Web content that “goes viral” can help increase a business’s name recognition and brand value while spreading a marketing message. It may seem that getting content to go viral is a case of being in the right place at the right time, but there are actually some tactics you can use to make your content more likely to go viral.
Why content goes viral
Before creating your content, you need to be aware of how and why content goes viral in the first place. At first glance, it might seem that it is just a matter of luck. Luck can be a factor, but it is only part of the reason. Content goes viral because it’s shareable. Think of the last time you heard about a viral video or ad. Chances are you heard about it on social media, and if you didn’t, the person who told you about it likely learned of it from a social media source.
So, in order to go viral, content needs to be shareable, but not all content is share worthy. So the question really is, how do you create content that people will want to share? There are four factors you need to incorporate:
1. Content needs to be seen to be unique
The vast majority of viral content is unique, and offers something new. If viewers of your content get the feeling that what they are seeing is something different, they will be, a) more willing to consume it, and b) more apt to share it if they like it. It is important to realize that most content on the Internet is not wildly original – someone has done something like it before. Therefore, if you read an article or see a video that interests you, maybe try thinking how you can improve on it and make it more interesting, and make it relevant to your audience. The content likely won’t go viral world-wide. But it could go viral amongst your viewership – which is what is really important – reaching your customers and potential customers.
2. People share what makes them look/feel smart
There is a term associated with social media – social currency – that defines how a piece of content will make the sharer look. For the most part, content that makes the sharer look better, smarter, and like they have something to contribute will be shared at a higher rate.
3. Content needs to be a trigger
In general, humans rely on triggers for action. These triggers are stimuli, like sight and sound, that evoke memory and association with products. A good example of this in action happened during the 2013 Super Bowl, where the stadium lights went out for the better part of half an hour. Because it was dark, people didn’t know what to do. Oreo tweeted a picture that said, “You can still dunk in the dark.” This tweet was retweeted over 10,000 times in less than an hour – going instantly viral. This was a clear message that it is highly likely that the next time this happens at a sporting event, people will remember Oreos. What Oreo managed to do was capitalize on a trigger – it’s dark, reach for an Oreo.
In other words, if you can create content that capitalizes on common triggers, there is a higher chance that your content will go viral.
4. Content needs to be consistent
It is important to realize however, that not all content will go viral; there is still some aspect of luck involved. To further improve the chances of your content going viral, you should strive to be consistent. What this means is posting on a regular basis and ensuring that whatever you post is consistent in terms of quality. If you do this, over time your content will become regarded as valuable and more likely to be shared.
If you take small steps to make your content generally more shareable, you will see the number of shares and likes increase, maybe bringing about more business, or at the very least cementing your brand image and reputation.