Everyone who creates and manages a social media account dreams of having a post (or posts!) go viral. But what does that even mean?

Here’s how Urban Dictionary defines “Go Viral”: As used in reference to Internet content which can be passed through electronic mail and social networking sites (Facebook, etc.): an image, video, or link that spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals has ‘gone viral’. They note that strong political content, celebrity news, news of disasters, among others, are popular topics that have the potential to go viral.

While the concept of “going viral” is straightforward, determining when a post has truly gone viral is more complex. The amounts of views/shares/links, the number of unique people the material has reached, the rate at which the content is consumed, and the content’s longevity are all elements to consider.

What makes a post go viral?

We live in a time where anything may become extremely popular thanks to social media. Even if it’s only for a brief period. Think of a viral post as being like a music hit. You’ll never know what will work unless you try it! However, you will need to spend some time thinking about what type of content will grab people’s attention and appeal to the masses.

Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:

  1. Browse other people’s content to discover what is working for them.
  2. Stay up to date. Keep your eyes open for the latest breaking news online. Every day, you’ll hear folks discussing something in common.
  3. Twitter’s Trending Topics is a wonderful place to discover current hot topics and to find out what people are talking about. Whether you want to focus on local or worldwide trends, Twitter makes it easy for you to personalize your search. (https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/twitter-trending-faqs)
  4. Focus on creating compelling content that solves problems or otherwise provides educational value to others. Think quality over quantity.
  5. Source or create your own attractive, high-quality images and graphics. Stock photos are great in a pinch, but there is a good chance they have already been seen by others. Keep your camera ready for one-of-a-kind photo opportunities!

Ideas for creating a viral post:

  1. Target your audience by location. If your product or service is location-based, being able to target by location can have a significant impact on how your post is shared.
  2. Give your post a boost. If you have a post that is gaining traction on Facebook, consider boosting it or setting up an ads campaign to further increase its reach and engagement.
  3. Conduct a fun, yet relevant online quiz. According to Neil Patel, quizzes are the most engaging type of content on Facebook! (https://neilpatel.com/blog/share-on-social-media/)
  4. Leave them laughing! Humour, especially in today’s world, is a valuable commodity. A creative meme is a fantastic way to make people laugh. Memes also have a strong potential to go viral, especially when they are relatable to large groups of people. When the content includes a joke or a topic that everyone can relate to, more people find it amusing and choose to share it with their friends, who then share it with their friends, and so on. You can easily create your own memes for free through sites such as Meme-Generator.com and imgflip.
  5. Tap into the power of hashtags. Adding relevant and popular hashtags to your social media posts is an effective way to categorize your content so it’s easy to find. It also provides people or other brands, regardless of whether they’re following you, with a direct way to talk about it. Two good sites to help you find popular hashtags are best-hashtags.com and Hashtag Picker.
  6. It’s okay to ask! Regardless of the platform or content, feel free to ask your followers to help share, react, or respond to your post. You can also ask them to tag their friends, increasing the number of people who will see and share your post.

Your post went viral! Now what?

That feeling of having a post go viral, or even semi-viral, is truly addictive! Your hard work has paid off! So go ahead and pat yourself on the back – you deserve it!

Although you may be tempted to ride the wave of that one viral post, it is inevitable the high levels of engagement will eventually drop off. Viral posts also provide the perfect opportunity to grow your audience.

Here are two ways to convert views into new followers:

  1. Respond, respond, respond. Increase your level of engagement and respond to every new person who comments and/or shares your post. People love to be acknowledged and made to feel welcome.
  2. If your viral post is on Facebook, you will be able to directly invite post likes to follow your page:
  • On the post, click where it shows you the number of post likes
  • This should automatically bring up a list of people who reacted to your post
  • You will see a button that allows you to Invite them to like your page, if they haven’t already been invited or like your page
  • Click on ‘invite’ to send them a notification

At the end of the day, you can rest easier by remembering that it is impossible to predict which posts will go viral. Engagement and interaction levels influence whether a post will go viral or not, so focusing on gaining interaction is essential. Remember that your loyal audience is out there, patiently waiting for your next post, and another after that one, and so on. Continue to keep them in mind rather than worrying about whether you’ll impress everyone each and every time.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger