To reach beyond your limited audience and place your company in front of many new eyes your posts need to go viral. This is obviously not an easy thing to achieve as all companies with a Facebook presence are trying to go viral. The tricky thing here is that you are somewhat limited to your company’s field or industry, but this is no reason to limit yourself when you post.
The essence of a viral post is that it was well received by the audience and they appreciate it enough to Like it or Share it, which creates an exponential effect. So we are looking at the human social sharing reflex and trying to think inside their (your followers) box.
Facebook has this to say about posting reach:
What’s the difference between organic and viral reach?
- Organic reach: The number of unique people who saw this post in News Feed, ticker or on your Page.
- Viral reach: The number of unique people who saw this post from a story published by a friend. These stories can include liking, commenting or sharing your post, answering a question or responding to an event.
From this it is clear that most of what companies post achieve a very small viral status. The post is viewed by online followers when the post is released. The numbers go up as more followers view it. The numbers go up further still as new visitors follow links from your website and other social media channels. This will drop off the radar again as new content pushes it down, but the stronger the virality the longer the post will be active.
The results of the post are easily measured in terms of views, likes, shares and comments. Depending on your following (how active, interests, etc) you can rate the engagement for a post, for example a good post for a company that has 100 followers might be 30 views, 10 likes, 2 comments and 2 shares. Obviously there is always room for improvement.
When composing your post it is important to consider what will be well received by your audience. Your past Facebook follower engagement is an important factor –if you have an active following it is more likely a post will go viral. The objective is to engage your followers to get comments, likes and shares. Look at past posts to see what types of posts were popular. Bear in mind that a sales based post will be viewed but is unlikely to be liked, commented on or shared unless there is a competition or discount attached.
Lets look at an actual post that went viral
The original post was from H.Flint and Son – an electronics shop in England
They have 244 followers (likes) and their posts on average generate 21 likes and 6 comments for one post and 6 likes and 3 comments for another. This appears to be their standard range for posts until they posted this one.
It got an enormous response of 5216 likes, 757 comments and 71302 shares!
So what are the necessary ingredients to increase the odds of a post going viral?
1) Healthy Facebook following
If you don’t have any activity you won’t have any virality. Work on engaging your followers (warming them up) try different approaches and monitor what works. When your followers are more engaged there is a greater possibility that your posts will go viral.
2) Simplicity is key
Consider that you want to capture the attention of the followers as they scroll down so a short caption and a visual post is going to make the most impact. Use images with a limited amount of copy or short video for best results.
3) Timing your post
Monitor your past engagement to find out when your followers are most likely to be online. Posts between 8am and 4pm get more views, posts after 8pm and weekends tend to go relatively unnoticed.
4) Topical relevance
Smart witty comments, memmy or images about current events and sentiments are likely to be well received. Look to Nando’s for great posts of this nature.
5) Stay away from the hard sell
Followers switch off when they see posts that run like ads. Tone the hard sell down and boost the entertainment value.
6) Post on multiple channels
Posting on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest will insure that you are driving traffic, widening your range and making it easier for your followers to share your posts.
7) Branding your posts
If your post is to go viral it would be a shame if there is no company branding to take the claim for this viral masterpiece. Keep the branding low key so the post doesn’t look like an advert.
Once the post is out you are no longer in control
No matter how good your post is, how carefully crafted, timed, whether you include SHARE THIS or LIKE THIS in your copy, etc. there is no guarantee that it will go viral. But what gets measured improves, so keep the audience at the top of mind when composing your posts and some will go viral.