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While going viral is the ultimate end goal for any marketer or business trying to make their mark on social media, is there a blueprint to help get you there?

In 1991, “viral” was used almost exclusively to describe the rapid transmission of a cold or flu from person to person. In 2021, the concept is more or less the same - except now, it’s a phrase that’s been widely adopted by digital marketers, influencers and the many everyday users of social media.

For the uninitiated, “going viral” is a term commonly used to describe a piece of content that is rapidly shared across the internet at unprecedented or unexpected levels. While the exact qualifying number of likes, shares or follows it takes to go viral varies depending on who you ask, it’s often used to describe a fast moving virtual phenomenon along the lines of Baby Shark, the #OkayBoomer phrase, and of course, a range of widely adopted and beloved memes.

When it comes to going viral as a business trading online, many have tried, and just as many have failed. Viral campaigns are sort of like “lighting in a bottle” for brands, who see the possible windfalls as winning the virtual lottery when it comes to brand awareness and potential lead generation. However, it’s not up to brands to decide if a piece of their content goes viral or not: it’s up to audiences, who essentially hold all the power. 

The Blueprint To Going Viral 

More often than not, content that goes viral is all about being at the right place at the right time, or saying the right thing at the right time. In order to really resonate and connect with viewers, is there anything that brands can do to boost their chances at becoming the next internet sensation?

Identify Your Goals - A marketing objective should be a specific, measurable goal. If you don’t have a game plan, what are you hoping to achieve? And what are you going to do with all the attention in the event that your attempt at going viral actually works?

Know Your Audience - For many brands tinkering away on social media, the end goal of going viral is to reach and connect with as many people as possible. However, we all have to start somewhere, so identify the type of people who are most likely going to engage with you first. 

Choose The Right Platform - The big wigs of social media, such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok, are all geared towards vastly different people, industries, and of course, types of content - so match your content to the appropriate platform, or vice versa. 

Watch The News - One of the best ways to go viral is to pay attention to the world around you. If you’re stuck for ideas, simply turn on the television - what events are happening, what’s gaining traction, and what social causes are trending are a good place to start. 

Consider Trendjacking - Going viral is hard. However, one of the easiest ways to raise brand awareness without going viral yourself is via piggybacking your brand onto a meme, relevant pop culture reference or some other viral piece of content to get a reaction and engagement. 

Play On Emotions - Nike nailed the inclusion of polarising American sports star Colin Kapernick in its marketing. The controversial “believe in something, even if it costs you everything” phrase packed a hefty emotional punch, and got America talking. 

Get Creative - If you want to go viral, you’re going to have to think outside of the box. It doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars on a full video shoot, but get creative when it comes to humanising your brand so that audiences have something to connect to and resonate with. 

Shareability Is Key - In order to go viral, you need to get people talking. While that can stem from likes and comments, your best bet is to get organic traction via encouraging users to share your content to their own pages - so make sure it’s optimised for sharing across the board. 

Unfortunately, there is no road map when it comes to guaranteeing that your content goes viral: it’s sort of like winning the lottery. However, in order to win the lottery, you at least have to buy a ticket - so by following the above blueprint, you’re at least well on your way when it comes to increasing your odds. 

Sourcing Help With Your Social Media Content  

Producing quality, consistent and on brand content takes time, effort, experience and resources - and you’re not alone if you can’t quite commit to that. Avoiding a solid content marketing strategy altogether may actually be doing your brand a disservice, but thankfully - outsourcing and in turn, investing in one has never been easier, particularly if you’re hoping to go viral.

Here at Content Hive, producing top quality digital content is exactly what we do best. Founder Lisa Bourke has had her fair share of viral content experiences, and knows exactly the impact that one well executed content can do for a brand or business. 

“In 2017, I was the Digital Strategist behind the award winning “Your Health, Your Choice” PR campaign, which saw over 80,000 online sign ups and international traction for the natural therapies industry. This experience was incredibly rewarding professionally, so I was adamant on capturing the magic again. Thus, in 2019, I spearheaded the “Save Aussie Supplements” digital campaign, to help save Australia’s billion dollar sports and health supplement industry. With no advertising budget, a production time of just four days, and a campaign period of two weeks - myself and the team at Adoni Media went viral, and gained national news coverage. The campaign saw one Australian sign up every minute, and even made it to the Parliament discussion floor. This year, we have another Government Relations campaign in the works, and I can’t wait to do it all again.” 

If you aren’t quite sure where to start on your digital marketing journey and would like to speak to a professional, why not book in a free discovery call with us at Content Hive today to discuss how we can get your brand buzzing online.