So, You Want To Go Viral | Here’s what you need to know…
How quality content, your audience, timing and more all work together to create buzz
Regardless of your stance on flu shots, when it comes to the Internet, being viral can feel complicated. There is no telling who, what, where, when or why. Before you reach for the hand sanitizer, we’re going to talk about the virus everyone wants — the elusive viral marketing.
When thinking about ‘going viral’ on social media, the first thing that comes to mind may be a video. This is often times thanks to the early days of YouTube (considered by many to be the birthplace of virall online content), but today, ‘going viral’ can come in many shapes and sizes: a picture, a tweet, an idea, an animation — or even a person! Who didn’t love Katy Perry on stage with those sharks at halftime of the Super Bowl?
The most important element for anything that goes viral, is that it evokes an emotion. When something is shared on social media, it’s because people want their followers to feel the same emotion — whether it made them laugh, cry, disgusted, or a weird combination of all of them.
There are several of websites, books, and people claiming to hold the secret to viral success. Sure, there are ways to enhance the chances for your content to go viral, but truthfully — there is no 100% guarantee to viral success.
There are many factors that go into the potential virality of content, but arguably the most important is the quality of your content. Whether it’s a mobile app, a video, or even just a funny photo of a cat, your content must offer quality — something new and unique that the user needs! Sometimes this is simply a quality smile, but most of the time it means going to great lengths to ensure that the time users give you is rewarded with engaging, useful and high-quality content.
The second most important element, you may have guessed, is timing. In order for your quality content to connect emotionally, it must be relevant — sometimes even down to the minute! The saying “yesterday’s news” couldn’t be more accurate when describing social media’s attention span when it comes to popular content. Bottom line: Your topic needs to be something that people care about and find engaging.
Another factor that coincides with timing, is your audience. Even the greatest ideas of all time had to make their way in front of an audience who cared. Regardless of the message that is being conveyed, the content will still need the support of an audience. Lets use Jimmy Fallon as an example. Fallon has viral video content on a weekly (often daily!) basis. Why? He and his staff of writers are hitting all of the right chords when it comes to their audience. One of his main segments involves lip sync ‘battles’ with the celebrities that come on his show. Since its inception, it’s hard to find a Facebook or Twitter feed that wasn’t gushing over these clips. The segment was such a viral success that a different TV network ended up doing an entire spin off show with the idea.
A few other key elements that will aid your effort to go viral are the use of noticeable, visual contexts, celebrity endorsements, and the use of specific keywords and tags. Between our blogs, social media accounts, and more — our team is always trying to be as contagious as possible. As experts in our field, we find it important to offer up as much quality content as we can in regards to our field. While going viral can seem elusive, don’t be discouraged. Tools like the internet and social media have given users a platform, allowing each to have a distinct personality that spreads like wildfire!