The subtle art of creating viral content on social media platforms
All creators today are aiming for one and one thing only, for their content to go viral. While amidst this global pandemic, the term ‘viral’ may have a different connotation, but when it comes to the digital world, it is definitely a good thing.
Content is said to have gone viral when it gets a lot of engagement, due to shares and exposure on social media networks, news websites, aggregators, email newsletters and search engines. Viral content is also important for content creators of any kind, as it generates a huge amount of traffic and awareness of their image/brand.
However, making viral content is not as easy as it sounds. We can say that it takes a lot of time, effort and determination, but that’s really not the case. There are certain factors that have to be kept in mind, but a lot of it also depends on luck and timing.
Trending topics is a must
One key factor is to focus on trending topics. Initially, in order to build up to a point where your content gets viral, it needs to be about something that is on people’s radar; something that a considerable number of people might look for on the internet. One great way to find trends and growing topics is on Google Trends.
Make your caption noteworthy
When your content gets shared, the thing that the viewers see is the thumbnail, or the image attached and the caption. It is thus imperative to have a caption with a hook. If the caption and the accompanying visuals are boring, there is no way that people will engage with that content. It is true that the content itself is super important, but your title can make or break how your post does. A research by Conductor says that headlines with numbers are 36% more likely to generate clicks.
Know your target audience, and make content specific to that
You have to do some amount of market research about what type of content your target audience likes, what formats they prefer, and how they generally want it to look. Simple, easily readable content tends to become viral more often than complex convoluted structure or vocabulary. You want it to be eye-catching and easy to engage with.
Concentrate on visuals
Surveys have found that colourful and interactive visuals make it 80% more likely for people to peruse that content. A research undertaken by Skyword found that text content with at least one image generated 94% more views on social media. Setting a featured image that comes with a hook of any kind, or a novel design definitely does better. It has been seen that shares with featured image(s) get 150% more retweets on Twitter and 53% more likes on Facebook.
Publish relatable content
You have to make sure your content is either relatable or powerful. It is best if your content elicits a strong emotional response. Research suggests that any post that incites awe, laughter, joy, amusement, empathy, surprise or anger is more likely to go viral. If that is not your ball game, then the next segment is to create practical content like DIYs and how-to-videos. Infographics, lists tend to be better as content in that format is easier to take in.
Make sure your content is trustworthy
In this era where information is literally a click away, you have to ensure that your content is credible. The onus is on the creator to double check facts and ensure that it can be corroborated by valid and trustworthy sources. Fake news or altered facts do not make a good impression in the long run, even though it might boost up your visibility and engagement once.
Increase shareability and promote yourself
If you post something and then just with bated breath for it to become viral, then you'll definitely be wrong. Much like all types of content, you have to actually put it out there for people to engage with it. Your social media buttons should always be visible and accessible. Your content must also be shareable across various platforms. If you want to succeed, becoming proactive about your content's reach and activity is an essential element. Reach out to influencers in the same field as your content and ask them to share it. Do not be wary of tapping every avenue as you don't know what will click. Constantly promote yourself actively on social media, and ensure that you research about what time to post what form of content at, on which platform. There are specific time spans when specific types of content do well. This statistics is easily available on the internet. Make sure you know when to post your content in order to make the most impact.
As vague as it sounds, keep trying
The digital platforms are in a constant state of flux, with social and SEO algorithms changing and updating all the time. It is an incorrect approach to create content for the sake of becoming viral, but rather, the motivation should be more about sharing content that you feel is worth sharing and worth being seen. It can also be said and is also backed by statistics that the more you post, the more likely you are to go viral. You have to understand that going viral is a game of probability as well. You might have put a lot more time and effort into one post, but that does not guarantee that it will go viral. A post that relatively did not require as much effort may be the one that becomes your shot at fame. All your posts will not go viral, but the more you post, the more chances you'll have in that regard.
Going viral is not something you organically plan for, it happens when it does. You just have to ensure that you tick all the boxes to give your content the maximum chance. Keep trying, keep making good content with dedication and steadfastness and it just might be your turn to ride the wave of fame.