How to create viral content on social networks

There’s no magic formula for guaranteeing that a campaign, video, tweet or post will go viral but by following the advice below, your chances of getting massive exposure through a single piece of content will be increased. If you have any viral success I’d love to hear about it and of course don’t forget to share and tweet this post.

Be positive – your content needs to be positive. Positivity has an impact and is increased the likelihood of content being shared, even in difficult situations. #StephensStory is an example of this, where Stephen Sutton, a cancer sufferer on the verge of death has managed to raise over £3 million (as at 29 April 2014) through a viral campaign over social media.

Provide value – it’s important to provide something of value. Memes are often popular because they are entertaining or funny. This might be inappropriate for some brands although Paddy Power has daily success with this approach. Another option for businesses is to provide information that is helpful and not generally known. This “10 Things You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do‘ article and tips from it has been widely shared across social networks and has been viewed over 17 million times in the past month (as at 29 April 2014).

Trigger emotions – Content that arouses emotions is more likely to be shared. Interestingly, this applies to negative as well as positive emotions. In an analysis of 355 billions video views, Karen Nelson-Field @KNelsonField found that videos which elicit strong emotions from viewers – whether positive or negative – are twice as likely to be shared as those that provide a weak emotional response. However, as stated above, positivity works well as she discovered that content that generates a strong and positive emotional response is 30% more likely to encourage sharing.

Pick your moment – Posting a video or content at just the right time can create a viral effect. This approach known as real-time marketing or newsjacking, works particularly well with timely tweets. A good example is the iconic Oreo’s tweet from SuperBowl 2013 tweeted within minutes of power outage.

Trying one or all of the above might just work and will certainly increase your chances of going viral. If you need specific advice on how to generate viral content for your business please get in touch or book a call with me.

You can learn how 2 examples of hashtag competitions went viral using Twitter Parties in Welcome to the Twitter Party.

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