What does it mean to “go viral” anyway? Typically a post that is made that thousand upon thousands of people see in a very small amount of time. What topics make great viral posts? Posts about two-headed cats and maybe a Karen Meme these days.
Just how many posts go viral?
The question many people ask is how often are posts going viral? The answer is only about 1 out of a million posts will go viral. According to a Stanford University Study.
In particular, mass media or marketingSharad Goel, Ashton Anderson
efforts rely on what might be termed a “broadcast”
mechanism, meaning simply that a large number of
individuals can receive the information directly from
the same source. As with viral events, broadcasts
can be extremely large—the Superbowl attracts over
100 million viewers, while the front pages of the
most popular news websites attract a similar number of daily visitors—and hence the mere observation
that something is popular, or even that it became so
rapidly, is not sufficient to establish that it spread in
a manner that resembles social contagion.
Stanford University, Stanford, California
OK so if you posted a million posts, one statistically would go “viral,” but that doesn’t mean that your content isn’t just as important as posts that gain an instant following. Your marketing strategy should be posting content on your social media for several different reasons, going viral isn’t one of them.
Example of a Marketing Campaign Viral Post.
Big business is great at creating digital marketing campaigns that go “viral” Let’s look at Coca-Cola for an example. Brilliant marketing. Everything from the Polar Bears, to the coke cans with your name on them. the “Share a Coke” campaign in 2011 for instance earned 18 million impressions and site traffic increased almost 900%. Page likes on Facebook increased by 39% . We would say that was a pretty great campaign. The reality, Coca-Cola has very big pockets. They paid for every bit of that increase in social media traffic through good marketing campaigns, ads, and the vast reach available to them with a global brand.
Example of Influential Circles of Viral Posts.
For example, the Smith family just welcomed a new baby. All of their friends and family then like and comment on how cute the new bundle of joy is. The algorithm for the social platform then makes sure that more people that are friends with those people see the post in the news feed. Then the friends of friends like and comment and pretty soon the Smith family’s new bundle is the talk of their online circle. That is however where that ends. Even the Smith’s new bundle is not going to make national news for cuteness.
Think about it this way, how many degrees of seperation are going to gush about the Smith Families new bundle of joy? Probably not the Smith’s fourth cousin twice removed in Alaska when it comes to liking and sharing a post.
Reach branches out only as far as the subject matter of the topic relates to circles outside of yours. That is why posts that go viral are typically funny videos of kids or cats falling off things.
Why do posts on Politics go viral?
Most of the time posts that go viral that are not cute cats falling off things and silly kids, or they are political in nature. It doesn’t matter if they are fact checked, most of the time the headline alone will be enough to make people become crazy bats out for blood. They share the heck out of unverified information. It is hard to stop because it spreads so fast by the time someone reports it, it has already been shared several thousand times.
It is also why political posts both real and not real tend to go viral quickly, and are hard for even Facebook to moderate. In a contested election year like 2020 we are seeing so many of these types of posts go viral. The best thing you can do is to try and fact check things before you share them.
You shouldn’t worry about posts going viral.
Remember many of the posts that go “viral” are engineered to do so. They are part of a bigger digital marketing campaign that could include e-mail marketing, digital ads, and strategic paid influencers to spread campaigns across many social media platforms. The more people you can get to “like” or “comment” on signals a trend for the digital platforms algorithms telling them the post is of some importance.
If you are a client a marketing firm guarantees they can create a viral video or post for you, hang up the phone immediately and delete the emails. Realistically no one can make promises like this. Some of it is luck, and some of it is carefully orchestrated brilliant marketing with big budgets and an already large social reach.
The most important thing you can do as a business is create great informative content that is relative to subjects that people are interested in. That is really the key to long term success. As an example one of our clients is a service company. The service they provide is necessary, but there is a lot of competition. The content strategy we have in place has lead to numerous articles we have written ranking very well on google and cumulatively added tens of thousands of visitors to their website. It didn’t have to go viral to be effective. It just had to be quality work with a purpose.