Viral Social Media Posts
Want to Go Viral! It’s what every social media strategist dreams of. Yet achieving super-sized reach with your posts isn’t about luck. Virality requires smart strategy, help and a lot of work.
Below, you’ll discover some great tips on how to boost the virality of your posts. These build reach and brand awareness, the wide visibility that will support broader success for all of your social posts and social marketing objectives.
Business success in social media doesn’t come from a small circle of friends and acquaintances.
Virality is the key. Yet most social posts have zero shares and reach a minimal audience. Is it worth the effort needed? If your audience is on social media and the end profit is sizable, then viral strategy will help lift your complete social media marketing strategy.
A successful viral post is one that is widely shared due to its evocative and appealing content and through deliberately planned distribution
Often, viral social posts have these characteristics:
- the poster is trusted
- the poster or the brand are well known (brand power)
- the post has unusually entertaining or valuable content
- topic of the post is popular and relatable to a big audience
- post is part of a series that builds intent in the audience
- makes sharers feel good (and is consistent with their values and beliefs)
- the post evoked an important emotion
- employ social media influencers
If you’re just posting on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter casually with no forethought as to what affects and moves social media users, you’re not using the platform effectively. We’re going to explore some ways to be more strategic.
The reach and influence and impact of social media makes it worth it to craft your posts and copywriting more intelligently using the right topics, angles and topics.
The benefits are extensive. And the quest for viral exposure will make you smarter and more competitive. Although, competition is not the goal — establishing a unique brand that eliminates all competition is how we build sustainable results.
Get insight into what you could be doing as part of your digital marketing audit
Be the 1% that Gets Shares and Creates Leads
There is a lot of value in social media but only if you’re effective. 99% of all social posts receive no engagement and worse still, create no sales conversions. Sure some get likes and emoticons, but that doesn’t create leads and grow reach to build brand and capture new customers.
Viral posts are not regular social posts. Your intent will be to create a popular news/entertainment bite that gets attention, rouses emotion, and makes others happy to share it with their social circles (or link to a page on your blog).
This tweet below from So Yummy is a common one (7 easy ways to…) that appeals to wide audiences with a common money-wasting problem – spoiled food and guilt over wastage. There are 95,000 comments which means engagement from 95,000 people.
So Yummy has a huge audience, including almost 9 million subscribers on Youtube, 30 million FB followers, and 28,000 followers on Twitter. They’re all about the food and recipes topic which is extremely popular. It tells you that a lot of virality has to do with the topic, not necessarily what you say.
Perhaps the key to Soyummy’s success is the massive content they generate and their efforts on each social media network, as well as the focus on video. They’ve built massive awareness of their brand which is key to their ecommerce sales.
Grab Attention the Right Way
Think beyond your immediate connections because real business success awaits outside your small circle of connections where you’ll reach endless new prospects and brand ambassadors. You’re posting to reach them all, and it could be tens of thousands!
And by posting something engaging and viral, you’re also increasing engagement with your current connections in Facebook, Twitter etc.
It’s a Different Kind of Content
Copywriters and content creators sometimes get too caught up in the obvious value of powerful content, but it isn’t obvious to new readers. They have to be sold quickly about whether it’s worth their time to read or view.
This post from Blossom offers quick, easy ways to get rid of clutter. Apparently, clutter is more of an issue/topic than we believe. 3 million likes and 230,000 comments.
Creating great headlines is serious business and deserves much more time. However, if you keep honing the basic strategy, it could become second nature where you become a quicker and more productive viral marketer.
Go Viral and Beat Social Media Giant’s Reach Limiters
Reach, Shares and Clicks
When you consider that Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social media giants have reduced organic reach to your full circle of connections when you post, you have only one option — get everyone else to share them.
So when you’re crafting your social posts, you may want to stop and reflect on how they’re perceived by your audience.
All they see in the feed is a heading, maybe some description, and an image. If the posts don’t capture them, they ignore them. That means you’ve wasted a lot of time.
The heading of a post carries the most impact usually and tells them what the post is about. It carries a hook and additional points.
However, keep in mind that the social sites have a “clickbait headline filter” which catches posts with viral headlines, especially those on certain topics or for commercial purposes. They would rather you paid for those.
BuzzSumo Study of Viral Headlines
In a BuzzSumo study on viral headlines, the expert that offers the best insight is Andy Crestodina who says, “This research is telling us to give readers stronger reasons to click. Every time our readers see a headline, they do a split second cost-benefit calculation. It doesn’t matter if they’re in an inbox, a social stream or a search results page. The psychology is the same. Is this thing worth two seconds of my time?” from the BuzzSumo best viral headlines report.
And the benefits they seek are to establish better relations with connections, to be helpful, informative, make others feel good, valued and relevant, and improve their self-esteem.
In this widely shared tweet, Australia.com has managed to leverage a video of an iconic scene in Sydney while packing the post with lots of links, and use a purple heart symbol to sweeten it up. 19,000 liked it and another 2100 shared it with others.
Here’s what the popular BuzzSumo study on best viral headlines revealed.
The viral post should generate:
- Clarity and promise
- Emotional hooks
- Provoke curiosity
- Provide explanations
- an appeal to a tribe
Posts that evoke a set of powerful emotions can get shared much more. Those that offer something free also get shared. Links, questions, videos and images also increase engagement and shares.
So by changing the wording of your headings, you can capture more attention, draw more interest, and build emotion and engagement in the post.
By reading lots of social posts from your competitors, and using a social listening software, you can pick up lots of good ideas for your posts.
These great viral post headlines become even more important if you’re boosting them on Facebook. Through boosting, you’re reaching many more people of course. You might be lucky too, by posting just at the right time, to a targeted audience (Facebook ai guided targeting), or when there’s not much happening on social media.
Top Viral Facebook Post Headings
Remember too, that people share material they agree with, or which reflects their values and beliefs. It has to be consistent with their values or they won’t share it.
And anything you share becomes part of your brand image, or your company’s brand. You are your topics.
Success is in the topic. There is emotion around a topic that they experience initially (relevance) so researching compelling topics to write about is very important.
And we’re not talking about frivolous social postings such as TikTok videos, dog videos, or posts about someone else’s fail or misfortune. These can make the poster seem weak and ineffectual. And always keep in mind that the goal is to create a share that creates a lead (or a link to your website url, which should always be in the post).
Strong headlines highlight the topic, make a key point or perspective that people want to share.
BuzzSumo’s study showed posts that went viral had some common elements:
- contained benefits phrases (i.e., will make you)
- were emotional (too cute, shocked to see, laughing, make you cry)
- curiosity and suspense (what happened next, gives you, shocked to, people are reacting)
- lists (top things, best ways, surefire things)
- how to do, fix, acquire, or quickly accomplish
The First Few Words of a Successful Viral Post
The first few words of the headline drive interest in the post. The best were specific and brought focus, certainty, or promised helpfulness or information on a relevant topic.
BuzzSumo found that the best two word combinations included (make you, is why, goes viral, most beautiful). These were often included in 3 or 4 word phrases. Notice the certainty of the benefit they imply.
The numbers 10, 5, 15, 7 and 20 were the highest performing numbers contained in headlines. They’re common numbers or low and easy to comprehend.
Length of Headings
BuzzSumo found that successful headings were lengthy, from 10 to 20 words. We could surmise that longer headings make the topic clearer, to avoid wasting time and to build more reasons to click.
Longer headlines allow you to sneak some keywords in, provided they’re actually and specifically relevant to the idea you’re evoking in the heading. SEO Keywords are relevant words.
BuzzSumo found that shorter headings worked better on Linkedin while longer headings worked on FB.
Twitter headlines tended to be more sensational in tone including phrases such as “the truth about, or what we know” making it a kind of gossipy medium where people skim through more posts than Facebook or Linkedin.
Linkedin’s best headlines were more intellectual and invited thought using phrases such as “the future of, or the power of).
Worst Social Headlines
BuzzSumo went onto to the posts with the least sharing/engagement. These were typically dull, general, mundane headings that failed to get a key topic or idea across quick. They included (work for you, introduction to, how to, the risks, the effect, on a budget, what’s new). They typically make the viewer work hard or will make them think to get into the topic, often irrelevant.
People like easy to consume, quickly understandable content which is why video is so popular. But even videos need a viral introduction.
Okay, so viral social media success probably isn’t so easy. You’ll need to work at it and find out what works best in your industry and with your connections on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or Linkedin.
We should all be composing headlines about a relevant topic to our audience, from 10 to 20 words, which contain a clear, emotion-evoking specific benefit our audience is interested in or can relate to.
Headline Development Tool:
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