One of my last blog posts was about the NA-KD dress that caused my Instagram to go a bit mad. A few weeks on from that reel, I had another reel go viral – hitting 5 millions views in fact. As someone who has been wanting to gain some reach, success and followers from Instagram for over six years I thought this would be my chance. However here are my thoughts on going viral on Instagram.
As mentioned, I’ve been going the blogging and Instagram thing for a while. However since 2021 I would say my growth has slowed down. Mainly because during my third year at university I had less time to navigate research trends and content ideas and so I stuck to what I knew best, even though that wasn’t necessarily what was going to grow my account at the time. During this time reels was introduced and I would always regret not jumping on them when they first came out. But one person can only do so much at once and my degree was my priority.
Two years down the line, I have still been making content, contemplated why my content wasn’t bringing in thousands of views per video, and why some people where getting these viral reels and I wasn’t.
That was until recently…
More recently I have had several videos go viral. I thought FINALLY. This is my time to grow my account. I had been looking at what was working in the industry and gave it a go. And the styling reels paid off… or so I thought.
I had so many people congratulating me on how fast I had grown. I had literally more than doubled my following in weeks, my reach was through the roof. And so many people had started telling me this was my hard work paying off. And for a while I thought that too.
However, I have rather quickly come to dislike the fact I went viral. Or more to the point, figured that going viral isn’t what it’s geared up to be.
Firstly I felt quite detached from it, and the sudden growth made me feel quite anxious. Anxious to post, anxious what people thought. After spending so long having a stagnant page and having it as my little bubble, it was growing and growing fast. I didn’t know whether to pivot my content completely to do more of what worked best. Or whether to just keep doing what I would normally do.
Secondly the growth the happened to my page wasn’t actually a good thing. I have always been quite aware of my stats and prior to these reels, I had about 80% of a female following on Instagram – which is fairly good as a female content creator, especially for working with brands. However since going viral this has dropped to 39%. To put it politely, I have gained a huge amount of non-aligned, non-UK based, and male followers. These accounts are spammy, creepy and flooding my DM requests too. If you were to scroll through my follower list it would look like I have bought followers.
I put a message out to other creators to see if anyone had a similar issue, and it quickly became apparent to me that this is a HUGE issue currently with people going viral on Instagram. So many other creators have had the same issue, with a reel going viral and then gaining a load of weird spammy and male followers.
The worst thing is, you can’t really stop it. Unless you delete/archive your reel, or put your account on private you can’t stop it happening if you reel goes viral. But this infuriates me even more as it goes completely against making content and the values of making content in the first place – instead instagram needs to come up with a way of filtering these accounts out or letting you mass delete followers without being blocked.
I’m now in the process of removing followers every hour, so many at a time to avoid any action blocks. And it try and even out my follower ratio again. Quality > quantity and all of that.
But the main point of this blog post, is just to highlight that going viral isn’t all it seems. And Instagram has a major flaw within this which needs to be recognized and sorted, rather than them creating new updates that people don’t want.
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