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That caught your attention delicious isn’t it. But if it wasn’t for the power of viral posts we might not have seen this image. Here’s why viral marketing works and doesn’t work. What are the main tips you need to create a viral campaign.

How To Create Viral Content On Social Media

Have you ever wished for one of your posts to go viral? In this blog I’ll be revealing some industry proven top tips as well as make you think twice. Maybe going viral isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

A viral post is one that circulates rapidly on social media and goes way beyond the number of followers you have. The majority of posts have a limited lifespan – they don’t receive a vast number of likes very quickly meaning they don’t achieve a great reach. But, for the posts that grab the attention of followers quickly resulting in a large amount of likes and shares in rapid succession, they are highly likely to achieve viral status!

Top Tips On How To Go Viral

The key to going viral is to fully understand your audience. I tell all my clients to research their ideal customer before writing posts and creating their social media content strategy. You need to know what content will resonate with them and what they need from you.

To create a post that is shareable and engaging it must be meaningful to your followers and triggers an emotional response: joy, anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, trust, love, nostalgia, sympathy, etc.

When a post truly resonates with your followers you stop them from scrolling, it makes them take note of your words and your image. When they share the post to their friends or followers, they too will stop scrolling resulting in organic reach and a post that goes viral.

Giving Useful Top Tips And Information In A Post

Another reason why posts can go viral is down to how useful they are. You know the ones, the posts which begin with ‘did you know …’, and ‘ways to …’.

If you are creating a Viral Marketing Campaign 2020 using informative posts here’s a really useful piece of psychology for you:

  • Try and write in the negative. For example, say ’10 things to stop doing to achieve….’, instead of ’10 things to do now to achieve …’.
  • Research has proved that people prefer to open posts which tell them NOT to do something for a result. Anything for an easy life hey?.
a stop sign with a cartoon figure coloured black stepping put of the stop sign holding their hand up saying stop and think before you hope your post goes viral

What Makes A Good Viral Post?

If you’re just kick-starting your Viral Social Media Campaign 2020 have a think about these ideas to create that wow-factor moment:

  • Puzzles and riddles that stop and make people think.
  • Create a discussion where people’s opinions will differ (keep it light though, remember the ‘what colour is this dress’ post?).
  • Infographics can achieve a greater reach than normal images and can really get a point across easily and quickly.
  • Real-life inspiring and motivational stories that tug on our heartstrings.
  • Real life case studies, especially the charitable ones.
  • ‘How to …’ tips to make your follower’s lives easier.  I’m writing this at the time of the Coronavirus crisis and posts on how to entertain children are resonating on another level!
  • Human stories with strong emotional content.

Two reason why your posts may disappoint you

Going viral isn’t easy, even if you believe the content is going to hit the spot. So, what could you be doing wrong when your posts don’t get the reach you intended for them:

  • Your timing may be off. It’s best practice to find out from your data when your audience is most likely to be active online.
  • Does the content of the post talk to your audience? A lot of posts fail because the content is driven by what the creator wants their audience to know, and NOT what the audience WANTS to hear.

How to go viral on Facebook

Many companies who gain viral content have large marketing departments which really understand how to go viral on the internet and social media. Cadbury’s did a wonderful job with their viral ‘Thumbs Up’ campaign, and Gregg’s won the internet over with the launch of their vegan sausage rolls, see the title picture😋.

The viral Picture taken from Cadbury’s ‘thumbs up’ campaign. It shows a huge thumbs up just made from chocolate bars.

How to go viral on Facebook

This is a viral image showing a row of terrace houses that have some of their windows bricked up. This image went viral because it was interesting (the term daylight robbery) but also the post said it was a Victorian phrase where as some people thought it was Edwardian.

But what about the SMEs and the independents?

Here’s a great example I’d like to share.

An Estate agent in Barnsley, kindly sent me this post that went viral.  Their Facebook page has just over 4,800 followers, and this post reached over 3 million people.

The post showed an image of a bricked-up window and told the true story behind the well-known phrase ‘day-light robbery’.

This post was informative, it told a story, there was an element of surprise to those who did not know the story behind the phrase, and it was fun. BUT, it also caused a debate. It stated that it was from the Victorian times, many readers stated it was a story from the Edwardian times – so many people wanted to give their opinion and the reach and shares continued to grow.

The post was an accidental success. But it had everything – so is it any wonder it stopped people scrolling?

If you’re still wondering how to go viral on YouTube, how to go viral on Twitter, how to go viral on LinkedIn, or want to know how to create a viral video you just need the same elements Haybrooks Estate agents had. The principle is the same, no matter the social media platform.

Here’s Another Example To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

A screen grab image of the very successful viral game Talisman: The Horus Heresy. It shows an image of a large man dressed like a knight with red eyes showing through the helmet, in front of a red planet.

During my time working for Nomad Games we created a teaser launch video for Talisman: Horus Heresy. Horus Heresy was big news in the gaming world and had many fans across the globe, but our company was only small – luckily, we’d managed to get a licence from Games Workshop for a new Horus Hersey game. Hurrah!

Because I knew this audience well – the fans of Horus Heresy – I understood that they massively fed off rumours concerning new products and when they’re coming out. So, here’s what I did:

  • Created content that teased and got the community talking
  • Made sure the right media connected with us on social media
  • Posted at the time right over Christmas for the American audience
  • The post contained just the video – no words
  • The video didn’t say too much either

Over 4 days the video received over 90,000 views, this continued to rise and got 134,000 at the time the game was launched. It caused surprise, intrigue, fans wanted to know ‘is there a new game coming out?’ and wondered ‘who are Nomad Games?’ At that time Nomad Games’ YouTube channel only had around 500 subscribers.

A great pre-launch success in terms of driving awareness and sales.

The moral of the story

You must understand your audience to achieve great reach – and never forget your objectives. A viral post is all well and good but if it does nothing for your brand or doesn’t get you any sales then it’s irrelevant.

Do not post something that is deemed to be ‘click-bait’. The post may well go viral, but if it is seen in a negative light it could lead to brand damage.

Make sure your posts are well-constructed and part of your overall marketing plan.

Quality vs Quantity

The downside of having a post go viral is that you may end up with thousands of page followers who only follow you for that one post and are never going to buy your product or use your service.

So, why is this a bad thing you may ask. Well, next time you create a post directed to your ideal customers it may only achieve the usual 5% reach, and if this reaches the 5% who will never interact or engage then it’s fallen on deaf ears.

It’s best practice to have fewer followers who are your ideal customers than thousands who just dilute your success!

If you’re interested in finding out more on how to build a robust Facebook advert targeting your ideal customer click here; Facebook advertising, 8 top tips for success. 

I hope you’ve found this blog though-provoking.

Bye for now,



Becs Bate
Social Media Consultant, Social Media Executive Ltd


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