Clients always ask us to help them “go viral,” but the posts you plan don’t always exceed your expectations. Sometimes, it’s a complete surprise which posts become your most popular. Popular or viral social media posts can give your social presence and brand a huge boost (at least for the short term) if you plan and follow up correctly. Learn what you can do to create popular, viral content.
What does it mean to “go viral” on social media?
To “go viral” with a social media post means your post is shared by many people across the internet. These posts often perform best organically (at least to start). It’s a good indicator that you’ve created content people love so much that they want to tell their friends.
Viral content usually contains media like an image or video or could be a funny, relatable meme. This is likely because visual content catches your attention much easier and faster than written content.
To give your post the best chance of being liked enough by your audience to go viral, follow these top 7 tips:
Tip 1: Know your audience
Your post can’t go viral if no one likes it. Your best chance of having a post rise in popularity is to know your social media followers as intimately as possible. This means knowing what content they like to comment on and share.
Remember, it’s not up to you what posts go viral. It’s your followers who make it so.
Tip 2: Stay on top of trends
Trends are important factors in some posts going viral.
For example, last year, the Vancouver Public Library noticed the popularity of the show “The Last of Us” with Pedro Pascal. They decided to have fun and match VPL branches with his outfits. Those posts went viral as they were timely (with the show coming to Vancouver for filming), and the resemblance between his clothes and the architecture of VPL branches was uncanny and quite hilarious!
Another viral post was from a few years ago with Bernie Sanders and his mittens. People were photoshopping him into their photos for social media. In cases like these, being an early adopter of the meme can help your meme stand above the rest and go viral.
When jumping on a social trend, be sure you can somehow relate it to your business. That will make it relatable to your audience.
Tip 3: Track metrics
You may not notice your post has gone viral if you’re not regularly monitoring your social channels. When you do, it should be obvious when a post takes off because it gets much higher than average likes, comments, and shares.
Do a daily check of your social accounts (which you should be doing anyway to get engagement and respond to comments). If you notice a post doing much better than your typical posts, start looking at why and see if you can give it a slight push (maybe with a boosted or paid ad).
Tip 4: Take risks
Don’t be afraid to try different content on social media. This is the best way to see what content your followers enjoy the most. Try your take on popular memes to see if your audience likes memes. If not, consider trying a behind-the-scenes video with a funny incident.
Try different types of content and topics to see which ones regularly engage your followers. Then, create viral-worthy content in that style or medium.
Tip 5: Advertise your best content
A popular strategy when doing paid social media advertising campaigns is to wait until you have a proven, successful post before putting money behind it. This means don’t put money behind a post to make it go viral. Instead, put money behind posts that have proven popular and viral-worthy.
Tip 6: Hit the emotions
The most popular viral posts hit an emotional button, most often positive ones like nostalgia or humour. Consider all those epic “fail” videos. They’re popular because they’re funny! All those “You need night cream if you remember these…” pictures pull on your nostalgic heartstrings.
Conversely, you can also get a good response to more negatively emotional social posts. One study found that you have a 38% chance that your anger-inducting content goes viral. Just be careful to stick with your brand and messaging before trying to “anger” your followers to get viral posts. If negatively-charged content isn’t part of your brand strategy, consider not trying this strategy. It’s not worth sacrificing your branding just for the chance to go viral with one post.
Tip 7: Take advantage of your viral posts
When your post goes viral, then the work starts. Take a moment to celebrate this exciting win, and get to work using your newfound fame to your advantage. Most viral posts give people “15 minutes of fame.” As a business owner, you need to use that 15 minutes to your advantage to ride this increased exposure as long as possible.
When you discover your post has gone viral, here are a few ideas to use your momentary popularity to drive your business goals:
- Run a paid ad for that post to reach more people
- Make sure your organic social feed is populated regularly
- Capture this traffic by encouraging people to join your newsletter or follow your page
- Plan to reshare this post again in the future to see if you can repeat this success
- Analyze the post to uncover what was popular about it (so you can try to duplicate the success for another post)
What’s a good social media content strategy?
Executing a solid social media strategy goes beyond just aiming to create viral posts. It’s about posting consistently and writing content that your followers want to read. It’s also about writing posts that drive people to buy or otherwise engage them with your business.
The social media team at picnic would love to help you create and execute a successful social media strategy and online presence. While we can’t guarantee the posts will go viral, we’ll work towards using social media to help you reach your business goals.
Book a complimentary consultation with our team to get started today.