How Musicians Can Create Viral Content for Instagram

It’s no secret that Instagram has been killing off the organic reach for posts on the platform. The social media giant has been making it harder for user’s content to be seen – requiring paid ads or ‘boosts’ to get the reach content once had.

In order to get some of that reach back without having to pay Instagram, getting your audience to share content is becoming one of the most important strategies to strategically grow organically for free.

Facebook defines viral as, “the number of people who have created a story from your post as a percentage of the number of people who have seen it.”.

Basically, the virality of your post is measured by how many people have taken action after they’ve seen it. If, for example, one thousand people have seen the new video you uploaded but only two liked or shared it, that video isn’t viral even though it’s been seen by a large number of people.

A selfie, music promotion post or a video of you in the music-making process cannot really be considered viral. Viral content is what you make for your audience – where they see it and immediately want to share it with their friends/audience too.

Sharing an Instagram post can be done through DMs or if a user posts it to their Story. 

Shares are considered one of the most valuable metrics to achieve on Instagram and the algorithm highly values this type of action taken on your content. 

By creating content that generates lots of shares, it will help to spread your brand faster across the internet and will also gain you lots of organic traffic. 

It’s a simple, free way for your current followers helping you to reach a far larger audience.

However, this is not to say that all of your content needs to be viral, shareable content. You still need some personal content where you show yourself and what you do – presenting your career and personality which helps followers connect with you.

Every week you should allocate some of your real estate on Instagram for content which aims to get shared as much as possible with the potential of going viral.

Ok, you might be thinking there’s no way of knowing what can go viral. If it was that easy we’d all be YouTube millionaires by now, right?

Well, I’m here to tell you that there actually is a way to know if something can go viral (or not).

Here are two ways to find or create viral content that pushes your brand out to a wider audience and earns you some important organic reach on Instagram.

  1. Learn From Your Own Metrics

If you’ve been actively posting for a while and growing your audience – creating viral content is easier as you’ve already got metrics which tell you which content your audience interacted with the most.

Just go to your Insights dashboard on Instagram and pull up the content from the last two years. Look at which posts generated the most shares.

I did this last week where I wanted to share a video that could go viral. I went through my metrics first and looked at which topics my audience engaged with.

I saw very quickly that one of my posts where I shared content about the different payouts of the big streaming services and it had performed very well.

I thought to myself, “what’s the topic of this post?”. Well, it’s about generating income for musicians. So I then decided to make more posts about some income generating opportunities or strategies artists can use.

Since I wanted the post to be a video, I then went through all my videos over the last two years to see what types of videos generated the most views.

I found very quickly that the videos I’ve shared of other musicians sharing their expertise and knowledge usually gets some great viewing numbers.

From this, I went on to YouTube and found a perfect clip of DJ Khaled explaining his business model when it comes to publishing music. This fits into the subject area I was looking for and matches the type of video that previously generated lots of views for me.

I downloaded the clip from YouTube (using a YouTube downloader website) and opened up app to add my thoughts to the top of the video as a headline. This means I’m not just sharing a video, I’m adding value to existing content.

This is what I call the DJing of content btw 🤓.

And then I share this on my Instagram in hopes that people will share it and that it will generate tons of views… And it did.

You can even go back and find the content that you’ve already posted previously that has gone viral – and just repost as well. Like what I did with this post. This was one of my highest performing posts over the last 2 years and it generated tons of shares. 

Because it’s been a while since I posted it originally – I felt my audience could benefit from this value again – so I changed the visual a bit (to match my branding and make it more fun) and shared it again to Instagram.

And what do you think happened? I got twice as many shares as I got the year before. 

Go through your metrics, start analyzing how your audience reacts to your content and try to understand what subjects you are touching on – and what emotions you are triggering. Then you can find and create more content that you know will be received well.

2. Find Content That Has Already Gone Viral

This strategy is as simple as it sounds. If it’s already gone viral, then it’s likely to be very shareable content for your audience.

I do this all the time with my blog post content. I browse other marketing experts and see what content they’ve written about that generated lots of results. 

If something they have written about has performed well, then I write it in my own style, add some more relevant information to it that relates to my audience and post it for my followers to read.

You can do the same with Instagram content. Just go to the search bar on Instagram and select ‘Tag’. Browse through some popular hashtags that are relevant to you. For example the #musicproducer hashtag is a good starting point.

When you’re browsing through, the TOP (not recent) content has already gone viral, so you know it’s good content to use.

That content has been placed at the top because of how many likes, shares, comments and saves it has accumulated.

If you see something that resonates with your personality, your brand or your music – go for gold.

Let’s say you are looking for a meme, then start finding other memes that have gone viral. Like these two: 

If you are a music educator looking to make another tutorial – try looking at which tutorials have gone viral on Instagram first. Perhaps search for #musiceducator and see what tutorials and educational content has gone viral. 

See if there is something that resonates with you and your brand – and that you can perhaps make your own. All you need to know is the subject of what’s trending and you can put your own spin on it.

I also go and look for memes to see if any of them can be made into a Reels post. For example, take the first meme we selected above with the bicycle explaining the cycle of releasing music as a producer… You can easily recreate the emotions of this through several clips inside a Reels post, where each section you show the different emotions tied to what you want to communicate. 

As Instagram is continuously introducing updates on the algorithm, it looks as though they are prioritizing the users who are creating original content over those who just copy and post. 

This is why I always recommend adding some value to the content piece. Starting ‘DJing’ with content. 

Whether you make it your own, in your brand colors – or if you add a headline with your thoughts using free editing tools such as Canva and – it’s easy to repurpose the content into your own format. 

However, if you do not have the time and creativity to do this – go ahead and share as it is and just add something personal in the caption. 

Now let’s go viral

Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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