How to Use Viral Marketing to Obtain Viral Success

When Ellen’s tweet went viral in 2014, it became one of the timeless examples of viral content.

Ellen DeGeneres Tweet

Image credit: Ellen DeGeneres

Not only did it get over 3 million retweets and over 2 million likes, but it was also picked up by big corporations and small companies that recreated the idea.

Ellen DeGeneres Tweet Simpsons

Social media definitely made it easier for brands to go viral. It allows the high speed of content distribution and offers all the tools for a brand to create viral content.

But is making a post on social media enough to go viral?


How Does Content Go Viral?

You can have a lot of ideas for viral content. However, having a good idea is not enough for obtaining viral success.

In reality, a lot of work goes into creating content that will potentially go viral. This includes taking into account the characteristics that constitute viral content. Among these characteristics, the three most distinctive are:

  • Emotional Appeal. Viral content appeals to certain emotions. However, it would be false to say that these emotions are only positive. Over the years, we’ve seen many examples of viral content that provoked negativity. But since you are interested in boosting engagement and brand recognition, your viral content should be focused positivity.
  • Relatability and Value. Viral content relates to what is currently trending in the world. Apart from that, it delivers certain value to people, which prompts them to spread it.
  • This feature presupposes that viral content should be easy to share and spread, and the absence of this characteristic impacts the virality of the content.

So, how do you create content that combines all these characteristics? How do you use viral marketing to obtain viral success?


Let’s take a look.

  1. What’s Trending?

Before you start the content production process, you need to check out what’s currently trending on social media. One of the ways to track trends is by following hashtags.

These trends differ in nature and depend on the platform.

For instance, on Twitter, you’ll find trends divided into categories, such as location, news, industry, etc.

list of trending hashtags

On Instagram, however, you’d find a different list of trending hashtags, which also gets updated several times a day.

How does incorporating trending hashtags help you obtain viral success?

Several years ago, when launching their first marketing campaign, Flatfy, an international real estate company, was looking for trending hashtags that would work well for targeting their niche audience.

The choice fell between two hashtags – #startup and #bootstrap, which they wanted to use in their Twitter strategy to help the company go viral. To help them select a more trending hashtag, the company analyzed the performance of both hashtags.





The performance of the first hashtag has shown that even though its monthly and weekly popularity has decreased, its overall popularity is higher than the popularity of the second hashtag.

Consequently, the choice of the right hashtag helped Flatfy generate quality leads and boost engagement rates by 40% after their initial viral marketing campaign launched. Thus, the following trends can help even the smallest startup get noticed and go viral. Of course, a lot also depends on the type of content you choose for your viral marketing campaign.


  1. Choose Content that Sells Like Hot Cakes

What does your target audience want to see? Which content would they want to share?

Today, there are certain trends in content marketing that give you a hint, which content internet users prefer.

As of now, there are two types of content that have a high level of virality:

  • This content is universal and usually delivers high engagement rates. According to Oberlo, 85% of all internet users in the U.S. watch online videos on their devices every month, and 54% of consumers want to see more video content online. Thus, video content will remain popular and will preserve its potential to go viral.
  • Interactive content. This content type a great potential for personalization, and thus, can boost engagement rates. This content is also a perfect addition to your content marketing routine. 91% of consumers say they prefer interactive and visual content to static content. So, surprising your audience with interactive content can potentially help you go viral.

Remember that your choice of content type should be connected to the trends that you want to follow in your viral marketing campaign. These trends should be incorporated seamlessly in your viral marketing campaign, and should also be in line with the values that your brand represents.


  1. Target Your Audience at the Right Time

The last point that impacts the virality of your content is when you post it.

All social media platforms have the Analytics tab that contains this information. On Facebook, for instance, you can get the audience activity graph to see the time spans when your followers check the content you’ve posted.

Facebook Audience

There can be several time spans when your audience is most active, and if so, you should observe your audience’s activity for several days to determine a single time span when they will be more likely to spread your viral content.


Analyze, Analyze, Analyze!

As you can see, simply posting good content is not enough for it to go viral. Preparing a viral marketing campaign requires a lot of research and data analysis to make sure that you reach as many people as possible and produce the content that they will be interested in sharing.

Have you used viral marketing for your brand? What strategies did you use? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a content editor and internet researcher, you can check his website. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.

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