Like any external agency, it’s important for us to manage our clients’ expectations and goals when it comes to social media. Almost all social media marketers have been asked by clients to “make us go viral!” more than once. But the truth is this: as much as we wish there was a magic “go viral” button on every social platform, there isn’t one. You can never guarantee the results of a social media campaign.
It’s easy to understand why people would want to know the formula for viral success. It seems like the ultimate victory–engagement feeding engagement in an endless loop, rapidly expanding your audience and delivering your message left and right.
There is no formula for viral success, however, and besides–viral social media posts don’t necessarily mean dollars spent, or behavior changed. Instead of focusing all your attention on your dream end result of a social media campaign, it’s best to focus your efforts on the tactic itself. Here are a few things to consider as you make your brand’s social media strategy bulletproof.
- Create compelling content. No matter how much money you spend on boosting posts, successful social media marketing is impossible without strong content. If you focus too much on creating “viral” content, you could come off as inauthentic and miss the mark. Instead, aim to create powerful content. Your audience needs to feel compelled enough by your content to say “wow, my friends and family have to see this.”
- Timing is everything. Social Media Marketing 101: Don’t publish your promotional Instagram post in the middle of the night. Kidding, mostly–that’s common sense. But strategic timing goes beyond hours of the day; it can apply to days and even months. Sprout Social has an entire guide to strategic timing for various social platforms. Do your research!
- Boost posts to maximize reach. For a small amount of money, boosting posts allows you to select your specific target audience based on location, age, interests and more. Not only does this widen the reach of your post, but it ensures that your post is reaching the people who will care about it most.
- Let your audience do the work. Engaging with your audience, i.e. commenting on Instagram posts or favoriting tweets, is great. However, giving users the opportunity to create their own content and share it is A) cost-efficient, and B) an easy way to grow your audience. Not only does this humanize your content, but it gives it autonomy and room to grow. Exhibit A: The Straight-Outta-Compton campaign.
- Leverage influencers to do the heavy lifting. We call social media stars “influencers” because their network is large enough that they can influence social media trends and audiences. You can make your message go farther by extending your own audience with a few key partnerships.
Remember, “going viral” and achieving lasting success don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. Viral content is often fleeting, while a thoughtful, long-term strategy of compelling content and person-to-person engagement ensures audience growth and brand recognition. Those are much more valuable in the long run, and you might not get it from a viral moment.
Of course, it’s not impossible to go viral… just ask the “Charlie Bit My Finger” kid. Sometimes, the stars align and a well-constructed strategy for social growth works with a moment in time to make your social media post, video or article wildly successful on the web. If your brand is looking for realistic steps towards long-term social media success, however, the best place to start is a strong, educated strategy.
Don’t know where to start? We can help you there. Reach out to Fire Bee today to learn more about our work in the social media space.
(But, really, it would be pretty cool if someone invented a “go viral” button. Someone get on that ASAP.)