When online content goes viral it usually doesn’t happen by chance. It takes the right combination of tactics to supercharge social media engagement and increase digital dissemination.
Some industry thought-leaders suggest that online content should be viewed as social currency, with its value measured by how viewers believe the content will reflect on them.
“The better it makes them look, the more likely they’ll be to pass it on,” wrote Jonah Berger, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and author of The New York Times bestseller Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
According to Berger, people are more likely to share content that has practical value, such as things that save them time, build their wealth or improve their health. They also are more likely to share content that activates emotional triggers.
“When we care, we share,” Berger wrote.
There are many components to creating successful viral content, including re-tweet and share buttons, widgets, RSS feeds, and good headlines and polarizing subject lines. For example, when an educational outreach program posted the subject line, “Coding should be taught in elementary school,” it drew more than 1,700 comments within six hours.
Adding a re-tweet button at the top of a blog makes it easy for readers to share a post through Twitter, while a widget also helps online distribution and can engage readers in participatory activities, such as voting in a contest.
Multiple social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook should be linked together so you can ask your online followers, when appropriate, to share your content with the widest potential audience.
However, be mindful before posting or sharing any content. It must present a positive image of your business or product and it must be free of errors. Online content spreads quickly; so do mistakes.
With a rapidly growing number of people using smartphones and other mobile devices, online content should be formatted in a way that’s friendly for these smaller screens. Simple ideas and presentations are often better because they are generally accessible to a larger number of people.
Media-rich content that incorporates photos, videos, graphics and podcasts is more likely to attract attention and be shared. Need evidence? Just take a look at how many views a popular video can attract on YouTube.
How-to advice, lists and statistics can also help drive social media sharing. Don’t hesitate to do some name-dropping. Engage leaders and experts in your industry through interviews, endorsements or other activities that link their star power with your content or marketing campaign.
Particularly for businesses that don’t have large marketing teams, it may be beneficial to subscribe to an online service that will blast your content across multiple platforms in order to boost page views.
Also, consider giving something away for free. Special offers can attract visitors to your website and some of them may also decide to buy your products.
Going viral is about much more than crossing your fingers and hoping people will like your content. Create something engaging and useful, and then do all you can to make it easy for viewers to share your content with their circle of friends.
Review the course outline and pricing that discuss the techniques and strategies of viral marketing and social media engagement.