7 Unique Strategies To Make Your Social Media Posts Go Viral
Going viral is the dream of any digital marketer – especially in the world of social media.
However, it often feels like going viral is just by random chance. You can share all the great content you want, but there never seems to be a guarantee that your social media posts will truly catch on, and go viral.
We’re here to tell you that going viral is not random. Yes, there is an element of chance – to truly go viral, you need influential users to share your content quickly, you need to strike a nerve and connect with your readers, and you need to get attention from other sites like BuzzFeed – which may, of course, never happen.
But if you craft your posts well, follow some basic social media strategies for creating viral content, and understand the psychology behind why some posts go viral, you can dramatically increase your odds of success.
In this post, we will take a look at 7 unique strategies that you can use today to make your social media posts go viral.
1. Go Against Expert Opinion
If you want to go viral with a piece of content or a social media post, one of the best ways to do so is to go against expert opinion. For example, if you run a website that reviews headphones, you could publish a piece about why the top-rated pair of headphones on the market is actually not the best choice.
This is a surefire way to get engagement – because people who agree with you will want to check out your article, and people who disagree with you will want to read it in order to prove you wrong.
Naturally, you don’t want to do this in a way that alienates your customers, and you still want to be truthful and honest – but an inflammatory title and a controversial opinion is a surefire path to going viral.
Need proof? How about this post “Marriage Isn’t For You” by Seth Adam Smith?
This blog post received over 1.8 million views, and was featured on dozens of websites including Huffington Post, Yahoo, MSN, Fox And Friends, TheBlaze, and more!
A provocative headline grabs attention, and the actual content provides a revealing look at how we treat marriage – and this double-whammy made this article go viral in an instant.
2. Get Personal
If you have a social media presence for your business – especially for a smaller business – you should not be afraid to get personal every once in a while.
People love content that tugs at their heartstrings, and to know that the companies and businesses they buy from are run by real people.
If you run a small business, consider putting together a retrospective post about your journey, and posting it on the anniversary of going into business. Talk about your struggles and achievements, and your readers are sure to engage with your content and share it with their network.
3. Post Informative, Long-Form Content
What content tends to go viral? Is it short, bite-sized content? Images? Quizzes?
Well, the answer is “all of the above” – but you’d also be surprised at how well long-form, informative content can do in terms of viral success.
In fact, KissMetrics (a behavioral analytics and engagement platform) found that blog posts of 2000-2500 words in length were the most successful in terms of the overall average number of shares on Facebook – which may be surprising if you’re just starting out in the world of social media.
This research was backed up by BuzzSumo and OkDork, who found that the longer the article, the more shares it received on social media:
But the fact is, people like to learn and enjoy informative content – and they’re willing to share it, if it’s helpful or interesting. A great example of this is the LifeHacker post “How To Crack A WiFi Password”, which got more than 4.8 million total shares.
The post details the methods that some people can use to hack certain types of WiFi routers – and regardless of the morality of doing so, this post highlighted several solutions to the problem, and attracted plenty of readers for doing so.
4. Always Crosspost Your Content
As I mentioned in the introduction, going viral isn’t by random chance – but there is an element of chance involved. You need to reach the right audience, in the right place, at the right time – and if you don’t, your content may not perform up to your expectations.
A great way to mitigate this problem is by cross posting your content on every platform you can think of. Now, we don’t recommend doing this every time you post something – each of your social media platforms should have a different content approach.
But if you’ve taken the time to craft a potentially-viral article, don’t be afraid to use an app like Social Stream to share it on every social media platform that you’re running.
You should share this content to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr – your goal is to get your content in front of as many eyes as possible in order to increase the likelihood that it will be shared, and go viral.
5. Reference Current Events (But Only If They’re Relevant And Appropriate)
Referencing current events is often a fantastic way to increase user engagement and go viral – but only if you reference relevant and appropriate events.
For example, OREO went viral during Super Bowl Sunday in 2013 – that was the year that the lights in the New Orleans Superdome went out, and caused a long delay in the game. With just a simple tagline (You can still dunk in the dark) and an image of a cookie on a dark background, OREO gained over 15,000 retweets, and a ton of positive press coverage.
However, you should resist the temptation to shoehorn in references to current events and holidays wherever you can. The best illustration of this are the brands which, in the past have used tragic events like 9/11 to promote their products – not exactly a recipe for success.
But if you know your audience and know what’s appropriate, you can use current events to your advantage.
6. Share Other Popular Posts – And Ask Your Readers What They Think!
Constantly creating your own posts can be tiring and draining – but the good news is that you don’t have to!
Platforms like Facebook are purpose-built for sharing the content of others – and with proper citations and references, you can simply share other popular posts and ask your readers what they think about them!
You can find popular photos and videos on sites like BuzzFeed, Reddit, TheChive, and Cracked. Do a little digging and find some that are relevant to your business, industry, or personality, and post them on your site. This is a great way to take advantage of a viral image – without going viral on your own.
7. Encourage User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) can be extremely powerful as a tool to help you go viral, and connect with your customers. By asking for content sourced directly from users, you can engage with existing customers, and reach new customers with authentic, fun content.
A good example of this is Japanese company MUJI. They specialize in minimalist items, and are famous for their high-quality pens. Using the hashtag #MUJIPenArt”, the company began a user-judged social media contest – and the reward was a set of their pens.
Over 3,000 incredible, unique drawings were submitted by users, who then had the opportunity to vote on their favorites. By simply coming up with a great UGC strategy and asking their passionate users to participate, MUJI got a huge amount of engagement.
Here’s an engaging video that made the most of this strategy to get over 15 thousand views!
So think about ways you can use UGC to your benefit – and you’re sure to enjoy plenty of user engagement, and a great chance at going viral.
Going viral is truly the holy grail for social media marketers – and the unique combination of hard work, great content, and the sprinkling of luck that viral posts require, can make it quite difficult to succeed.
But with the right strategies, a powerful social media tool like Social Stream, and dedication to your social media presence, you can go viral in no time.
So never give up. Follow these strategies, and before you know it, your content will be getting the thousands of eyeballs it deserves.