The elusive white whale for every marketer is virality. Aside from providing major bragging rights, it boosts ROI, increases growth, and expands awareness.
The only problem? It’s really freaking hard to go viral. While you can finesse the optimal conditions for virality, it’s unpredictable and never guaranteed, which is what makes it so special. A total flop can follow one viral video or the same content that goes viral on one platform may only garner a few likes on another.
But don’t lose hope! By tweaking your approach to social, you can definitively increase your chances of going viral.
The Top 10 Tips
All of these recommendations require one thing: engagement with your community. If you are patient and diligent enough to keep an open ear, your community will answer common questions like what types of content to create, when to launch, and what phrasing to use.
- Keep your target personas in mind and choose your platform and medium accordingly. Not every platform works for every customer base. By defining your target audiences, you can determine what platforms they live on, and, therefore, where to focus on growing your audience.
- Stand out on a cluttered social media feed with a strong aesthetic and creativity. It’s essential to create a hook in the first three seconds of a video to prevent users from scrolling away. You can also take it one step further and create a hook via images before users even hit play. Case in point: compelling thumbnail images. For example, MrBeast’s YouTube thumbnails tell a story in every image.
- Create content people actually want to watch — be unique, authentic, and tell a relatable, relevant story. While it can be tempting to focus all content on your product, remember that most users will scroll right past anything that feels too “ad-y.” The dreaded “a-word,” authenticity is arguably the most important characteristic of going viral. If users can’t relate to the story you’re telling, why would they promote it through likes, shares, or reposts?
- Leverage the right features available on your platform. Algorithms will reward you when you leverage special tools on their platform. Whether that’s a reel on Instagram, a viral audio on TikTok, or a poll on LinkedIn, make sure to take advantage of features designed to boost engagement.
- Timing matters. Launch your campaign when your target audience is most likely active. Do you know when your audience is online? Many marketers don’t and instead rely on basic trends, such as peak activity on Sunday evenings (when people are home preparing for the week) or Monday mornings (when people generally use online activities to put off work). Posting when your target is active can majorly pay off, as platforms like Instagram reward posting in relation to how recently your users were on the platform.
- Keep up with the trends within your brand’s category and see if you can use them to boost your campaigns. Keep your finger on the pulse of your industry by following other brands and creators in the same category.
- Listen to your audience. Check the organic conversations happening around your brand/product/category and leverage them for a viral moment. Whether a creator is raving about one of your products or is lamenting a problem your services can solve, opportunities abound on social media. Check the hashtags around your brand and category regularly to see if you can chime in on a trending conversation.
- Collaborate with influencers. Influencers have a preexisting network and extensive experience creating content geared towards likely virality. Leveraging their expertise is a no-brainer.
- Goals first, campaign second. Knowing what you want to get out of your campaign informs the tactics you should use. Social media strategies for raising awareness vs. engagement vs. sales are often very different, so defining your goals ahead of time helps you narrow down the right approach to your campaign.
- Do your homework. Research previous category-specific viral campaigns, identify what made them successful, and leverage this information to help ensure your success. Someone else has (likely) already performed trial and error and found what works, so take what you like (and add the flair unique to your brand), and leave what’s ineffective.