It doesn’t really matter what sector of business you are in, or what topics you cover, it is most likely you want to spread the name of your business as far and wide as possible to in turn create more customers and more business. And all publicity is for, most of the time, good. And this is where viral content comes in. A viral video, or image or social media post can reach millions of unique viewers organically, and hence, elevate the person or company that posted it to Internet superstardom.
It may seem like there is no science or pattern behind what makes viral content and sometimes it is completely unpredictable… I mean who could have predicted Candice Payne’s video of herself laughing hysterically in a Chewbacca mask would be watched more than 50 million times in a single day and then go on to make international news?
There are, however, some things you can do, or at least think about when making social media content.
Mix it up
Your followers don’t want to be reading the same things several times a day, so try to vary your content, whether it being video, graphics or interactive content. If it is something new then you’re more likely to grab your reader’s attention and hold it.
Keep it short
Most viral content doesn’t take too long to digest. Videos are usually no more than a few minutes, and posts shouldn’t take more than a few more minutes to read. We’re all busy people… with very short attention spans.
“X ways to..”
Lists work because your reader knows how long it will take to read through the piece and that each piece is nicely compacted into short bites. It also works because your potential consumers will also be searching for answers in search engines, and your lists easily contain the answers that will hopefully pop up and be shared again.
Keep it current
Tie in your social media posts to current news stories, or even other viral content that people are talking about and sharing. You could gain shares and likes on the back of something else that has viral currency.
Make them look smart
This is one of the cornerstones of viral content and one of the simplest to insert into your own social media content. This ties into another few key points about viral content: being positive in outlook (think of laughing Chewbacca) and that it generates value for the reader. If the piece or post is informative and interesting and surprising then if the reader shares it, inevitably, in their minds it makes them more interesting and surprising and most of all smarter in their friends’ eyes. It has a knock-on effect.
Make sure it has a human or personal touch
The most popular pieces of content are genuine and often revolve around real-life experiences and stories. People don’t want to feel like they are being marketed to, or that they’re sharing something that has been designed for them to want to share! Try to keep a personal aspect to your posts and content, even if you draw off your own experiences to bring together a story or to weave it through your post.
Don’t be too specific
If you zone in on a topic that is too specific it is not going to appeal to the wide range of people you want it to if it is going to be shared widely. Even if it appeals to your base of followers, they won’t want to share it outside of their friends if it is too job specific and there the viral trail stops. So try stick to broad topics everyone can relate to… things in everyday life, celebrities, news events etc. etc.
So there you go, take these tips and see if you can produce the next Laughing Chewbacca Video… or maybe something more specific to your company but with the same viral power! We can’t guarantee you millions of hits but with these tips you are half way to making your content go viral.
Have you ever produced some viral content? What was the last piece of viral content you saw or shared? Why not check out why we think you need a new approach to presentations.