When things go viral, they really go viral and it happens overnight. Why? Things with emotions; any type emotion whether it be shock, sadness, anger, happiness, or anxiety. Emotions get people to listen and remember what they say and heard, and then they ultimately want to talk about because their feelings have taken over. Content that is going to provide a viewer with information that can later help people they know; something useful. It is also said that positive content will go viral mores than negative content, which was quite shocking to me. At the end of the message and/or content, its important to tell the viewer/reader what you want from them, marketing is ultimately trying to get people to do something…don’t assume they know what you want them to do, explain! Ultimately there is advice of some sort, advice to buy your product, advice to use your services, advice to do something a certain way; remember to explain HOW.
When providing your viewers/readers with knowledgable information, make sure you use research to back up your claims. This allows for the viewers/readers to trust and to really connect with the content and therefore spreading their new knowledge to their family and friends. Remember, negative comments/views or feelings to a marketing pitch is better than no comments/views. Don’t be scared to push the limits and possibly getting some of the opposite feelings that you would hope for, if it gets people talking; it usually will lead to a success story.
There is also a term that is used by Jonah Berger, who is the Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Berger uses, STEPPS: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotions, Public, Practical Value, Stories. These should be present in any marketing initiative, this is what gets people interested and later gets them talking about the content.
So in short, my 5 characteristics to make content go viral are:
- Useful information
- Provide advice and explain how to use that advice
- Use Research to support your advice
An example is:
Oreo in 2013, mimicked and sort of made fun of the Super Bowl that year. The stadium lost power and was pitch black for about a half hour. Oreo made a marketing commercial; “Power out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark”. This was soon on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. They gained 20,000 retweets, and over 20,000 likes on Facebook. The Super Bowl is the most watched television program, so we know that TONS of people were watching that night. So, they have caused emotion, by bringing up a situation that most of the world was aware of and picked fun at it. They also are providing useful information; it’s hidden but it’s in there, you can can still accomplish things even in your darkest days as well as providing advice and explaining to their viewers of how. The research isn’t necessary because everyone is aware of the Super Bowl.
I used this example to show that these 5 steps that I have pointed out; it doesn’t have to be strict and serious, it can be in a light manner. People enjoy something that isn’t always serious; especially after working all day, sometimes lighter material can go viral more than serious content.