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How does one post go viral?
Virality is tricky. A video of a 2-year-old girl talking about preschool earned 3.1 million YouTube views and counting – while there are thousands of companies out there that paid five figures to ad agencies hoping to get the same viral social media post.
Many would end days of blood, sweat, and tears to produce something that could earn millions of engagements. For some, it’s just sheer luck. Figuring out how to stand out in social media will rev up your viral marketing strategies.
Read further and find out what posts people love and the factors you need to consider when making a post go viral.
Posts That People Love to Share
When your content raked in one million views or more on Facebook or on YouTube, that seems insurmountable.
It feels like you’ve won the lottery and gives your morale the boost it needs after all the hard work you did to hit that viral mark.
It’s easy to create content if you know your audience well. But it’s another thing to discover if they would care about your content enough to make them want to share it on their timeline or forward it to others.
YouTube music video of Luis Fonsi’s ‘Despacito’ was the #1 most shared content with 22.2 million Facebook interactions. And a video of 7 organizational hacks was the most viral post with 15.6 million interactions.
In that extensive review, for the most shared content, three of the top 10 posts were music videos.
That’s a clear notion that music or entertaining content won the hearts of Facebook users in 2017, given that Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ music video ranked #2.
In the most viral list, five of the top 10 content were videos of practical tips. Do we need these life hacks? That’s a clear ‘Yes’.
How a Post Can Go Viral
What is the secret formula of a post that can draw in millions of views, likes, and shares? There is no exact formula but you can follow the approaches that worked for others.
Although there’s no guarantee you’ll get the same results, it pays to know what can push your post to become viral.
In viral marketing, timing is everything. Remember that infamous Oreo blackout ad that exploded on Twitter when a power outage occurred during the third quarter of Superbowl XLVII?
That ad was clever and relevant. But what’s most admirable was that the brand was quick to steal the spotlight (pun intended) before the game resumed.
Not all brands that jump on viral trends can do it with reverberating success, like what happened to Oreo. And not every brand can or should piggyback on what’s trending at the moment.
As a business, you have to identify if your brand can connect with the trend effortlessly. Don’t do it just to make noise on social media. Remember, your audience can sense if it’s forced or made from pure self-centerdness.
A viral trend has its own expiration date. But that doesn’t give you an excuse to rush content so you can ride on the popularity of an event or a topic.
A half-baked post can sometimes be worse than no-post at all.
The most retweeted tweet of all time is about nuggets—as in Wendy’s chicken nuggets. Carter Wilkerson’s #NuggsForCarter tweet earned 3.42 million retweets.
It took one simple interaction with the brand. And now a high school guy has a one year supply of free nuggets, plus a $100,000 donation in his name for a foundation he’s supporting.
What can this viral tweet teach you? Carter made the post for Wendy’s. Wendy’s, being active in engaging with their audience, replied with what seemed like a challenge.
So Carter accepted the challenge and tagged other brands, celebrities, and influencers in his plea for free nuggets.
Brands like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and United Airlines tweeted their support. Because it became a public interest, more brands and people retweeted.
With that huge response from the Twitterverse, the post went viral, setting a new all-time record for the social channel.
Sometimes, all you need is one quick-witted response (or post), and let the world’s kindness work on making it viral.
During the holiday season, brands thrive to win the hearts of their market by producing emotional ads.
Any content that tugs at one’s heartstrings or makes people beam with joy has a greater chance of getting viewed and shared many times over.
Brands time these types of content on days of the year when everyone feels the need to be with their families and loved ones.
Regardless of the industry you’re in or the products or services you sell: as long as the content you deliver sees right through anybody’s heart, you won’t have to ask – the public will make it viral.
Anything that’s fresh in the eyes and stirs curiosity has the potential of going viral. People will post because they find it either amusing or confusing. They will rave about it or they will share it to solicit others’ opinions.
What is it about your product that’s distinct to your brand? You’re lucky if there’s any. Otherwise, you can create a unique piece of content for marketing purposes.
Taco Bell isn’t the only restaurant that sells tacos, nachos, and burritos. But what’s remarkable about this brand is their online personality.
Taco Bell is known for their humor and authenticity. The brand’s way of engaging their followers seems to be so natural, and most of the time hilarious.
Their brand personality is so genuine that they’re even compared to an old friend who’s direct and won’t mind good banter.
Those are the reasons Taco Bell’s uniqueness makes them a social media rockstar. When it comes to going viral, they’re the champ. Remember back in 2014 when they staged a social media blackout?
They blacked out all of their social media accounts (and they’re on every platform you know) to alert the public that they were available #onlyintheapp.
The campaign led customers to order through their app. And this secured a spot in the App Store’s most downloaded list, under the ‘Food and Drink’ category, hours after the launch.
Luck, Charm and Relatability
When was the last time you watched an adorable cat video and sent it to your friends?
A lot of posts that went viral on social media were done by ordinary people who only wanted to share a slice of their ordinary lives with the world.
No big production or well-thought-of content—just pure luck. Luck and charm perhaps.
What caused them to earn millions of reactions and shares? It’s because most of the time, they’re also relatable.
People can connect to whatever it is in the post. Whether it brings good or bad memories. Or if the post they see triggers an unforgettable experience, chances are, they will share.
Getting a post to go viral can sometimes feel like grasping at straws.
If only there was an exact formula for it. Then marketers would not be getting a caffeine overdose for overworking every single content piece or campaign laid before them.
Virality doesn’t happen overnight – at least not all the time.
Work on building your audience and a solid social media presence. Then take note of the tips we gave you here whenever you create a post that you want to go viral.
How about you? How far will you go, or what steps are you willing to take, to make your post go viral?
Ryan is a Digital Marketing Specialist at the Bradford based Digital Agency Harrison Mann. Being in the digital marketing field for 7 years now, he enjoys keeping up to date with the latest in all things digital and search.