While there’s no way to ensure any specific content goes “viral”, there are several factors you can control to ensure your content is “viral-friendly.”
First off, let’s get one thing straight: there is no one way to ensure that any specific piece of content goes “viral.” Heck, we can’t even agree on what specifically going viral even means. We have an idea, but it’s a nebulous term.
The gist? When a piece of content goes viral, it means it is being shared organically by a critical mass of people without your continued prompting or promotion. There are an insane number of factors that go into a piece of content going viral – time of day, what else was being published or promoted that day, a full moon, the airspeed velocity of a north African swallow…you get the idea.
Fortunately, there are several content factors that are IN your control that can at least help to ensure your content is viral-friendly.
First Things First: Start with The End In Mind
Before you start with worrying about a piece of content going or not going viral, make sure you have an idea of what “going viral” means to you. Does it mean 100,000 views? A front-page story in your local paper? Or thousands of sales in a single day? Quantifying the goal will help you determine success as well as ensure you’re focusing on a piece of content that meets that goal.
Now onto the tips.
Three Factors That Help Content “Go Viral”
Produce Quality Content
Bottom line, it’s going to be hard to evoke an emotional response from your audience if they’re distracted by poor production. We’re not saying that every piece of content must be Emmy worthy, but if you’re uploading some shaky cam footage from your latest conference with muffled sound, chances are it’s not going to be a strong contender for going viral.
Not a video brand? Image based content should also be top-notch in terms of production. While we all know a guy who got his hastily drawn napkin chart to viral, that’s more of an exception than the rule. Remember, for brands, production is akin to perception. If you’re going to have millions of people see your content, don’t you want to put your best foot forward?
One factor all viral content pieces have is that they evoke an emotional reaction. That reaction could be laughter. nostalgia, excitement, or a good ol’ heartstring tug. What’s important is that the audience felt something when they engaged with your content, and that feeling was strong enough to compel them to share. The greater the emotional reaction the greater the chance of your content going viral.
Don’t think it all must be laughs or tears, either. As we’ve discussed before, many people are motivated to share content to their social feeds that support a social image they’re trying to build. If you’re a B2B corporation, for example, your audience might be emotionally motivated to share content that makes them seem like the smartest person in the room.
Hit Critical Mass as Quickly as Possible
Most social media platforms have an algorithm in place to track trending content. Once trending content is identified, most platforms have a space set aside to feature the content. Being featured in these trending sections is a huge part of taking a piece of content viral. These featured areas take over the promotion of your content pieces, allowing you to take a step back from utilizing your own promotional resources.
While each social media platform’s trending determination algorithm is different, the main factor across all of them is how many unique individuals are engaging and sharing your content at the same time. Having your single YouTube video being watched and promoted on your channel to a 1,000 people is good, but having 1,000 people all sharing your new YouTube video on their own social networks is even better.
Pro Tip: Here is yet another reason to have an active advocacy marketing program. By asking your Superfans to share your content to their social networks (at the same time), you’re giving your content far greater initial visibility than simply publishing and promoting it only through your brand channels.
Want to start trending in our hearts? Learn how SocialToaster can help your brand implement an advocate marketing campaign today!