Secret sauce to going viral - Gremlins!
Everyone wants more traffic, more views, more subscribers, more followers and more interaction from people. So where do gremlins figure in this picture, and how will they make you go viral?
One of the most common questions we are asked here at Brightlabs is how to get more click-through in the den of noise that is the online world. Everyone, it seems, would love to know how to get more likes and retweets, and it's perfectly understandable! Nonetheless, it's a tricky question because there are literally hundreds of things that can attract visitors in a campaign, ranging from video, a good headline, or a gem of meme.
In a nutshell, there is one thing to keep in mind: it has to strike a chord with the viewer on some level. Winning content has to engage and hold the consumer's interest enough for them to want to share their approval through liking, retweeting, or (the holy grail) partaking in what you are putting out there. Every audience is different and will have a unique set of interests to be addressed.
A good way to start is see what your friends are doing on Facebook. It can teach you a lot about what's popular, what works and what doesn't. It also shows you what type of audience likes what content.
In good company
As an example - the other day our Director, Rishad Sukhia, added an updated profile photo to Facebook.
Then, the fun began!
Our second Director, Farhad Meher-Homji (Fred), saw the update and edited the image to include a likeness of him - but not in a strictly normal (or formal) way.
Fred- "I'm hurt that you left me out. Here is a better photo...don't ever forget me again. EVER!"
Hilarity ensues. The two posts drew different likes, comments and feedback as they appealed in different ways. Obviously posting on your own feed only samples your friends but it can still help you understand what people like or don't really care about.
We've mentioned the idea of "engagement" already. This is the ultimate source of approval because it involves the most effort. Sometimes engaging can be as simple as a sign up, but at other times it can be more involved.
Learning the Harlem Shake
Take the Harlem Shake craze for instance, where tens to hundreds of people need to use a coordinated group effort in order to create a video. Why do we keep watching these videos and why would anyone bother to go ahead and produce their own version? There is a great article at TechCrunch that explains the "science" behind the phenomenon.
Of course, all these videos are really a form of engagement. For those creating the videos there is a format (a 28-second video with half the time spent showing solo dancers, and half spent showing a group effort). This makes it easier to replicate and there are boundaries for creating, so people know what to expect. Likewise, the viewers know what they're watching won't last more than about 30 seconds so they don't mind clicking on yet another video.
This type of viral video is really a kind of "social currency." It lets a consumer say to their network of friends: hey, I’m cool; I’m part of the here-and-now. People love that - they love the validation that stems from being able exchange social currency, because it makes them feel connected. The more you are able to enamour your content with social currency, the more they will spread like wildfire. This is the secret sauce that makes content contagious!
Want this concept to work for you so that your content can go viral? Put some thought into what people are looking for. Use your Facebook stream to research this more. When thinking about what to push to your awaiting audience, remember that it needs to engage them on their terms. Making it concise, easy to partake in, and interesting is always helpful.
Of course, if you can find a way to work-in an Eighties movie monster, that works too, going on our experience!