How to Find Viral Content for Social Media

When you're building out your Content Marketing Strategy for Social Media, coming up with ideas can be tough. 

Or worse, you have an idea of how your social media should look without testing anything. These emotional and ego-based decisions are dangerous for your brand. Chances are, you'll fail online.

This is especially true if all you do is rummage through stock photos on various websites. Or study your competitors who are doing an equally crap job.

Stock photos only go viral in the form of dank memes. It's because they're a joke. And if your brand is using them, then you're a joke too. 

So, how do we find great, relevant, and potentially viral content?

Glad you asked.

Here, I'll show you how to mine Instagram for viral content. You can also use Pinterest or other sites, but seeing as Instagram is the most powerful and engaging social media platform at the moment...we will stick with that for this blog post.

First, make sure you're logged-in to Instagram from your computer (this is a desktop exercise, though a similar strategy can be done on your phone without using the following extensions.

Speaking of which, add the following extensions to your chrome browser.

If you don't have chrome, just leave now.

  • Downloader for Instagram
  • CloutHQ

Next, hop on Instagram (from your desktop) and start hunting for some "theme accounts." 

These are accounts that aren't personal, selfie-filled monuments highlighting the best of someone's probably not-so-real life. But accounts filled with engaging content tailored for a specific niche.

For example, if you're looking for remarkable real estate content, you can simply look up the hashtag for #realestate or #milliondollarlisting or #luxuryhome  and Instagram will show you some top posts. 

In the feed, the first 9 posts are essentially "viral" based on whatever Instagram is weighing at the moment. And all the posts below the top 9 are based on Recency (just recent posts - so disregard them).

Focus on these top 9, and click on the accounts that are posting them. Most of them will be Theme Accounts.

You should then click on that blue upside-down triangle, and another bunch of theme accounts will pop up. Add them into your browser and start scoping out the accounts. 

After you select a handful of these Theme Accounts, it's time to use your Chrome Extension, CloutHQ.

This extension will show the top 5 posts from the 60 most recent ones. 

On each Theme Instagram Account, click on the CloutHQ extension and select on all the top posts.

Finding viral content

Once you find the right content, use another Chrome extension Instagram Downloader & download the content you want.

 **AND BE SURE TO COPY THE ORIGINAL CONTENT CREATOR AND TAG/MENTION THEM LATER WHEN REPOSTING**

Back when I started out, I didn't realize the importance of crediting content creators. But it's very important. 

Most of the time, content creators are totally cool with you reposting their content as long as you don't alter the image, add logos and be sure you credit them.

Occasionally you'll find someone not cool at all. If you're a larger brand and want to prevent any potential drama, just shoot them a DM on Instagram and ask for permission to repost their content.

You can also DM a bunch of photographers in your industry and ask to repost. 99% of all the people I've asked said YES.

Conclusion

The idea behind mining this kind of content is that we are now curating content based on engagement. People have shown that they like this stuff and they will very likely engage with it again.

If you're a content creator or have a marketing team and photographer, use this strategy to create a "Mood Board" so that they have a direction to go moving forward on your content strategy.

And if it works on Instagram, it'll work on the other platforms. Because the content is that people are caring about.

It's that easy.

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