When clients ask us how they can go viral on social media, we like to ask if they’ve had any other viral successes already. If they have, that gives us a great base to build upon, allowing us to learn what made that content work and iterate off of it. But what if you haven’t seen any viral success yet? Then what do you do? How do you build that process to ensure you’re able to create content that resonates with the masses?
Your first step is to do your research. Find references in your space that are successful. Then, imitate their format as precisely as possible. One of the biggest mistakes newer content creators make is they try to be original. When it comes to going viral, originality is not your friend. You want to understand the language of social media first, getting a sense of what is actually working with the audience, before you go off and try to reinvent the wheel.
You don’t even have to post these initial attempts. What’s more important is that you compare your piece of content with the reference you chose. After analyzing them both side by side, be brutally honest—was yours as good (or maybe even better!) than the reference? If it wasn’t, no need to beat yourself up—but you should take note of where you fell short, and focus on improving those aspects for your next piece of content.
Is this process time-consuming and occasionally annoying? Absolutely. But this is the best way to understand not only what’s working, but why it’s working. And once you understand why a certain format has the potential to go viral, then you can fine-tune and adjust things to make your great format even better. But without this process, you’ll just be making essentially random changes with no methodology behind them.
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