How to go viral on social media in 8 Effective Steps

January 26, 2022

Social media has become a battleground for influencers, marketers, content creators, and business owners. 93% of marketers use social media to promote their businesses and strategize the various ways to go viral.  

Every day, approximately 4.75 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook, and 144,000 videos are published on YouTube. Every year, 5.3 trillion display ads are on the internet. 

However, only hundreds of thousands of content go viral each year. Publishing content regularly is not enough to win the battle. You'll need efficient approaches to get people to interact with your content and share it with others.

In this article, we’ll explain the steps to help you figure out how to go viral on social media.

What is viral content?

Social media platforms. Image:

Viral content refers to the material (an article, an image, or a video) that achieves a high level of exposure on social media and becomes a point of talk during a particular period. The content rapidly and widely spreads because people keep sharing it.

Some video ads have generated millions of views in a short time. They became the example of viral marketing.

For example, LG released a touching video telling about a single mom and her daughter who wanted to chase her dream to be an astronaut. It became the most popular video in 2017, with more than 100 million views. 

Another example would be Nike. In just a week, Nike got 6 million views for a video that portrayed gender stereotypes. When Nike released a video talking about gender equality, it went viral again. 

Besides getting thousands of views, people acknowledge the video as their inspiration. These videos can be your source of ideas on how to make your content go viral.   

How to Make Social Media Content Go Viral in 8 Easy Steps

Social media illustration. Image: stockvault

Luck is not the only thing to make your content get tons of traffic. You also need to create a formula when creating your content plan. 

While there aren’t fixed recipes to guarantee your content will go viral, you can improve your chances by following these basic outlines.

1. Set Your Target Audience

Determining your audience is the foundation before you go further for other aspects. A viral campaign begins with one marketing persona. 

Ardath Albee, A B2B marketing strategist, said a marketing persona is a composite sketch of a critical segment of your audience. 

Once you create a marketing persona, you can get your target customers, demographics, psychographic information, social media behavior, and content preferences.

Nike, for example, has nailed in marketing strategy because they know their target audience. They tried to grab women's attention by addressing the gender equality issue. 

They talked about body image, women's careers in sports, and other discussions. Those topics were relatable for the audience. After watching the campaign, women got encouragement and felt supported. 

Then, they shared the content, and it spread like wildfire.

2. Use Solid Emotional Drivers

Based on research done by Jonah Berger dan Katherine L. Milkman, emotion shaped social transmission. They said that virality was partly driven by physiological arousal. 

Viral Content mostly evoked a positive message than a negative vibe. In addition, Thales S. Teixeria, the co-founder of digital disruption consultancy, noted that building an emotional roller coaster would make viewers engaged with your content. 

He suggested creating content that would make people experience ups and downs emotion.

To help you know more about human emotions, Robert Plutchick, a psychologist and researcher, categorized eight primary emotions. They are arranged as opposing pairs, such as:

  • Joy vs. Sadness
  • Trust vs. Disgust
  • Fear vs. Anger
  • Surprise vs. Anticipation

LG's astronaut video had a similar concept. Though it was not long-form content, its engagement was excellent. 

While watching the video, there was a mixing of feelings. It portrayed sadness, fear, and joy. Viewers engaged with the video because they felt the emotion, and the story could happen in real life. 

Moreover, a story about scarification to chase a dream was relatable almost for everyone and built an emotional connection. 

Social media marketers can do the same by combining appealing visual content and words to create viral content.

3. Create User-Generated Content

User engagement is the key to creating a viral marketing campaign. You can try user-generated content to boost your brand. 

With this strategy, you won't work alone. People will help you to share and widely spread the content. Once their friends start seeing your content all over the social media platforms, they will join the trend. 

You can begin the campaign by publishing funny videos and memes. Interestingly, about 80% of people said user-generated content affects purchasing decisions.

4. Collaborate with Influencers

Some content became viral after social media influencers published certain content on their personal account. You can request content from influencers or let them make content independently. 

It is a great chance to introduce your brand to a broader audience. To start the collaboration, you can share their content, tag their account, and like their content related to you.

Though this step does not guarantee your content to go viral, it is effective enough to add the number of your viewers and new customers. People will start noticing your content, and there is a chance to be viral.

5. Upload Share-Worthy Content

Instagram post. Image: The verge

Almost 25.8% of internet users blocked ads on their mobile and computer. 70% of people said they prefer valuable content to advertise because they wanted to get informed. 

Camilla Hallstrom, a content marketing consultant, said worth-sharing content would give you more chances to go viral. She added that people were more likely to share something that made them feel something. 

When you can provide valuable content, they will share it immediately. More than that, users will engage more with authentic content. That's why you need a good understanding of your audience because you can look for topics that they want to know and share.

Read on to know about types of content that get the most engagement and more chance to go viral:

  • How-to Content
  • Human stories
  • Infographics
  • Top posts
  • Case Studies
  • Lists

6. Use Unique Visual Content

Visual is one of the key things to creating high-quality content to impress internet users. According to Buzzsumo, posts with images got more shares. In comparison, videos are the type of content that makes people interested. 

If you are not a pro on video editing, you will still have a chance to create viral content on a social media platform. 

You can use Meme Maker from Offeo to impress your potential customers. On another day, you can use Animation Maker to produce high-quality content. Once you are done creating

7. Make A Compelling Call-To-Action

Your content will not be perfect without a compelling call to action (CTA). You can ask your target audience to create an account, sign a petition, see your sale, visit certain products, and many more. 

There are a few types of CTA you can use on your content:

  • A button
  • A clickable image
  • A link

A compelling CTA should be short yet convincing so people will follow your instruction. Clear and instructive verbs are great to compel people. You can also put urgency.

8. Use Social Media Analytics To Measure Performance

Go to your social media accounts to measure performance. It will help see whether your content has reached your target costumes. Analytics tools also provide information about engagement rate, demographics, the best time to share content, and many more. 

However, a digital marketing expert, Tyan Bonnici, suggested that marketers did not measure performance by social media channels. He recommended using content type to measure marketing performance because bad content would perform poorly even if it were on the best performing channel.


Creating viral content is a bit tricky. Yet, you can try using all the tricks for your blog post or content on the social media platform. 

As a bonus tip, consider using cross-posting because we never know in which platform our content will get more audiences. In addition, cross-posting is a time-saving way if you want to make all your social media account look active.

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