Unless you have been living under a rock, you should be familiar with the term “going viral.” This concept refers to content that infects people like a virus and continues to spread through sharing. This is great for content marketers and provides great visibility for your business. If you are lucky enough to have your content go viral, it will be liked, shared, retweeted, republished, commented on, and included in blogs. In most cases, it is free and it is the phenomenon that is catching fire in social media. When the craze began, the term was associated with sharing videos on social media such as YouTube. But now going viral has taken on several forums, including photos, animation, articles, events, and promotions.
Obviously by going viral, you will increase traffic for your business. Your business will also reap the reward of increased search engine optimization, increased brand awareness, and opportunities. Let’s discuss specifically the benefits of each.
Search Engine Optimization – Going viral will enhance your SEO exponentially. The benefit of this is that it will create a domino effect when people are searching for products and services that you offer. This will also add to the traffic of other posts that you create, including blogs.
Brand Awareness – Can you use hundreds or maybe thousands of visits to your website and your social media sites? I am pretty sure as a business owner this would be the ultimate accomplishment. Having your content shared, promoted, liked, retweeted, and more will set your business on the road to brand recognition.
Increased Opportunities – It’s a no brainer. Going viral will definitely increase your opportunities. In this case, the opportunities are endless. Opportunities will turn into customers, and your customer base will become larger. In addition to customers seeing your content, others who can refer business to you will view your content. And we all know referrals are key to any business!
So whether you are a business owner or a marketer, you will be super successful if your content goes viral. With the advancement of technology and the internet, it has become easy for friends, family, and colleagues to like and share content. However, it takes a lot for your content to catch fire and go viral. Business owners and marketers are scrambling to figure out what the secret is to become successful and have their content go viral. So how can you do it? Here are five steps to improve your chances of going viral.
1. Focus on current trends – If something is trending or is current, it will have a great chance of going viral. This is not only because your content is tied to it but also because people are actually looking for it. When something is trending, you can bet that people are searching for it on social media as well as on search engines such as Google. Google can help you determine what’s trending with Google Trends. Also, make sure that you are staying on top of all breaking news. An example of this is the trend of using “prankverts.” This is a popular type of advertisement based on a stunt involving innocent, unsuspecting people. Pepsi capitalized on using prankverts by using race car driver Jeff Gordon who disguised himself and took an unsuspecting car salesman on the ride of his life. Here is a copy of the link to watch the video. It’s hilarious!
2. Use Keywords and Tags – Using keywords and tags will enable people to search your content. This should not only include words but also phrases that can be linked to the title, description, and the text of your content. This should also be the case if your content is video related. On mediums such as YouTube and Twitter, the use of hashtags is recommended. However, it is suggested that you do not overcrowd your content with keywords. Make sure that they do not appear staged; instead, entice the reader with readable content because it will flow easily.
3. Make it Funny – Who doesn’t like to laugh? Humor is a great way to connect with people and at the same time promote your brand. People are always looking for something funny to comment on or to share. So humor is a great way to assist your content in going viral. However, in order for it to be effective, you must understand your target. Make sure that the humor that you are using is relevant to your audience. According to a webfluenz case study titled How to Use Humour to Make Your Content Go Viral, “Humour can help attract the attention of a large audience, but to encourage them to share requires the content to connect on a much more personal level.” This being said, the humor must ring a bell with them and be familiar in order for your audience to want to share it. This is so true. How many times have you seen something on Facebook that you thought was hysterical and reminded you of a person or a situation? And then what did you do after viewing it? You shared it. And then the people that you shared it with, shared it with others and so forth.
4. Be Creative – The idea of going viral is creating something that is original. People have to find it interesting and want to share it. It has to be one of a kind. So yes, you will have to put your creative hat on. It’s all about setting your brand apart and being unique. A good example of this would be the Old Spice Man Internet Responses, in which Old Spice monopolized on the success of the Old Spice Man commercial. They created 185 additional vides on YouTube where the Old Spice Man responded to various comments on social media. It was very successful and received nearly 300,000 views. This was truly one of a kind.
5. Give Something Away – Do you know anyone who doesn’t like receiving something for free? If you do, they are in the minority. Giving away freebies is a great idea on the path of going viral. Giving away something of value for free is a great way to promote your brand. You can use this tactic to get people to like just about anything on Facebook. It’s also a common tactic to add to your followers on Twitter. Some key ingredients that should be included in your contest to make it successful should be
a. Offer a great prize
b. Implement a start and finish date in your contest. This creates the illusion of urgency.
c. Create exclusivity in the contest by making the participants feel special. This will also help you with creating leads out of the participants.
d. Make it fun. With the tasks of everyday life, people will jump right into something fun if they can be a part of it.
e. Make it viral. Do this by adding viral features such as share buttons, personalizing the contest message, and a personal thank you for the participants.
As discussed, the goal of most marketers is to have their content go viral. This is the trend. And the existence of viral content has made it possible to increase your brand awareness. With that in mind, it’s time for you to jump into the viral phenomenon and start sharing!