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How to Increase the Possibility of Going Viral on Social Media

It seems as though everyone is looking for a way of going viral on social media these days! Whether it’s filming a funny video, or writing a heart-warming blog post, the creation of shareable content is easier than ever before. Anyone with a laptop or mobile device and a connection to the internet can post online, which is great if you have something worth sharing, but it also means that it is much more difficult to get your voice to stand out from the crowd.

So, is going viral all about the luck of the draw or is there a science to it? Whether you want to hit the big time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even via email (don’t forget the power of the email social network!), then there are some steps that you can take to increase the probability of your content going viral.

While there’s no real guarantee that people will share your content, it’s worth following the basic framework that viral videos, memes and articles have used previously to increase the likelihood of this.

First off, you need to think about the quality of your content. Sure, a few grainy videos have hit the big time once in a while, but to ensure the longevity of your post the content needs to be of a high standard. Check for spelling errors, pixel quality, and whether it can be viewed on mobile devices as well as computer screens. Make sure that your content looks like it is from a trustworthy source; people will avoid clicking the link to your content if they feel it might contain a virus.

Next up, remember that posts that invoke strong emotions in people are much more likely to be shared. Emotional connections inspire people to take action, and they could share your content as they reach out to their friends and family. It’s worth pointing out that people prefer to read or view content that is inspiring, uplifting, funny, or awesome over content that makes them angry or sad. People want to share content that helps them to connect with others through laughter and conversation, or causes that they care about, so try to pitch your content to the type of person who you think would identify with it the most. For example, the Dove Real Beauty Sketches campaign featured a forensic artist who drew two individual sketches of a group of women: one based on their own description of themselves and the other based on how a stranger described them. The result was so powerful that the campaign went viral immediately.

Viral content also needs to tell a good story. A great example of this is when New York journalist Maria Konnikova recently spent a year on her latest book project, progressing from rookie to pro on the poker circuit. She ended up excelling at the game so much that she started trending on Twitter and had to put her book on hold to deal with the instantaneous fame. People felt able to relate to her story because she started her poker career from scratch, and worked her way up to become a legendary icon on the scene. Konnikova’s tale of inspiration and achievement was enough to make her story go viral in a matter of days, so try to tailor your content to tell a relatable story that people will want to share.

Finally, make connections with influencers. The power of just once influencer over their audience is immense; just imagine the impact that your post would have if Ellen DeGeneres shared your content! Ok, so it might not be feasible to get Ellen onside just yet, but approaching people with even a small following could help you on your way to getting the views that you want. Reach out to those people who you think might enjoy or connect with your content and see if they might be willing to share it. Alternatively, create something that they tend to share a lot of to increase the possibility of them sending it to their followers.

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman has been writing professionally since 1999 and is the author of the “Mr. Television” for Campaign US (www.campaignlive.com). Most recently, Berman was the creator and Editor-in-Chief of website and newsletter TV Media Insights for Cross MediaWorks. From 1999-2011, he was the Senior Editor for Mediaweek and has also written for The New York Daily News, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Emmy Magazine, among others. Berman has also appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Extra,” “Access Hollywood,” “Inside Edition,” “The CBS Evening News,” E!, CNN, CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.

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