It may sound alarming but just stick with me for a minute. Social media has not just given us the ability to spread content to the masses instantly, it’s set an expectation that it will be done. We don’t consider anything “viral” until we’ve seen it with our own eyes. Everything from clever memes to funny videos and profound thoughts can reach millions or billions of people around the world with the push of a button.
Now we spend countless amounts of our resources trying to master and understand what it takes to make something go viral. The truth is that no one really understands what makes something viral worthy. Quite often it’s a combination of a clever idea, strong execution and well planned distribution. If you don’t get all three of those right you tend to end up with something not much more than mediocre. Even when you do have all three of those elements perfectly in place there’s nothing to guarantee the success of the project.
The biggest variable here is human nature. You can understand it to a point, but there are so many external factors playing a role in every individual’s decision making process that your chances of making an accurate prediction aren’t much better than playing roulette. After watching and studying a variety of content distributed to an even bigger variety of people I have found one thing to be true…
People identify, relate and react to passion.
No matter what business you’re in or content you’re distributing you will have greater success if you present it with passion. When you look at the brands who have really succeeded in spreading content “virally” you’ll see that they are all passionate about what they do and what they say. These brands don’t rely on one piece of content to carry all of their campaigns or to build the following for all of their channels. They create, share and distribute “viral” content to their following every day.
To make it simple would you rather be the Eifel 65 of your industry or The Beatles? A one-hit-wonder with a short lifespan or a legend?
Passion is infectious. It’s something that everyone actually wants to spread and it’s what focuses people’s effort and energy. If you can ignite passion in your following than you’ll be “viral” by any standard. Your reach will grow and spread like the plague, but a good plague. Here’s what you can do to spread your own infection around social media.
Step One – Choose Your Passions – You can’t (shouldn’t) be passionate about everything so choose your battles. If you are using social media to connect with your customers then you should start by identifying some of their interests.
Step Two – Find and Create Your Content – Don’t just regurgitate what other content curators and publications are sharing. Study and understand the news and put the effort into adding your own thoughts and creating your own content.
Step Three – Share With Passion – Even when you’re limited by 140 characters people should be able to tell that you really care about what you’re sharing. Describe how you’re feeling and make your opinions clear. Don’t just make a plain statement about what you’re sharing.
Step Four – Engage - A lot of brands are guilty of stopping at step three. You need to go one step further and seek out other people who share your brand’s passions. You also need to take the time to start and maintain conversations with them and any other followers you have. It’s okay to be a thought leader and to provide ideas and content to spark a conversation but it’s great to be involved in those conversations. This step is what will really ignite your following and spread your content.
Step Five – Don’t Stop – Many ad campaigns have a lifespan. THIS IS NOT AN AD CAMPAIGN. You are developing relationships with people and more specifically customers. You can’t decide to just stop doing it without suffering some serious repercussions. People will take it personally and it will affect your brand and your bottom line.
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Hi, I studied advertising, I have a passion for creativity and I love working in social media. I try to write about the combination of traditional marketing, branding, and advertising strategies that can apply and work affectively with social media. I also enjoy music, batman and life.