With over one billion people on Facebook, it has become a great opportunity for companies who want to market themselves and expand their audience. Getting shares, likes and interactions has become increasingly more important as consumers increasingly rely on social media to inform their buying decisions. “Going viral” has become the pinnacle of social media marketing and a goal everyone hopes to accomplish, though few achieve.

Even though many marketers have their hearts set on going viral, in reality there’s no tried-and-true formula that can guarantee success. On the other hand, there are social media strategies that can improve your chances. Many different circumstances, for example, can dictate whether a post goes viral, such as the timeliness of your content, popular trends that rise almost as quickly as they fall, and the quality of the content that is produced.

Here are three tips to give your Facebook content a fighting chance to go viral and reach tens or even hundreds of thousands of viewers. Just remember: these tips are not a magic bullet or a guaranteed way to produce viral content. Rather, they are designed to give you a fighting chance.

Tip 1: Produce Newsworthy and Timely Posts 

Creating posts that are timely and newsworthy is a good way to start getting more clicks on your media. Being able to stay on top of current events and identify what the next trending subject may be can help you receive more views than other posts might. Agorapulse has a whole section on the importance of “Newsjacking” as they put it, and how it can help you to pass through the ebbs and flows of what’s trending on Social Media.

Aaron Lee, a writer for Post Planner, also talks about timing being one of the most important aspects of helping your content go viral. Facebook provides several helpful tools to help you analyze when your viewers are looking at your page most, and what kind of content they are clicking on, sharing, and liking. This can help you to understand what time of day your followers are most active so you can plan when you want your posts hitting the news feeds of your followers.

Knowing about the way Facebook’s News Feed works can help you to manage these posts as well. Time.com produced a really good article that can help you to navigate the algorithms of Facebook and help you to reach more people.

Tip 2: Make Your Posts about People

People want to see other people and hear their stories. We all want to feel connected to what we are reading and seeing on our news feeds, and that is much easier to do when you can attach a face to your posts. Evoking emotions in your audience can help your posts become more popular, perhaps even helping them go viral.

Think back on the ALS Ice Bucket challenge; why was that so successful? That single Facebook campaign increased the donations to the ALSA by 3,400 percent. What was the difference between that campaign and the many others that achieved only a fraction of the reach?

Well, there are many different factors: luck, timing, and a host of other variables. But one of the most important was the ability the challenge had to engage people and bring them together. It was a fun way for people to connect with their friends and family on Facebook. It allowed each person to create their own story and interact with their friends in their own way.

Video was also a big reason the Ice Bucket Challenge was so successful. Videos in people’s news feeds have increased by 75 percent year over year, according to Hubspot. The importance of visuals, especially visuals of people, is evident in this statistic. Creating emotionally charged and visually appealing content starring people will seriously increase your company’s chances of producing viral content.

Tip 3: Have a Strong Call-to-Action

Although this may seem simplistic, simply asking your fans to share, post, or like things on Facebook can help your content get more engagement than a lot of other things. Having fun competitions or asking your audience to post pictures of themselves doing something fun and using a specific hashtag can help you to generate movement in what might be an otherwise boring or stagnant post.

Looking at the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge again as an example, we see that the ALSA was able to generate movement and quickly gain momentum behind their campaign. Asking participants to get a bucket of ice water, dump it on themselves and record a video of it quickly led viewers to try and one-up their friends and think of more creative ideas of how they could dump ice water on their heads. It created competition between friends and family members and also helped create awareness for the cause. They were also encouraged to call out friends or family members to keep the chain going.

In short, was the ice bucket challenge lucky? Yes. Could they really have anticipated the scope of how far this challenge was going to go? No. But they did set themselves up for success by having a simple, effective call to action that was fun and would engage viewers to do something.

Having a call to action may be one of the most important ways you can set your post up for success, and put it in a place where it could go viral.

Capturing Lightning in a Bottle

Creating viral content on Facebook is incredibly difficult, but entirely possible even for brands that aren’t a household name. If you only get a few things out of this post, remember these four points:

  1. You cannot produce viral content 100% of the time. There are too many variables out of your control, but there are also things you can do to set yourself up for success.
  2. Knowing what is going on in the world is key. If you can use current events to draw attention to your company’s Facebook page, do it.
  3. People like seeing other people in posts. It helps them to connect with the company or business on a personal level.
  4. Have a strong, yet simple, call to action in your posts. This will help your posts catch fire in the Facebook world.

In the end, there isn’t one magic bullet that will make your content go viral every time, but there are definitely steps you can take to put your Facebook content in the position to do so.

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director