Instagram DM Groups | Tips to go Viral & Trend

Hello team

I see a lot of DM groups being created by users of the forum, and I’d like to impart some advice to those running DM groups in order to get them the best results possible.

These tips will work no matter what industry you’re in, and no matter the size of your group.

Tips for Direct Message Groups on Instagram

I’ll start with the basics and move onto more advanced notes as the thread progresses.

I. The Engagement Illusion | Instagram Engagement

This may be the most basic point, but I can’t stress this one enough. The comment itself is not what is going to improve your post’s chance of ranking or being seen. Likes, comments, saves etc. have very little effect one whether your post ranks in a hashtag or explore. This may sound insane to some people, but it’s simple. Instagram can very, very easily determine whether engagement is genuine or not. It truly surprises me that they don’t have banning mechanisms for buying fake engagement. How do I know this is true? It’s simple. If you buy fake engagement (even high quality fake traffic from websites) it will actually destroy all chances you have of trending. Your post will be dead in the water after the point at which that engagement has been delivered (unless you’re truly smart about it of course: there is always a way around, but I recommend going fully organic where possible at this point).

II. What Really Counts When Trying to Trend

You can read it for yourself in Instagram’s guidelines, T&Cs & Data Policy. They measure tapping and scrolling. They measure view time. They even record micro-expression data through the camera. If you don’t seem genuinely interested in what you’re looking at in the way you behave while viewing the post, it’s most likely going to REDUCE the post’s hidden value ratings.

Quality over Quantity

This is why I recommend having less people in your DM groups, but having them spend more time on each post. It’s obviously nice to have larger groups because then you’re most likely to have someone engage within the first 15 minutes of posting, but this isn’t even the most important factor to consider. If you get an influx of low quality traffic to your post, i.e. two or even five word comments that are rushed, and no time is spent looking at and enjoying the post, you may as well opt out. The majority of your engagement is going to come organically if you get the other important factors of posting right anyway. The DM group has a legitimate function of its own. It is not going to be what makes your post go viral. It is however going to aid in the process if you do it properly. If you don’t do it properly, you are going to do more damage than good. Here’s why:

IV. Instagram is Smarter Than They Appear to Be

Their algorithm is designed to show your posts to people who are going to be most interested in your posts. I’ve heard speculation that Instagram chooses the 24 people that you engage with the most, and that engage with you the most, and show your posts to them, and their posts to you. At this point the alarm bells should be ringing. Think about it: If you engage with 24 people in your DM group, and they engage back with you the whole time, then Instagram is just going to show you each other’s posts in the feed. And this really does happen. Every slot in a DM group is a wasted opportunity for your post to be shown to someone new or different, so make it count with as few people as you can.

Start Conversations on a Post

Your DM group doesn’t have to love and leave you with a single comment. You can have full on conversations in the comments section thanks to the reply button, and it only increases the value of your post. Have fewer people in your group, but have them engage for longer. The length of engagement is much more important than the number of engagements. This brings me to my next point:

V. The Prestige Illusion | The Real Function of DM Groups

Ultimately, what you want to achieve is the illusion that your post is popular. In my view, a thousand likes on a post isn’t nearly as impressive as 50 comments, and I’m not the only person who has these subconscious reservations. People are going to be far more likely to engage with your post if there are already others engaged. It’s simple human nature. We want to be a part of the discussion, so make sure that your post is appealing and there is something to talk about. Thereafter, converse with your DM group on each other’s posts. Make comments longer and more meaningful and you’ll have others engaging in no time! What’s more, when they read the conversations happening in the comments, they will be spending more time on your posts, and improving its rating!

VI. Look Now. Look Later | The Truth About Saving Posts

Instagram is utterly devious. They’re so idiotic in so many ways, so they convince us that they truly have no idea what they’re doing… but the complete opposite is true. The things that do work work incredibly well. They have destroyed DM groups from the inside out, and nobody seems to even have blinked an eye or noticed. In addition to some of the above points, they also have a very interesting mechanism regarding the save feature of a post:

Saving Posts on Instagram | Be Vigilant

If you save a post from a DM group, it is going to add value, but only if you approach it correctly. Here’s the thing: Instagram will show you the post again after you’ve saved it at a random time at the top of your news feed. If you skim over it when you see it again, it’s game over! It’s a tasteful mechanism if you ask me (my sincerest condolences to those buying fake saves on their posts by the way. It’s a total waste of money). Why on earth would you save something if you aren’t going to look at it again later? It’s probably good practice to have a look over your most recent saves regularly anyway, just to make sure that those in your DM group are actually properly enjoying it.

VII. Don’t Pressure People to Comment Early | Make It Organic

Rather follow the steps above and have people comment naturally, at their leisure. It’s more likely to look organic to Instagram, especially if there are long running conversations. Have people re-watch videos, or re-scroll through albums each time they post a new comment in a very organic way. This will have the greatest effect on your rating.

VIII. Posting Too Frequently Destroys You

To be blunt, nobody on Instagram actually cares about what you’re doing unless you’re a very well respected international or local figure. Don’t make your entire DM group’s lives difficult by posting every day. It’s proven that posting more than once in a 24 hour time frame has devastating affects on impressions and reach. Don’t be that person in the DM group that is posting loads of low quality content. Prioritize the quality of your posts. People are going to find you more interesting and memorable if you post less frequently, but have higher quality, meaningful content. In truth, they’re going to forget that you exist the moment they leave your account. You want to make a lasting impression that is imprinted on the back of their minds, so that when they see another post of yours, they get that same feeling each time, and feel inclined to engage. Nothing will ever beat high quality content. There are a billion users and billions of posts. People are looking for the unique accounts which are entertaining and make lasting impressions. You will NEVER make a lasting impression by posting daily unless you have a content creation team pouring their lives into your content. Use the story feature, that’s what it’s for. And for heaven’s sake: Don’t send 80 stories to your DM group. Nobody wants to watch them.

Notes & Thanks

Please feel free to add any additional advice that you have in the comment section below, and as always; thanks for reading.


nice article dude

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Nicely written, but without facts, stats, examples, experiments,etc, the article is just your personal opinion.
We have a totally different approach, and boosting posts with likes always gives us better results.
I do agree with some of the comments about IG behavior, not all, as we are have several talks with IG ppl describing their processes.



Nice…Thanks for sharing

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I’m speaking from my personal experience, not out of an opinion of what may work. I’ve been in DM groups with large and small contributors for years and have tried and tested many methods, and discussed these factors with other individuals in these groups. I’ve read countless articles on the points above. I’m not going to go and google articles or take screen shots of old messages in DM groups to justify my statements, the post is in-depth enough and explains the approach I take to get results that have worked for me. Anyone who applies these methods will see for themselves that they work. In terms of boosting posts with likes, please see the quote below which you may have missed:

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I still don’t agree, we are testing everything, is the only way, I know we are in a good position to do it, because we have the resources to reproduce the results (positive or negative) in multiple setups.

and by the way

It’s proven that posting more than once in a 24 hour time frame has devastating affects on impressions and reach

this is one is really wrong, we have tons of accounts to prove it.

People are going to find you more interesting and memorable if you post less frequently
Absolutely NO, only a minuscule part of your followers will see a second post, we all wish we could reach all of them every time.

As I said well written but your personal opinion, take or leave it :wink: I will take a few points and leave the rest nonfactual.


I agree with you that everything should be tested - moreover double blind, I just do not have the capacity or time to do a double blind test on this at the present time, however trust me when I say that I have tested this myself. That doesn’t mean that your methods will not work, they could work too. These are just my methods that definitely have worked for me.

I wouldn’t say that. You may still be able to reach a good amount of people with a post (depending on various factors), but it is a well known fact that if you post two posts consecutively there is a reduction in reach. Here’s an article with tests. Also, it has a lot to do with post quality and people’s general attention spans as well. Many factors to consider.

In a way you just confirmed that less people will see the second post?

I appreciate your zeal, and that you are making legitimate challenges to a lack of statistical data in this thread.

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Very informative. Thank you for sharing this.
Gosh I miss those “Instaget” and the power of automating every single second out of IG, no limitations, no worries… Just growing like a king.

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Great article! Thanks for sharing your advice, it’s in line with everything I’ve experimented with personally too :+1:

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Thanks v much for reading, you two! And thanks for the complements :slight_smile:

It’s my pleasure, Micky. I’m with you all the way on that one. I’m thankful to have grown my personal account to a decent size before the fun was over, although looking back i wish I’d taken further advantage of what was available.

Thanks, @ricksta911. Glad to hear we’re aligning in our process! :upside_down_face:

Every single article you’ve written on the forum adds zero value and is a bunch of mindless blabber. I’m sorry but this is just ridiculous. At least @IGsocialize approached his criticism in a sophisticated manner and has contributed enough to the forum to make his claims. Please don’t be hypocritical. I’m adding this information to benefit others in the ways that I can. Statistical data is not a part of this post, just as it is not a part of many posts on the forum. Please test what I’ve said for yourself and if it doesn’t work then you have legitimate grounds to attack my threads.


No no, maybe I was not clear, what I meant is that every time you post IG will display it to a subgroup of followers (randomly) plus a % of the followers that you have interactions, they have a formula for it, so…1st, 2nd, 3rd post will be displayed to different accounts. Of course we cannot post every minute in order to reach, possibly, all our followers because the formula also includes a relevancy factor. So our tests, in personal accounts and brands is that until 5 per day is positive, more starts to have not effect and after 10 it tends to decrease the reach. (Viral accounts have other element in the formula that favor them, as IG needs this type of content as it is highly shareable (even that quality is not the best). Maybe I was more clear now :slight_smile:

Always is fine to discuss with you, very positive, cheers.


Citation needed.


Hey, thanks for sitting down and giving us such a detailed overview on your experience with this. However even though there might be something true in what you have said, I am still more inclined to agree with @IGsocialize, especially when it comes to posting multiple times per day and using powerlikes to boost your account
Namely, I’ve personally tested posting once every two days, once daily, twice daily and three times daily on around 30 accounts in a 5 months interval and it is incomparably better to have at least 2 posts daily. Going over 3 posts daily is not good as it kills the reach, so I would say 2-3 times daily for accounts that grow with the viral method is the sweet spot.

As far as the likes go, I’ve used powerlikes for 4 months, and have ti say that they make an enormous difference. If used in the right stadium of your account and if you post the right content for you audience, they will truely help you reach up to millions of people. It’s also true that they don’t work for low quality content, so that still stands. You still need to find/create amazing posts, write good and engaging captions and do hashtag research. But nevertheless, if you have all that powerlikes, distributed im 24 hours (not in the first 30 minutes) are pretty good in my experience.


some of this is right some of this is wrong.

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Interesting read and certainly something that’s going to provoke a lot of debate in here.
For me when I was testing saves, if I bought over 300 saves my post would get roughly 30-40% more organic likes.
That was a couple of months ago now and may not be relevant. But saves definitely did work.


That’s actually super helpful thanks!!
You brought up very valid points with the view time

if people view your picture for a longer period and not just like and leave again it will have a much bigger effect! Also zooming in and saving posts!


Well we know that Facebook uses facial recognition technology, and that they even wanted to patent said technology. They lied about microphone data for years. It’s logical to assume that although facial recognition is used for certain purposes, that they probably use it the entire time at this point, even if they explicitly say that they don’t (which I’m not even sure they do). We know that facial recognition is an in-built part of Facebook. In the least, linger time is a close cousin of this mechanism. Just do a quick Google search for 'Facebook micro expression data camera" and you will find some interesting and thought provoking results. When I said that we know they record micro expression data, this is true as this is how the app recognizes faces even in low light situations, no matter the facial expression. I did not directly mean to imply that it’s a definite factor which influences engagement, but it’s an important factor to consider, as it reveals their capabilities and what they are actively measuring in some capacity. This becomes important when deciding between primitive measures of value such as metrics, and real indicators of value such as view time etc. Thanks for being inquisitive! Hope that clears things up.

On a side note, tapping and scrolling are 100% used to determine the legitimacy of engagement.


Hey @andbogi

Ultimately, the reason I post these threads is not only to share information. I do not claim to be the beacon of all knowing knowledge. The discussion with the community is important to me, and I value all of your input.

When you say it’s better, in what aspects do you mean? Based on my research and my tests, posting more than once in a day usually results in the second post having less overall reach, unless trending takes place which is a possibility. This may not be the case 100% of the time, but in almost all of my tests, and just looking at the many clients I’ve managed, as well as doing outside research, posting once every two days is more beneficial. How big are the accounts you’re talking about, and what niches are they in? I’m interested to know. Perhaps these kind of factors would have been a nice addition to my thread, however the discussion which can take place between us is far more valuable if we make these comparisons among ourselves. Thanks v much for your valuable response and input.

There we go. I’ve experienced the same results as you. When distributing the likes cleverly with a drip feed they can be very beneficial. But one mustn’t forget that a fake like still counts as an impression in business insights. One must subtract the increased impressions due to the powerlikes or similar service in order to come to a legitimate conclusion. Nevertheless, I do not dispute at all that buying engagement can add value when done properly. It’s just easy to blotch the job, and I always encourage the organic, as even the slightest slip up can result in a lowered trust rating, which takes quite some time to recover. What I’ve found is that once one starts buying engagement, it’s almost utterly vital to continue permanently on every post, otherwise the subsequent difference in engagement can appear quite concerning and cause real social concern.

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@ELanimal would love to hear an elaborated opinion, if you’d be open to participating in a discussion?

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