How To Go Viral On Social Media: 7 Things We Learned From 7 Accounts




The average person spends approximately 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media. This means that people are used to being exposed to a large amount of content every day.

To stand out, brands are constantly trying to become more visible and increase their brand awareness. And a great way to catch the eye of your target audience is through viral content. More specifically, what makes content go viral?

If becoming viral used to be like winning the internet lottery, nowadays it is more of a planned effort. So, in today’s article, we will analyze seven famous viral marketing campaigns. The goal is to find out more about how businesses can go viral on social media based on the example of these success stories.

What Is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is a promotion tactic that seeks to create content that can be shared quickly and widely across the web. Businesses that go viral create more brand awareness and reach a larger audience than usual. The purpose of this strategy is to determine as many people as possible to share a specific marketing message up to the point where almost everybody has seen it on their social media feed.

Even if going viral is mostly an organic and unplanned phenomenon, there are several ways brands can achieve social media fame. 

We have studied seven of the greatest social media marketing campaigns that went viral, and we have discovered some tips and tricks that will help you promote your business faster and easier than ever. 

Keep on reading to learn more about how to go viral on social media.

1. Add a Little Humor –  IKEA

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about viral social media content? Memes. And what makes memes universally likable? Humor.

The funny and relatable quality of memes makes them both entertaining and shareable; two characteristics that stand at the base of a viral post.

Humor is a great way for brands to humanize their approach and show a little more personality through their social media platforms. Moreover, a 2020 study showed that 58% of consumers want to see ads that make them laugh. And IKEA really knows how to do that.

While IKEA is mainly known for their affordable furniture, they are also recognized for their playful and witty social media content. Let’s take for example IKEA’s viral take on the 2021 Bernie Sanders meme.

What made it go viral:

  • It’s funny
  • It’s relevant
  • It’s simple and easy to understand
  • It’s tied to a well-known event

Three Tips for Humorous Social Media Posts

We have to mention that humor may not be appropriate for all businesses. Aspects such as business industry, general brand image, and target audience need to be considered before crafting a humorous post.

To show off your funny side safely and tastefully you need to:

  1. Avoid controversial topics – Funny content needs to be fun for everyone. Try to avoid topics that can offend your audience.
  2. Test your material on as many people as you can – This will help you find out if your post is funny and easy to understand.
  3. Stay away from old memes – Memes have a short life span. So make sure you only include relevant meme formats to avoid looking out of touch with internet culture.

2. Promote Meaningful Causes – Mentos

A simple but effective example of meaningful viral content is the following post shared by Mentos in support of LGBTQ+ rights. Back in 2015, the US Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the US, and Mentos was one of the first brands to show their public support of this decision.

This type of viral social media content is impactful because:

  • It spreads a positive message
  • It’s creative
  • It shares the values of the brand
  • It speaks about a highly known and debated topic

Brands that use their platforms to bring awareness about different causes they care about show people that they are more than a company looking for profit. It gives more meaning to a business while also connecting with the audience and their values.

3. Partner Up With Influencers – GT’s Living Food

Influencers are a new kind of celebrity. With platforms such as Youtube, Tiktok, and Instagram, you have a wide range of influencers for every target audience, including yours. 

Going viral is not just about creating the best content, it’s also about paying attention to opportunities that can boost your social media visibility. And what better way to go viral, than partnering up with famous content creators.

Does the term “kombucha girl” sound familiar to you? That’s right, we’re talking about this girl.

Well, in 2019, this Tiktok video where the creator Brittany Broski was testing a kombucha drink went viral. It became one of the most popular memes, and Brittany made a name for herself.

GT Dave, the founder, and CEO of GT’s Living Food (owning 40% of the U.S. kombucha market) didn’t waste time and partnered with Brittany to make a series of successful Youtube videos that would bring him and his company a newfound social media recognition.

GT Dave also received attention from Youtube influencers Cody Ko and Noel Miller. Their video about GT Dave surpassed 12 million views, and their collaboration video has almost 10 million views. 

Not only did GT Dave manage to raise awareness about his business, but he also found an online fanbase thanks to his influencer partnerships.

Why it went viral:

  • It was based around a viral video
  • It included popular social media influencers
  • It showed the fun and pleasant side of the business

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4. Start a Challenge – ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

We can’t talk about social media viral trends without talking about the ALS ice bucket challenge.

Founded by Pat Quinn and Pete Frates, this social media phenomenon raised $115 million for The ALS Association and over $220 million worldwide for ALS research. Furthermore, it significantly increased ALS awareness and improved health services for patients around the world.

During the summer of 2014, all social media feeds were full of videos of people doing the ice bucket challenge. More specifically, pouring cold water on themselves to bring awareness about the side effects of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. 

Every person that participated got to challenge their friends and family to do the challenge and donate to an ALS foundation.

People from around the world did the challenge and donated, including almost every celebrity on the planet, from Bill Gates to all our favorite Avengers.

Why it became viral:

  • It fought for a great cause
  • It was fun to do and watch
  • It had an interactive nature
  • It involved the most influential celebrities

5. Make a TikTok Account – Ryanair

TikTok is a social media platform that has a lot of power and influence. It seems like every other day there is a new product receiving a significant amount of hype, from makeup and skincare to clothes and even cleaning products, anything can become TikTok famous. “TikTok made me buy it” is already a phrase used by many of us. 

Going viral is not an uncommon phenomenon on TikTok. Due to its algorithm, it makes it easy for brands to not only find their target audience but also to expand their customer base. Musicians, doctors, streaming services, fashion brands are all benefiting from TikTok exposure. 

This social media platform doesn’t lack trends. Every other week there is a new and fun one that brands can use to become viral. And Ryanair knows how to make the most out of each one.

Ryanair has a very active TikTok presence. They constantly post content, understand trends, and use their popularity to raise more awareness about their brand. Their TikTok account has one million followers, 26 million likes, and most of their videos get millions of views.

Ryanair became TikTok famous by:

  • Following trends
  • Understanding TikTok culture
  • Posting constantly
  • Sharing engaging content

6. Be Unique – World Record Egg

Do you remember that time an egg went viral? 

A unique and simple idea took the internet by storm and broke the record for the most-liked Instagram post (55 million likes), surpassing Kylie Jenner’s post that had 18 million likes.

The random choice of an egg picture and the goal of breaking a world record brought the internet together and made social media history.

It’s so simple that it’s genius. #EggGang

Why it went viral:

  • It’s unique
  • It’s engaging
  • It’s funny
  • It has an ambitious goal (breaking a record)

7. Include User-Generated Content – Apple

Organic is better, and we are not talking about food. Viral marketing campaigns don’t have to be expensive, as Apple perfectly proved through the #ShotOniPhone campaign.

The campaign encouraged users to post photos taken with their iPhones for the chance of having their image featured on one of the 10,000 billboards across the world. The hashtag #ShotOniPhone had more than 21 million entries on Instagram. 

Besides being financially smart, the campaign brought a massive amount of exposure and engagement while promoting the quality of the iPhone camera.

Why it went viral:

  • It engages the audience
  • It involves a prize
  • It uses branded hashtags for visibility

Final Thoughts

While you can’t control if a post will go viral, you can always try your best. At the end of the day, all seven tips will at least improve the performance of your social media content. 

What truly matters is to create quality content, be consistent and engage with your audience. It’s your hard work and dedication that will pay off in the long run.

So, get ready to channel your creative side and play with some witty ideas. Don’t forget, if an egg went viral, you can do it too.

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