Have you ever wondered why some content goes viral with the intensity of a doomsday plague while others struggle to find an audience even among friends and family? The solution to creating viral content is easier than you may think.
Follow these four tips make the most of your social media posts.
1. Play Captain Hook
Do you remember the writing lessons you were taught in school? Throughout the course of your academic career, you were likely required to write a few hundred essays. For each of those essays, your teacher emphasized the importance of the introduction, body and conclusion.
For the purposes of creating potentially viral content, we will focus on the introduction. After all, before a social media post gets attention, the story linked to it must grab eyeballs.
Part of the introduction is the title, or headline. This is your only chance to garner readers' interest. With an essay, you have the first paragraph to create the hook to generate further interest in reading your article.
However, writing for an online audience is significantly more difficult than writing for your high school English teacher. You must succinctly restate elements from the introductory paragraph, including the hook and thesis statement, into the title if you want people to pay attention to your post.
Editor's Note: Need a social media management service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.
2. Create content worth sharing
Once you have viewers' attention, it is time to give them a reason to share the content with their friends and followers. What does that look like? It looks like raw emotion.
When people are moved emotionally, they are more likely to share that information with the people around them. Whether you've made them angry, excited, sad or joyful is not nearly as important as the fact that you made them feel something.
The online sphere is inundated with pointless cat videos that go viral, because when people watch them, they feel something – a moment of levity in a chaotic world, a connection to a beloved pet or simply the opportunity to laugh. The video of a cat preparing to pounce is not life altering, profound or remotely important, but it evokes feeling.
3. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words
If this seems like a cliche, remember, cliches gain their status by being fundamentally true. According to recent research, infographics are the most frequently shared type of content. In part, this is due to the nature of the content, which makes complex topics easier to grasp quickly. This has enormous value in a world like ours which has an ever-increasing amount of online content.
Of course, infographics aren't the only way to garner viral exposure and acclaim. For example, Oreo flipped the switch on a power outage to make their tweet a Superbowl touchdown. It had nothing to do with an elaborate graphics coup or strategic planning. It was the timeliness of the tweet and the way so many people instantly related to the message that caused it to go viral … that and a delicious image with a powerful tagline.
If a static image is worth a thousand words, can you imagine the worth of video? Online video has exploded in recent years, and many industry insiders recommend posting video content across social media channels to boost engagement and increase the odds of content going viral.
You may think creating a viral video is an iffy proposition, but there are several things you can do to help your content reach liftoff. First, remember that longer isn't necessarily better for videos. Most people are consuming social media via mobile devices. This means they are likely on the go or multitasking while they watch your latest video.
What does that mean for the creation of viral video? It means to have the best chance of getting viewers to share your video, you must engage them quickly and finish before they get bored and move on to the next thing. You should also consider using subtitles for maximum stealth viewing potential.
4. Pay to play
According to content marketing expert Sandra Wróbel-Konior, the final key in creating viral content is promotion. Without it, the chances that content will go viral are low.
Sandra explained, "It's a common truth that content without a promotion is hard to find, but I feel that content creators still forget about it. It's good to have a plan in place for multiple channel promotion, and it doesn't always have to be influencer-supported or covered in well-known publications (even though it really helps)."
While creating viral content isn't hard, it requires creativity and a willingness to create from a place of authenticity that will resonate on an emotional level with your audience. As Hemingway said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."