Marketers rely on many different tactics to get the word out about their product or app. Word of Mouth has always been the most influential one taking the product one step closer to success. Viral Marketing is highly sought after formula that is seen as a shortcut. It helps get instant attention and promotion among a lot of people without needing to put in a lot of dollars and sometimes even for free. However making your content go viral is an inexact science with only few ingredients known to mankind. Therefore it’s very tough to predict in advance if a piece of content will have a viral effect or not. Recently one of my images went viral on Facebook drawing in thousands of people. The effect lasted for about a week and the numbers of likes, share and comments can be seen in the subsequent images.
This content was my first viral piece though I didn’t expect it to be so successful. It was one of my charitable works and I didn’t exactly do it for marketing gimmick. However after the content went viral I decided to analyse and try to decipher some of the key factors that can make some pieces of content go viral. Here is what I learnt.
Type of Content
Yes the type of content does matter. Images have been proven to have maximum engagement rate and my case was no different. My image wouldn’t have gotten such an attention if it would be a normal text update. Though I don’t have data to prove my point it’s pretty obvious.
Social proof plays a pivotal role in engaging a person. When the other person sees me sitting with the old man, both of us having happy faces, they will assume I have done something good which drives half of his conscience to share the content. The other half is driven by the next point.
Conveying A Message For Greater Good
My image wouldn’t have been shared as much if I hadn’t included a message to further help the old man. This is what I wrote with the image.
“A simple thought” part showed my intention of why I posted it on Facebook in the first place. Now people know my motive so they will either ignore it or promote it but given the situation people will most likely share it to spread the noble message around. This is like a call to action to let people know what they have to do further. You have to gently steer the audience to the next step. If there is no call to action people will most likely just read it and forget about it.
Emotions Are The Key Drivers
If you can invoke extreme positive or negative emotions people will interact with your content. However positive emotions will almost always garner better engagement than the negative ones.
In my case the old man that I’m sitting with has an emotional connect with people. This 74 year old man sell puppets to provide for his family including his wife and a daughter. Though he retired as a Manager from a reputed bank he is forced to sell puppets because all his savings were lost on his son who went to a middle east country without informing his family and died a few years later in a car accident. His story went viral the first time it was shared on Facebook and was subsequently covered in different blogs and magazines.
People knew about him beforehand so it was easier for my content to get more engagement. Technically it’s like capitalizing on an existing opportunity though I never intended it to be that way.
Storytelling Can Make A Huge Difference
Storytelling with graphics is the key to evoke emotions. Good story tellers are like magicians, you can’t take your eyes off them when they are narrating their story or even when you are reading them. Graphic or visual content makes for an equally good partner with the story. This is why infographics go viral because they have stats and stories embedded in them at every step.
My storytelling wasn’t great and I believe if I would have expressed the whole story more creatively the virality would have been stronger. For your content always have the story powering the visuals.
Respond To People
This isn’t a primary factor but more of a derivative one from your actions. When my image started to went viral I got tons of messages and response on my image and in response I did two things:
- I liked each and every comment that I got on the image (except the negative ones) to show my appreciation and acknowledgement to their comment.
- I replied to every single message I got as quickly as possible.
I can’t record how these actions would’ve affected the virality of the image but I’m pretty sure some of the people who didn’t share the image before sending me a message or commenting on the image would have done so after my acknowledgement.
These were some of the factors that I deciphered from my viral content. If you think I missed out on something lemme know in the comments.