Virality on social media – for dummies

Creating content on social media is an important factor in running a business. It isn’t hard to create any type of content, but having it reach a wider audience and becoming popular can be a problem. Studies even show that 46% of businesses find it challenging to create captivating content. The goal of most marketers is to have their content go viral across social networks. It’s a dream to have thousands of people viewing your content after all the hard work you put into it. We commonly hear about blog posts or videos that went viral, and it makes you wonder how it happens.

What is virality on social media?

Virality, or having viral content is material you post like articles, blog posts, videos or images that spread quickly online through website links and sharing on social media. The process usually happens overnight or within a couple of hours. It can happen for several reasons:

  • Content that appeals to users enough to make them share it
  • Usefulness of the material
  • Entertainment value
  • Artistic value
  • The help of social media influencers
  • Shock value
  • Originality of content

How to make viral content

There is no secret recipe on how to make your content blow up, but there are a lot of helpful tips that give you higher chances of going viral.

  1. Create useful content: content that is useful in a practical way has a greater chance of going viral. Most people look for solutions to their problems within your content. If they find it valuable, they will be more likely to share it with others which gives it a high chance of going viral. Make sure it’s well-written, understandable and informative.
  2. Evoke emotions: if your content evokes emotions like humour, awe, wonder or even sadness, it’s more likely to go viral. This is why visual content works so well – it catches peoples’ attention.
  3. Have something to offer: people always love giveaways, receiving coupons, contests or free gifts. Use this to your advantage!
  4. Positive content: this has to do with point number two – pieces of content that stimulate positive feelings tend to perform better. Humans naturally lean towards positivity and will be more willing to share something uplifting.
  5. Keep it short: the longer your posts, the quicker your audience will lose interest. People tend to have short attention spans when it comes to content on social media – short content is also more shareable.
  6. Use tools: don’t overlook tools that can help you with the process of creating content and gaining virality. Some examples are PayByShare (getting shares in exchange for access to a piece of content), Vyper (creating viral sweepstakes, interactive pop ups to make customers earn coupons, leaderboard giveaways, and content upgrades), Queue (rewarding your leads and customers, offering viral contests and giveaways), TrendSpottr (keeps you updated about the latest happenings around the web for specific topics or industries) and ViralSweep (instant win contests, email forms, commenting giveaways, hashtag entry campaigns, promoted campaigns via influencers on their platform).
  7. Have the audience engaged: having an impact on something makes users feel important and valuable which makes them more likely to share or repost your content.

What are the effects of viral marketing?

Viral marketing is very effective at generating traffic and leads. It creates curiosity, excitement and demand for products or services and is a quick way to market a website on social media. The whole process is similar to spreading a rumour: it’s passed on from person to person and reaches a broad audience. This creates interest not only around your product but also your brand in general.

Examples of viral marketing

Some social media profiles are known for their consistent viral content. Here are a few examples:


The rising cruelty-free makeup brand focuses on user-generated content on Instagram. They allow their target audience to engage with the brand which makes them feel important and included. Glossier also reposts complimentary tweets on their Instagram accounts which enables them to be shared even more. This only proves that engaging your customers and making them feel valid is essential for virality.


This restaurant finder app uses humour, positivity and pop culture references in their social media posts. It’s a simple and creative way to gain attention. It clearly works considering that their profile has over a million followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Coca Cola

Their creative campaigns are always a hit. One of them was adding over 150 personalised names to their bottles, which of course went viral. This resulted in sales of 250 million bottles and cans throughout the summer in Australia. This of course spread to other countries and created just as big of a buzz.  

Another viral content example from this brand is their Christmas campaign with the Coca Cola truck. It required users to vote on the city in which the truck should appear in comments under a Facebook post. Within four hours the post had over 500,000 comments. Engaging an audience and allowing them to decide or vote on something so exciting is always a successful social media method for virality.

coca cola content


oreo campaign

In 2013, Oreo tweeted something that has been considered by many in the industry as one of the best real-time marketing efforts to date. The tweet referred to the massive power outage during the Super Bowl. It quickly went viral and gained thousands of retweets. Something so simple created so much discussion by referring to a current event that everyone could relate to it.

National Geographic’s #PlanetOrPlastic Campaign

The magazine cover that went viral in June 2018 raises awareness to the harmful effects of plastic on our planet. The shape that looks like an iceberg is actually plastic. This definitely shocks the audience, considering how much this problem affects all of us and triggers emotional reactions. They even used a hashtag for their campaign that encouraged users to repost it.

natgeo ad

Virality with PayByShare

Having your posts go viral is a process that requires a lot of thought and effort put into the content. It might be impossible to achieve if you compare yourself to extremely influencing companies like Coca Cola or NatGeo, but having your own smaller campaign that is thought through can also bring you success. As mentioned above, it’s helpful to use tools for this purpose. PayByShare is a great tool for getting shares on social media (Twitter) in return for access to some piece of content. It requires minimal effort from the users’ side which is exactly what makes it so effective. If a user is interested in the content you have to offer all they need to do is share a tweet –  the process can’t be any more simple. This generates more leads for your brand and reaches more potential clients. The tool has a high success rate since it detects any fake accounts which have always been a problem for Twitter profiles. It will definitely be convincing if you try it out and see how many shares you can get by the simple mechanism of gated content. The more shares you get for your high-quality content, the bigger the chance it has at becoming viral.

paybyshare usage

Virality on social media isn’t as easy it seems. Try to see what type of content attracts the most interest and what is shareable for your target audience. After you discover what’s best for you, you can work your way up to consistently successful, viral content.

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