Digital marketers spend a good portion of their time trying to create something that will go viral. Posting something that is fully branded and getting consumers to repost it again and again and again until it spreads as far as possible is every marketers dream, right? Marketers work hard tracking, searching, and studying viral content in an attempt to fully grasp what makes something go viral. They use all the information they’ve collected to try and scientifically formulate viral content. Meanwhile, some small business owners easily, albeit inadvertently, achieve viral status the good ole’ fashioned way—organically. Take for example Maria Kang, who recently posted a picture of herself and her three little boys on Facebook. The now-famous picture features a very toned and shapely Maria in a teeny sports bra and matching shorts, surrounded by her kids, who are all under 3 years old. Running across the top of the picture is the headline, “What’s Your Excuse” and underneath that is the address to her fitness website, www.mariakang.com. Little did Maria know the picture would soon become very well-traveled! To date, it has been shared almost 16,000 times and it has become the topic of national news. Almost immediately she was being chastised for being egotistical and offensive to other women. While many were outraged by her picture, many others rallied in her support and called her an inspiration. One little picture and Maria Kang had the social media world abuzz!
While there seems to be a good mixture of both Maria Kang haters and Maria Kang supporters, one thing is for sure—a lot more people now know the name Maria Kang. Whether you find her motivational or narcissistic, the fact is that you now know her. I’m not sure what all the attention has done for her business, but there is an old saying that goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity!”
When it comes to going viral, some people say it’s the luck of the draw and others say there is a proven formula. In Maria’s case, it may have been a little of both. But rather than sitting around hoping to get lucky, here are some things you can try to boost your chances of going viral:
- Provide good content that is worthy of being shared. Make sure it’s something people will want to talk about.
- Post content that makes the audience feel. Emotion is key in all marketing. This might be humor, motivation, happiness, or any other emotion.
- Don’t mock viral. In other words, it shouldn’t be the viral ad about a viral ad. Don’t try to make it look like something that has already gone viral.
- Pay close attention to how the content is distributed. If you can, get social media influencers to post it. If this isn’t possible for you, work with small groups. Send the content to small groups who are likely to share it with other small groups, who will then share it with other small groups, etc. Continuous sharing is the key to viral.
Just so we’re clear on why it is beneficial to go viral, research shows that viral campaigns produce 750% more clicks than banner ads. Just a little something for you to think about…