What Makes a Social Media Post Go “Viral”

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Let’s face it, we all want one piece of content to reach viral status. It seems like nowadays, one viral post is enough to build a brand for years to come. Just the sheer number of views, likes, shares and buzz alone has the potential to drive sales, brand awareness, and conversation that rivals any well-planned marketing strategy.

For businesses, this raises the question, What makes a post go viral?

Virality in your content is sometimes pure luck; other times it’s a well-planned effort. Recurring themes emerge in extremely popular pieces of content. In this blog post, we’re going to explore these themes that make social media posts viral to determine the elements likely to drive your audience to like, share, and repost content.

I. Audience

Do you have a clear understanding of your audience? Taking a deeper dive into what makes your followers, subscribers or customers engage with your brand will unveil exactly what your audience enjoys seeing from your social media accounts.

Dive into your analytics:

  • Social: Engagement (likes, shares, saves, comments) and overall impressions.
  • Website: Number of page views in a time period, time spent on your site, and most visited pieces of content.

Your numbers never lie. Social and website statistics will show what kind of content your audience responds to the most. Does your audience want to be entertained? Do they want to learn something? Look at top-performing posts from previous weeks and months to see what matters most to whom you’re trying to engage with. Once that piece of the puzzle is figured out, search for what’s currently trending in your industry. Your business cannot serve every single audience, so it’s important to tailor your content for consistency. Make sure your social strategy is serving the community you’re building around your brand. Buzz will follow!

II. Participate in trends, but not every trend

With social networks like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter creating more avenues for user-generated content, opportunities abound for your business to get involved. Your audience wants to be a part of the conversation. A great way for your business to be an active participant is by getting involved with trending social media challenges and topics. Putting your brand’s spin on trends or hot social topics will place your business in front of many eyes, expanding your reach.

Trends ride social algorithms in a timely way (and save you money on ad spend). When a piece of content your business shares starts to trend (see an uptick in views) it gets pushed to more social feeds, thus giving it a longer shelf life. Once you have a clear understanding of your audience.

III. Make an emotional connection

Emotions are powerful. Think about the kind of content fed to you on your personal social feeds.  You probably see related content because you’ve engaged with certain topics or themes that you connected with somehow. We spend more time engaging with content that makes us feel something. When a viewer has a reaction to a video, post or image, it inspires them to act.

Not sure what emotion you want to envoke? Go back to your brand values and guidelines! If you don’t have any or if they need a refresh, reach out at hello@blackdigitalgroup.com. Your company’s attempt at making a viral post should still keep your brand at the top of your audience’s mind for your audience. After all, the point of a viral post is to strengthen, drive awareness and convert sales.

IV. Optimal Posting Moment

What makes a viral post isn’t just art; there’s science behind it too. Your content being shared at an optimal time for your audience is key to getting the most eyes on it. Let Black Digital perform a social audit for you to see when’s the best day and time for you to share your content. You don’t want your amazing post to get buried by the algorithm!

V. Capture the eye

Powerful and high-quality visuals capture the attention of the millions of people scrolling through their social feeds. Avoid blurry, fuzzy, low-quality videos and pictures; they’re easy to scroll by.

Your content should be visually appealing and strong. High-quality videos and images perform excellently on platforms like Instagram and Tiktok, which is another piece of the viral puzzle. Review your images, videos and graphics for clarity and quality before sharing.

Going viral isn’t an exact science, but we’ve walked through a few tips and tricks that will strengthen your odds at landing that top-performing post. Nothing guarantees a slam dunk, but now you have a clearer understanding of what can make a post go viral.

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