These days, everyone and their mother is trying to go viral.
The mad dash to maximum views is underscoring what some marketers have known for a long time: social media fame is no longer reserved for memes or hopeful influencers. Now, even the world’s biggest brands stand to benefit from a viral vid.
The biggest headache of the shift is accepting the fact that there’s no formula for going viral. Unlike other marketing tactics, there truly is no method to the madness.
It takes some good ol fashioned luck to hack the algorithm, but there are a few ways to boost your odds. This week, we’re sharing our secrets for creating share-worthy content.
Looking for some social media inspo? Here are some examples to get those creative gears turning:
Birds Aren’t Real
Has anyone dropped this truth bomb on you yet? Turns out, birds only *used* to be real – before the government wiped them out and replaced them with bird-like surveillance drones. Now, social media is riddled with viral content spreading the word.
The Birds Aren’t Real movement got its start in 2017 when a few teenagers wanted to poke fun at other conspiracy theories. The group now has over 1 million followers affectionately called “bird truthers” on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Their YouTube and TikTok videos have earned tens of millions of views, so you really could say “Birds” have gone viral.
The success of Birds Aren’t Real might feel random or spontaneous, but there’s actually been a fair amount of brand and media strategy involved. They capitalized on the bold shock value of their message, then steadily built a community with consistent messaging.
The Takeaway Tip: Go big or go home, but back it up with a multi-platform plan.
For International Women’s Day in 2020, Hershey chocolate launched the HerShe campaign to spotlight women’s issues directly on their candy bars. The chocolate bar campaign itself was a hit, but social media really brought it to life. This virality wasn’t thanks to a gimmick or pander – instead, they earned likes by partnering with Girls on the Run and posting about real-life women making a difference. Within a week, the campaign had over 1 billion impressions and earned over $300k in media.
The Takeaway Tip: Meaningful content can have the same impact as comedic content.
The M&M Debate
Everyone is likely tired of hearing about the M&M Spokescandies, but we can all agree on one thing: M&M got us to talk about them. After all, any disagreements or wide variance of opinion is a surefire way to gain popularity and get people to look your way. In this case, whether or not it was the intention, the change in appearance of fictional characters and reveal on social media turned into a political and polarizing debate. While viral may not always equate to the best form of attention, at the end of the day, there's an old adage web marketers love to follow: “all attention is good attention.”
The Takeaway Tip: Go ahead and stir the pot.
Keep It Simple
Finally, a note on TikTok: it doesn’t take much for a brand to go viral here. Companies gain hundreds of thousands of followers every day just by paying attention to trends and joining in on the fun. You don’t need an actor, budget, or script – just keep an eye out for popular filters and sounds, and get one person on your team to participate and post. It doesn’t even need to be relevant to your products or services – TikTokers expect down-to-earth authenticity. This boat trend in particular has been popular for brand accounts (with captions admitting they don’t know how else to do TikTok marketing).
The Takeaway Tip: Don’t overthink trends – just try them.
At iProv, we’re firm believers that a well-crafted social media plan can be the key to unlocking new levels of growth. Need a fresh angle? Book a free consultation at www.iprovonline.com/contactus.