Every marketer wants her message to go viral. But “viralbility” is a tricky, fickle business, and it can often seem impossible. So what makes something viral?
There are a lot of factors that can affect viralbility, from post timing to cultivating influencers, but here we’re going to focus on the content of the post itself.
I would like to point out two important steps to having the masses engage with your online content. Step one is getting attention. Step two is providing value. That is, what good does 200,000 post likes do you, if you’ve not provided value? Not much. No one is coming back. You have to get their attention, true. That’s crucial. But what will encourage them to return?
If you want your audience to share something you’ve created, that something needs to be DIFFERENT. As humans, we are programmed to share what is different and to ignore the average. Bottom line: If you want people to talk about your message, it needs to be talk-worthy.
Here are 5 ways you can get noticed:
- Trigger Curiosity: By instinct, the human mind is primed to seek out those things that stand out from the crowd. Why does it stand out? Is it dangerous? Is it useful? This is how we learn about our world. The more your post can offer something different or unexpected – from intellectual perspective to intriguing image – the better.
- Trigger Emotion: Connect with people through empathy. And do this through a compelling story. We are connected to story, especially stories about the human condition. Caution: When connecting through emotion, it’s critical to do it authentically with genuine, honest aims, or you can turn your audience against you.
- Trigger Need: Speak to the unmet needs of your target audience, but do it in an original, compelling way. Be different. Solve an old problem in a new way. Or solve a new problem in an old way.
And after you’ve got your attention, provide value. If people feel they’ve found value, they’ll stick around to see what else you have in store. Hopefully.