selling books.
  • #foodtok is all for food lovers, chefs, etc.
  • #planttok is for plant enthusiasts, botanists, etc.
  • #sciencetok is pretty obvious but yeah it’s for people interested in science.

The more you engage with these communities or create content about them, the more you show up in their FYPs or For You pages.

You’re probably asking why we suddenly jump to Tiktok. Well, as we all know, the Reels algorithm is derived from TikTok so they work the same and have the same communities. The only difference is, #booktok and other communities that ends with “tok” from TikTok are popular terms.

How Can You Focus On Your Niche Community?

Instead of just explaining this to you, let us just give you a perfect example of how you as a brand can focus on your niche community rather than just selling your product.

Our Place is the perfect example of that. Our Place sells cookware and other kitchen tools, but that’s not what they are posting about in their reels—at least not directly.

Instead, their content is focused on the interests of their target audience. Who is their target audience? Who uses cookware and kitchen tools? – Mothers, families, chefs, etc.

What do all those people love? – Food!

Instead of creating content about how awesome its product is, Our Place brings value to its audience by sharing recipes and telling stories that revolve around food and families.

These reels perfectly capture that:

Overall, find out who is your target audience, what their interest is, and what communities they belong to on the platform—what hashtags or sounds they are using—then go from there. Create content around that and tell your own story.

In this way, you can increase your reach by riding in on your niche community’s hashtags and sounds and connecting with your target audience on a more personal level.

2. Follow Best Practices in Posting Reels

Another way for you to get discovered in the reels tab is by following the best practices Instagram recommends when posting your reels. To help you out, here are some of the dos and don’ts of creating and posting Instagram reels, according to Instagram.

Do Post A Reel That

  • is entertaining and fun (i.e. videos that delight people, grab their attention, make them laugh or have a fun surprise or twist).
  • is inspiring ( i.e. starts a trend that others can easily participate in).
  • uses creative tools like text, filters, or camera effects.
  • uses vertical video.
  • uses music from the Instragram Trending Sound page
  • is an experiment! Try something new, be yourself and see what works for you and your brand

Don’t Post A Reel That

  • is blurry due to low-resolution
  • is visibly recycled from other apps (i.e contains logo or watermarks)
  • is uploaded with a border around it (only post vertical videos)
  • has the majority of the image covered by text


  • Always post your reels on your profile grid.
  • Only use 3 hashtags per video, or else it’ll be considered spam.
  • Optimize your captions for search terms.
  • Comment or engage on the videos of individuals and other creators in your target niche community.
  • Lastly, reply to all comments you get in your own reels as much as possible.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, Instagram reels can be an incredibly powerful platform. But to make the most of it, it’s important to follow the tips we’ve shared in this article and also experiment with your own creative ideas.

We genuinely hope you’ve found this article valuable. And if you need any more guidance on boosting your business through social media, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be more than happy to help you out!

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