How-To Guide: Social Viral Content

July 23rd, 2021

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Brands’ content going viral is almost never an accident. It takes research, quality content, and a detailed plan for when to post. You may say that it has become a new form of art, challenging to master.

Here is a How-To Guide to creating content that will go viral and tips of things to keep in mind when designing a viral marketing strategy.

If you have any questions, our team is full of experts.

Metcalfe’s Law 

Let’s start strong. I just put on my legally blonde wig, and I’m ready to talk to you about Metcalfe’s law (even though it’s not actually related to anything legal).

Interestingly enough, Metcalfe’s Law is essential to consider when designing a strategy and the content for your next, wannabe viral post. 

The law states that the value of a network is directly proportional to the square number of connected users.

In other words, every time a user joins your network, it increases the value and reaches of that network exponentially. Therefore, you need to understand the effects of creating a solid network in order to go viral. Basically, the stronger your network and more users you have, the higher the likelihood your content will be shared enough to reach beyond your current following.

So while the below tips apply to your content, please keep in mind that you should still be posting consistently and strengthening your network. Both actions will support your goal of going viral. You could create the best piece of content in the world, but without proper preparation, you decrease your own chances of expanding your reach.

Let’s move on to key tips for designing viral social content.

Viral content building blocks

I’m gonna to be honest with you: Creating viral content is difficult. Still, as long as you’re prepared to work hard and pay attention to the details, it’s within your brand’s potential to succeed at this goal.

When asking yourself the following questions about your content, I want you to consider all of these traits as building blocks meant to be combined. One standalone quality is not enough to guarantee virality.

Is it worthy of being shared? 

Look at your content and ask yourself the hard question: Does your content provide any value? Listen, I know you probably spent a lot of time creating and designing content for your brand. But that does not necessarily mean that a pretty picture and a few witty words will propel your content outside your already established network.

Content needs to be shareable. That means it has to solve a particular problem, enhance the consumer’s life in some way, or generally motivate people to pass along the message to other people in their networks.

Offer content that will make people look good when they share it. Everyone is building a presence on social media.

Does it evoke emotion?

It has been proven that content that produces positive emotions like wonder, awe, and surprise is much more likely to be shared than content creating negative emotions like anger and sadness.

However, with that being said, content that evokes any emotion at all is more likely to be successful than emotionless content. The stronger the feeling, the more excitement your content is expected to generate in the social space. Anger-inducing content is still more likely to be shared than sad content, as anger typically produces greater emotional activation.

Jonah Berger identifies six primary emotions evoked by viral content: surprise, anger, awe, joy, fear/anxiety, and lust. You can’t play it safe when creating content that is looking to encourage a reaction.

Of course, don’t forget that surprising and practically useful content is also more likely to go viral. Therefore you should be factoring in the emotionality of your content, not considering it as a separate concept altogether.

Is there a sense of urgency? 

Invoking a sense of urgency with your content is critical. It inspires people to move forward immediately and also induces FOMO (fear of missing out). For example, you can stress the scarcity of your product, something limited edition. Also, add deadlines to discount codes or the ability to join a waitlist to get first access to your product.

It is classic supply and demand. By enforcing the idea that your product and service is highly sought after, yet comes in a limited quantity, you can drive a lot of conversions based on the FOMO.

Why do people share content?

Many of the reasons we share content are driven by psychology and how we want to present ourselves to others on social media. Here are a few examples:

  1. To enrich the lives of others in our networks
  2. To reinforce our social image to others
  3. To grow and nourish our relationships
  4. To make us feel valuable 
  5. To get the word out about a social cause we relate to

Knowing this information allows you to create content with a specific goal in mind of how you want it to be received by people. For example, do you want them to share your content because it makes them feel good? Because it supports a cause? Will it put a smile on everyone’s face?

Appeal to customer’s motivation to connect with each other, rather than simply connecting with your brand.

It’s not for everyone, and that’s ok 

What you should be taking away from this How-To guide is this.

If you want your content to reach as many people as possible, there are specific things you can do to increase your chances of success. However, it can be difficult to check every box with each piece of content you produce, particularly all those involved in a campaign.

If you want to guarantee success, look at bringing on viral marketing campaign specialists.

Creating viral content is complicated and can be time-consuming. Particularly in newer brands, it is difficult to invest the proper amount of money to develop quality content with only a chance that it will go viral.

Luckily, that is where we come in. At Nowadays, we can GUARANTEE that campaigns we design for your brand will go viral. No bullshit. We are masters of evoking emotion in social conversation. Our proprietary Social Scripting™ process is a megaphone for your message, getting the right content on the right page, at the right time, to make you go viral. 

We can give your brand a voice in a crowded space. So shoot us a message when you think you are ready for us.



What is Metcalfe’s Law? | Techopedia

The Secret to Online Success: What Makes Content Go Viral | Scientific American

Psychology of Sharing | NYT