In the world of social media, it may seem like an easy task to create a post that will get broad acceptance and go viral very quickly. That’s just about everyone’s dream. Create some unique content that is so engaging, dramatic, life changing, insert other descriptors as necessary, and you will be discovered as the next divine content provider on the net. So what’s up? What’s the big secret? What’s the topic that will light up the ether and send your message to millions? Heck I don’t know. I just want to keep my followers and subscribers around and hopefully attract a few more every so often. I do know however that it isn’t all about the content. Well of course it is you say. You’re saying without content there is no message. There’s nothing to forward, re-tweet, like or even delete if you don’t like it. You are correct. There has to be something there but think about this: Is it the words on the screen or is it the way those words are presented, the way the author has pulled the thoughts together and presented them to you that influences you to share it with others?
If you look at social postings that have gone viral, typically they have at least one thing in common. They usually elicit some kind of emotional reaction. It could be the sad faces of mistreated animals (arranged to make viewers feel anger, frustration, empathy), it could be the cute little 4-year-old boy holding up a broken tree branch and yelling “Daddy, look at my big stick” (say it to yourself but pronounce the word stick incorrectly by replacing the letters ‘st’ with a ‘d’ and you’ll see why it was funny), it could be the South Park clips where Jesus battles Santa Claus that are just so wrong but they still send you into hysterical laughing fits. The point is that each clip that goes viral stirs up some kind of emotional reaction. If the post didn’t make you feel something what would make you want to pass it along. I’m sure there are some other factors but the emotional reaction is one of human’s strongest drivers and that extends to social media.
So, bottom line, if you want your content to be shared, add a little emotion to it. Try to make it funny or so informative that it will drive people into action. Maybe it will be so compelling your followers will start a movement and put you at the head, thereby exposing you to international fame. All of that out of your desire to share how your son embarrassed you in the park one day after finding a tree branch that fell to the ground.
Can you think of other items that make social postings go viral? Share some here and let me know what you think.