How to go Viral in 2019
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The science of going viral changes every year. Everything you’re taught to leverage on – algorithms, trends, social platforms- all come and go. The rules are continually changing. Yet, some people and brands keep going viral regardless. How do they do it? In this article, we explore some of the top methods. Here’s how to go viral in 2019.
How to go Viral in 2019
Whether you create videos, blog posts, memes, witty social media posts, or more, it’s possible to get your content to go viral. The same rules apply to anyone looking to grow their social power, sell a product, or promote their brand.
There are no guarantees for going viral. Even with all the right elements included, there’s no way to assure yourself or a client that your content will go viral. However, there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. Here they are.
Know your audience
Content is not one-size-fits-all. It’s almost impossible to create content that will interest everyone who uses the internet. For this reason, you need to identify the people you want to reach. When you know them, you can determine how to gain their interest. Some brands do this using an audience persona. An audience persona is a fictional character who stands as a representation of your whole audience.
For example, your audience persona could be Scott, 26. He works a full-time job and uses social media between 4-6 hours every day after work. His favorite platforms are Reddit and Twitter. Scott is also a member of several group chats where funny memes are exchanged. Scott is on social media to laugh and make friends.
When you have a persona like Scott, it becomes easier to measure the content you create against his possible interest. It helps when you think about the target audience as a person. In this case, your appeal would be humor, because Scott not only laughs at funny posts but shares them in his group chats. That contributes to the makings of viral posts.
Create interesting content
With all the media we encounter, the human brain is loaded with 34 GB of data every day. That’s a ton of information. How do we handle this? By simply overlooking most of the information coming at us. Most people don’t read blog posts anymore; they scan through. Unless a YouTube video is super interesting, most of us won’t watch it to the end. Your target audience will treat your content the same way if it does not hold their attention.
Your content must be attractive. It should have the ability to catch the attention of the audience within the first second, or you’ll lose them. Remember that every single person who sees your content can add to its share power. The audience won’t share your content if their interest doesn’t even last long enough to see it to the end.
Memes go viral because they are relatable. We see a meme and think: “I didn’t realize other people thought this way too” or “I didn’t realize that *insert scenario* happens to others”. And then we share with our friends to see if they get the reference too. Your audience should be able to see or listen to your content and feel the same way. I’m not saying you have to dig into your personal life to find viral content. But you have to present yourself as relatable to the audience.
Tell stories that they understand. If you’re talking about a product or service, paint actual events where they could be needed realistically. Right now, it almost seems like we are skeptical of believing people online. But 84% of people will still trust online reviews as much as a review from someone they know. You have the opportunity to connect with your audience, so make use of it to go viral.
Appeal to emotions
Do you know why cat videos have the highest viral power? It’s because they evoke strong emotional responses in the audience. Only a few people can fight that response. But don’t worry, you don’t need cats to go viral. Several emotional angles can provide similar results. They include humor, happiness, sadness, belonging, fear, curiosity, and guilt.
It goes without saying that you should use emotional appeal within reason. Don’t oversell it, or people will tag you as a fraud. Don’t try to manipulate people into sharing emotionally. That type of social power often never converts into anything valuable.
Don’t look like you’re trying too hard
This point is specific to videos. Viral videos often have one thing in common. They look like someone pulled out a camera, often poor quality, on a whim and just hit ‘Record’. Social sharing does not care about formal, top-of-the-line visual content. This is one of the reasons why vertical videos (shot on mobile phones) have overtaken horizontal videos (shot on DSLR) in social sharing power. Marketers now encourage their brands to shoot vertically, even when using a DSLR. Keep the ‘feel’ of your content as natural as possible. The audience will engage with this tone better.
Partner with influencers
Influencers are people (and recently, animals) who have a large online following. They often build communities of people who follow their lifestyle closely. If you can partner with an influencer, they could promote your content to their audience, encourage them to share with others, and keep the ball rolling. Influencers are also great strategists. They know what the audience wants, and can give this regularly. They could serve as consultants on your media strategy to develop content with a better opportunity of going viral.
There’s no real way to know which of your post will go viral. It may be something you invested loads of time and money into creating. Or it could be something that took two minutes. Upload new content regularly to increase the chance that one of them would take off and go viral.
Be patient and consistent. While working towards your viral hit, ensure that everything you put out provides some value to your audience. Going viral is not the only way to make an impact.
Gary Vee, a media entrepreneur, puts it this way: ”Hippos and sharks. Everyone is scared of sharks. Meanwhile, hippos kill more than sharks. We all want viral, but what actually works is consistent content”. So keep creating.