I did it. After about a dozen or so memes, articles, and other perfectly (or at least in my opinion) rich content posted on my Facebook Page, I finally was able to make one of my posts go viral. First and foremost, let’s address the term “viral.” This buzzword is thrown around all the time. “Let’s go viral,” “if we go viral, we could be famous.” No. Going viral does not guarantee instant fame, or even a dance in the limelight. Let’s examine the photo below, which I shared from my fanpage.
Take a look at the numbers. Over 1,176 shares, 2,936likes, and 228 comments (I had been deleting comments for the first 500 likes or so, but changed my mind after realizing something important discussed later in the article). As you can see, the photo was posted on Monday. This post is being written on Wednesday, April 25th, just two days later. Keep in mind, as I am writing this, the number of likes, shares, and comments is only increasing, as more and more people view the story in their newsfeed. ***Photo has been taken down***
But enough talk about the numbers, let’s get into how I did it. First and foremost, to go viral, you need to have a loyal fanbase. My page currently has 2,800ish likes, a fairly large amount. Yet even with all these likes, getting fans to like, comment, or share content has been a struggle. However, to get the posts shared and to hopefully “go viral” the most important people are those that have no idea who you are, what you do, or that your particular business, music, or social cause is even in existence. Yes, the people most important to this photo being recirculated, are friends of fans.
Here’s how it worked. On Monday, after fighting and making up with my girlfriend, I StumbledUpon an image of an elderly couple with a touching caption. I thought, what the hell, I’ve never seen this before, and its relevant, so I posted it on the fanpage. Here we see step one to going viral: Post meaningful content. If you are consistently perfunctorily posting content that is meaningless to you, guess what? It will meaningless to your fans as well.
Step two in my how I went viral process was simple. I asked fans to share the photo. Simple as it sounds, it is important to ask something of your fans. As the saying goes, “ask and you shall receive.” I started by asking for 5 shares. “This photo really spoke to me, lets try to get five shares?” was all I asked. Sure enough, my cries were answered, and several shares developed within the first hour of posting.
At this point, you can stop. Once you have had between 5-10 shares of the article, sit back, and keep your fingers crossed. Introducing step 3 to going viral: count on friends of fans sharing and reposting your content. Now referencing the below figure:
As you can see from the graph, there is a sharp peak in the “People Reached” statistic. This all has to do with the “friends of fans” notion. I have 2,800 likes on Facebook, and from those fans, there are potentially 620,000 people that I could reach if hypothetically each fan shared my content. In my case, 5 fans shared content, which most likely reached between 4,000-5,000 people (assume each fan had 800-1000 friends). From these thousands of people reached, all you need is one or two to share the content, which then gets exposed to all their friends. See the domino effect? Then, shares aside, each time someone likes or comments on the content, your exposure goes up, which I realized quickly and stopped deleting comments. Once these chains of events are set in motion, the content has the chance to go viral, and as you can see my post reached a whopping 126,525 people.
So let’s recap the steps:
1)Post meaningful content.
2)“Ask and you shall receive”- Ask for fans to share content
3)Count on friends of fans sharing and reposting your content
Now, this is not a guarantee to get your content out there, but rather what worked for me through trial and error. Your social media is not always going to be a homerun, but keeping these steps in mind, you can certainly get a single, double or triple so to speak. But the next question is, how effective is viral marketing?
In the case of a video or advertisement, viral marketing is as good as it gets. You reach massive amounts of people, and your company or product is being viewed by thousands or even millions. But what about me? An independent artist looking to get the music out there, sharing a creative article, or funny meme? I have to say, it was somewhat effective. Of the 1,141 likes (now at 1,176 at this point in time) I received only 100 new likes on my fanpage.
Truth is, I have no idea why, out of the masses, so little people liked the page, however 100 new likes, along with 200 new music downloads isn’t anything too scoff at. Perhaps its the facebook page’s security settings, which allows any user to comment on a post without liking the page (there is no way to change this). Maybe its just Facebook Users are extremely selective to who and what they like on Facebook, privy to the fact that many employers view your Facebook data very closely, and might interpret you decision to like “Wiz Khalifa” the wrong way. Or, maybe there is simply a better way to solicit likes from your viral content, be that tagging, or security settings, that I have yet to discover. One thing for certain is this: I plan to keep working with social media to crack this code.
Stay thirsty my friends,
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