Super Saturday SEO – What Makes Any Piece of Content Go Viral?

What exactly makes content go viral online? Most people think that it is luck that makes certain articles or videos more “sharable” on the Internet. But apparently, many experts believe that this is not exactly the case. After examining thousands of pieces of online content, as well as products and brands, social media experts claimed that there is logical or even scientific explanation as to why people choose to share some things rather than others.

So what compels people to share a particular video or article? According to experts, social media users are more likely to pass on content that makes them look good. More often than not, most people determine the social currency of a particular content before they share it. It is because most of them want to make sure that the article or video they are posting will help them look cool or smart in front of their friends or followers.

Here’s a solid example. A couple of months ago, LinkedIn emailed some of its users, informing them that their profile is among the top 5% most-viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. While the users who received the email didn’t get special prizes from LinkedIn, the social networking website did give them something better—bragging rights.

Thousands of people took to Facebook and Twitter to share the good news with their friends. Some even consider the recognition a big deal. Social media experts believe that the news went viral because of the people’s desire to look good. Because it makes them look cool, well-informed, and sought-after, people went the extra mile to be the first to share such information.

While the recipients of LinkedIn’s email were busy bragging about themselves, the social networking site also benefitted from the social media frenzy. When the people with the most-viewed LinkedIn profile spread the word about their status, they couldn’t help but mention LinkedIn on their posts. This, in turn, helped LinkedIn get more attention and gain more users.

Aside from content that can help people look smart and cool, those that remind you of related products or ideas are also more likely to go viral online, according to social media experts. They believe that “triggers” or sights, sounds, and other stimuli that remind you of a particular thing or concept are another reason why people share. Here’s a quick example.

When NASA landed a rover on Mars in 2012, sales of Mars the chocolate bar saw an increase. It seemed that during the period when the media covered the momentous event, more people are compelled to eat the popular chocolate bar, which is actually named after the candy company’s founder and not the red planet.

This is what social media experts called a “trigger.” The Mars rover landing triggered the idea of eating Mars the chocolate bar, leading to an uptick on the sales of the latter. The same principle can also be applied to posting content on the Internet. If you want anything you post online to go viral, it should be able to remind your target audience of a particular thing or idea, which can help improve the “sharability” of your content.

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