The dream of every marketer is to have the content going viral. The thought that thousands and at times millions of people will view your content is wonderful, and can scale the brand which you have to new heights. The examples of marketing strategies gone viral is endless, the quiz however is: Why some posts will go viral in comparison to the others, and how to ensure that it goes viral.


Most people will argue that viral contents result from random occurrences. This may be the case at times; researches have shown that there is more to going viral than just luck. Over the years, this has been supported by careful planning and calculated execution. When striving to make the content go viral, the following are the things that you should know.

Understand Your Audience

When most people think of viral marketing, they think of having the content being viewed by anyone possible. This is a wrong perception; going viral does not amount to having the required content in front of anybody, it is all about getting it to the right people.

When Dove initiated a beauty sketch campaign, they had a brand with a specific targeted demographic they wanted to reach. They featured an artist who was trained by the FBI and drew sketches of the real women, not models or paid actresses, based on their own descriptions. The artist would then draw the same women based on description given by a stranger.

By knowing the specific person that it intended to reach; women and focusing on relatable subject; the body image issues, Dove created a viral campaign resonating with the targeted demographic. Once the connection was established with the video message, it spread organically since millions of people who were in a position to relate with the ladies in the video shared it.

Create An Emotional Connection

Besides from knowing the target audience, Dove’s campaign used a video that created emotional connection. Emotions are responsible for compelling individuals to take actions. Some people are known to eat heavily when they are angry while others will go to the gym after a motivational movie.

The feelings resulting from what one sees, reads or hears at times strikes the emotional chord creating behaviour influence.

wheel of emotions
Image Courtesy of:

The wheel of emotions (pictured above) highlights the emotions guiding behaviour.

These are:

  • Trust
  • Joy
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Anticipation
  • Sadness
  • Disgust
  • Anger

One should devise a way of incorporating the emotional words and visuals into the content. They should be integrated in a manner that allows the message to be in resonance with the audience. This raises the chances of having your post go viral.

Build Sharing In the Campaign

You need to be proactive and make sharing to be an inbuilt feature in the campaign process. If you cross your fingers, no one else will share. This is the strategy that Dropbox used to scale up to a multi-billion dollar organisation. This is a simple and effective concept. Dropbox built a feature that would give the users who referred other people free storage space. This enabled the users to continually share the tool. Similar strategies have been used by Airbnb and Uber.

This same strategy was used by google when they launched google plus. They made it that one could only access it only via invite. People went to twitter requesting to be invited. The exclusivity created, made people want the profile even more. The understanding here is that content will only go viral if it is shared.

Use The Appropriate Helpful Tools

These will include;

  • The Untorch which is an email promotion tool. Its services are not however free but it enables you to share the freebie as soon as you get it. Other tools include the;
  • com that will show what is popular and trending on YouTube,
  • Popurls which is an aggregator that lists by category the popular stories shared.
  • The com that will cover the trending stories on practically everything.
  • The Trends 24 that will provide the most popular twitter hashtags hourly for 24 hours
  • The AssignmentMasters – help to create quality content for your site.

Integratea User Generated Content

UGC relies on the audience to design and share the company’s content. This makes the audience feels as part of the campaign. It is also very entertaining. Once the users tweet about the experience with the product, their social media followers and friends will naturally participate.

The more the UGC is shared, the higher the campaign will reach. Always make use of the power in the hands of your audience.

Make The Content Useful And Relevant

It is obvious that people share useful content. Ensuring that the content is useful is the easier way of going viral. Strive to create a content that has practical use and which is actionable. For instance, Wine as a Bedtime Snack Helps with Weight Loss (from is a commonly shared blog with over 590,000+ shares.

This blog has a clear headline, direct content and is also actionable. Because of its practical advice, people will tend to share it with relatives and friends.

Great Timing Helps

To have a viral post, be updated on the current events. Whether it is world news, pop culture or sports, ensure you are active on social media and you are familiar with what is trending, in terms of general news or in your industry. Twitter is the best tool to use across the globe to fulfil this.

Once you have established the trends, design something memorable, entertaining and related to the topic. Here are essential tips to remember:

  • Avoiding a viral post that is based on negative events or tragedies.
  • The content that you create should be as entertaining and humorous as possible.
  • Use sprout social and other management tools in social media to monitor the trending topics using a single dashboard.
  • To increase visibility, create a graphic or an image to accompany the post.
  • If the post is about an already trending post, remember to use the required and appropriate hashtag.

Use Visual Content

Tweets, Facebook and blog posts that are accompanied with images have higher chances of being shared. A survey done by Buzzsumo on the blog posts and the number of shares of each, found that the recurring theme around those that were shared were the visuals. The study found out that posts with images are highly shared on Facebook and twitter than those without.

You should therefore make an effort of having high quality pictures and images in your posts. Having an image on your post will ensure that the content stands out in social media. You can use Photoshop, canvas or any other relevant tool. Ensure that the graphics and images are sized correctly.

Not every post that you create will be viral. In most cases actually, they do not. However, considering the above strategies and implementing them, increases the chances of having the post shared and thus a higher chance of becoming viral. When all the steps are followed, you will be on the radar and your post will be shared instantly. If the content is not shared instantly, do not shy away from asking your friends to share.