In a competition for clicks and shares, what gained widespread attention so far in 2018?
We are nearing the end of 2018 and there have already been yodeling kids, Tide Pods and too many “challenges” to count. The question of virality is one that so many social strategists and content creators wrestle with every day. While planning content, you can’t help but wonder— is there a way to just go viral? We asked Toby Bochan, Head of Video at Storyful, a company that specializes in analyzing social media intelligence from viral content to give us the deets about what makes something shareable.
I think there is no one formula to make something go viral. The things that go super viral have an emotional connection to the viewer, which isn’t something you can necessarily create inauthentically,” said Bochan. “Marketers know that emotion is key. If you make content that makes a connection with your audience, then they will naturally want to share it.
While you can’t control the factors that result in viral sharing, you can increase your odds. Let’s look at a few viral posts from 2018 to see why they were so shareable.
Example 1: The Royal Wedding Memes
Everyone watched May 19 as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle said their vows at the Royal Wedding. Because we live in a world of instantaneous viewing and responding, it wasn’t long before this fairytale took over social media.
Aside from a love story that was (literally) royal, what made this possible? According to Buzzfeed, viral content often has a strong, positive emotional response. These can fall into the categories of awe-inspiring, emotional, positive or surprising. People engage with emotional content not solely because they feel these reactions, but because they want to share the experience of their surprise, their LOLs and their happiness with others.
With the noble romance on display, it’s no surprise that these memes were topping the trending charts.
Example 2: March Madness Memes
Ask someone to talk about themselves and most people would be happy to comply — we’re only human after all. “People like to share things that say something about themselves,” said Buzzfeed. Allowing people to respond to and interact with parts of our identity is something we’ve been doing for ages and this is exactly what happened in March, when the March Madness bracket memes went viral.
These bracket memes started out by comparing popular topics like Disney movies, fast food restaurants and childhood memories. Even for people that weren’t sports fans, these memes gave everyone chance to hedge their bets and see how far their favorites would hold up. Of course, there’s nothing like a healthy Disney debate to get people talking.
Example 3: MediaSource Client Goes Viral
At MediaSource, we use a relationship-based approach to help our content reach its target audience. By taking our proven practices for media relations and applying them to viral sharing platforms, we’ve been able to generate more engagement and shares.
For our client, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, our team leveraged relationships with producers at the viral sharing platform, Upworthy to increase exposure for this video we produced featuring the heartwarming story of Olivia’s road to finding her forever family. The content garnered more than half a million views, about 3,000 reactions and nearly 300 shares.
Once you’ve ensured your content evokes a positive emotional response and leverages values many people see— or want to see—in themselves, it’s time to amplify your message. We do this by targeting influencers, brands or media most closely related to the content.
While viral sharing is the gold standard in today’s digital world, it can be difficult to make sure your content has the potential to take off. By remembering the psychology and amplification methods behind some of these examples, you too might find your content on everyone’s timelines.