Cracking the Code: Can Virality be Predicted and Planned in Marketing?

Look, unfortunately, there's no guaranteed formula for virality, but there are certain things that have been linked to the likelihood of content going viral. These include emotional connection, stickiness, surprise, practical value, and social currency.

Have you ever wondered why some campaigns go viral while others seem to fall flat? In today’s digital age, achieving viral status has become the holy grail of marketing. But is it possible to crack the code and predict the virality of a campaign? Can you actually plan for a strategy that guarantees widespread sharing and exponential reach? These questions have been the subject of much debate among marketers and experts in recent years. With the ever-increasing power of social media platforms and the constant evolution of consumer behaviour, understanding and harnessing the potential of viral marketing has become more crucial than ever.

So let’s get into it…can we plan for overnight success? Or is it even something we should be aiming for at all?!

What is Viral Marketing?

Let’s Get Specific

Viral marketing is a strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s visibility and effect. It’s like a digital word-of-mouth that spreads incredibly quickly.

But is Viral Marketing Even That Important?

Information overload is a common issue, so standing out in a very noisy room is paramount. Creating viral content can elevate your brand’s visibility and reputation overnight, so it’s understandable why so many businesses are considering virality as part of their social media strategy.

Can Virality be Predicted?

What Factors Make Something Go Viral?

Look, unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed formula for virality, but there are certain things that have been linked to the likelihood of content going viral. These include emotional connection, stickiness, surprise, practical value, and social currency.

The Role of Emotions in Creating Viral Content

Content that evokes strong emotions, whether positive or negative, is more likely to be shared. This is because emotions drive our actions, including the decision to share content with others. But, with great power comes great responsibility – and not all emotional reactions are pleasant. So, we all have a moral obligation to use our powers for good!

Spill the Tea With Some Examples of Viral Campaigns

Take the example of ‘Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches‘ campaign. By tapping into the universal experience of self-esteem, Dove created a powerful emotional connection that led to the campaign becoming the most-watched online ad in history.

Planning for Virality in Your Marketing Strategy

Incorporating Shareability into Your Content

To increase the chances of your content becoming viral, it needs to be easily shareable. Make sure it provides value, evokes emotions, and encourages social engagement.

Be honest. Would you tell a friend or colleague about the piece of content you’re working on?

Leveraging Social Media Platforms for Maximum Exposure

Choosing the right platform for your content is also critical. You need to know where your target audience spends the most time and tailor your strategy accordingly. What works well on one platform isn’t necessarily going to translate well to another, so pick your channel carefully and give it the momentum it needs with your focused attention.

Top Social Media Tip!

Keep an eye on TikTok. Even if it isn’t your channel of choice, what happens over there tends to be seen about 4 weeks later on Instagram, and 6+ weeks over on other channels, so you can get a head start on trends.

Bringing in the Big Guns: Influencers & Amplifying Your Message

Influencers can give your content the nudge it needs to go viral. Their reach and credibility can significantly amplify your message.

Always align yourself with influencers who overlap with your target audience and have relevant reach.

The Future of Viral Marketing

Trends to Watch in 2024

  • ❌ Selling is out
  • 🔥 Providing real, actionable value is in
  • ❌ High production costs are out
  • 🔥Relatable, lo-fi video is in
  • 🔥Longer form content is creeping in as TikTok & Instagram extend their video lengths

Conclusion: Unlocking the Potential of Viral Marketing for Your Business

So, can virality be predicted and planned?

My honest opinion is…maybe?! There’s absolutely no sure-fire way to plan for virality but understanding the key factors that contribute can help you orchestrate a more effective viral marketing strategy in 2024.

But, bear in mind that virality is generally a flash in the pan, and you might want to consider how you can plan for more meaningful, value-laden content that helps your audience achieve the things that mean the most to them.

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