As more and more social platforms gain traction and more people are using social media than ever before, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out on social media. How do you make your YouTube video stand out among the 6,000 days' worth of video content that are uploaded each and every day? How do you make a Facebook post catch people's eyes among the nearly 5 billion pieces of content or make a splash with just 140 characters among 500 million tweets? Despite this enormous amount of online media, it is very possible to create viral social media content in 2015. Real-life people are the driving force behind online, and connecting with people is the key to implementing wildly successful online marketing campaigns. Here are some important points to keep in mind when designing your next social media marketing plan.
People like to feel. Whether it is humor, awe, or heartbreak, it works to appeal to emotions. If it makes you and your best friend laugh or cry, there is a good chance it will have the same effect on others. Take for example GoPro's video uploaded to YouTube of a firefighter rescuing a kitten. The drama, suspense, heartbreak, and ultimate cuteness combine to tug on the emotions of millions in a very successful advertisement for GoPro.
People like their 15 minutes of fame. Many people are more likely to share your content if it will bring some benefit to them. Whether it is a photo contest on Instagram or sponsoring a selfie contest on Facebook, develop your campaigns in a way that encourages participation by offering people their 15 minutes of fame on social media. Make sure you encourage people to use a specific hashtag that is catchy and unique to help your content trend. This was a key element in the popular #IceBucketChallenge for ALS, which saw over 1 million videos posted to Facebook in a two-month period.
People like to be a part of something bigger than them. Encourage those in your community and your circles to participate. If you are a business, start with your employees. Have them reach out to their family and friends on social media. The more that people see others participating, the more likely they are to get involved. Another great way is to get other businesses involved and cross-promote. See if there is a way that you can partner together for strength in numbers. You often see this on a large scale, such as the relationship between Pepsi and the NFL, or Dr. Pepper and college football. Another benefit is that partners may be able and willing to donate contest prizes in exchange for exposure.
People like to connect during the holidays. The holidays are a great opportunity to see increases in your social media reach. Social media engagement goes up around these times, as people use their social media accounts to send well wishes to friends and family. Savvy marketing ideas such as Nestle Coffee-Mate's Valentine's campaign during the holidays can lead to winning results.
People like learning about themselves. Personality quizzes are always a big hit. From "Which Food Matches Your Personality" to "Which Disney Princess Are You," BuzzFeed has mastered the art of creating personality quizzes that are taken and shared on social media by millions of people. Heinz successfully used this formula to create a "Which Bean Are You?" quiz for their Five Beanz product launch. Develop a fun and quirky personality quiz to go with your product and you could see your customer engagement skyrocket.
People like free things. The more that you can offer to potential customers, the more likely they are to be actively engaged. Sweepstakes where additional entries can be gained by sharing posts with friends and tweeting to followers helps a campaign gain traction. There are many tools available, such as WooBox or Rafflecopter, that help to run this type of sweepstakes.
People like to feel good about themselves. Some of the most successful social media campaigns give people an easy opportunity to make a difference and feel good about the difference they are making. Another key aspect of what makes campaigns such as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge so successful is that it is supporting a good cause. If you can create a way for people to give back or pay it forward, this is never a bad idea.
A bit of luck is often a factor in deciding what content goes viral and what doesn't, but keep these concepts in mind as your create your online marketing strategies for 2015, and you could be on your way to going viral.
Author: Mike Nay
Position: Social Media Account Manager, Blogger
Mike Nay graduated with a bachelor's degree in English and an art minor from Tulane University. At Business Promotion, Mike obsessively stays up to date with the latest trends in social media and writes informative and engaging blogs. Outside of work, Mike is commonly classified as a hipster when he is playing disc golf, listening to old vinyl records, and glassblowing.