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October 26, 2020
FIVE TIPS FOR GOING VIRAL

Going viral – online or offline is arguably the most effective and cost-efficient approach to generating enquiries – and it is most certainly the most effective approach to generating enquiries that can and will be converted. This is highlighted in research that found:

  • Referral marketing creates between three and five times more conversions than any other marketing channel. 
  • According to B2B marketers, the average conversion rate for referrals is 11%. For comparison, the average conversion rate across all industries is 2.35%. 
  • Referred leads have a 30% higher conversion rate than contacts acquired by other marketing means.

Tip 1 – Put Quality Ahead Of Quantity

Research suggests that in the B2B environment, just 42% of marketers believe their content marketing is effective. In the B2C domain, around 43% of marketers believe their strategy is effective. It seems reasonable to suggest that this is a less than acceptable result.

Perhaps the most significant failing – reducing the effectiveness of content – is the propensity to place quantity ahead of quality. This is a mistake I am almost certain I have made in 2020. It is also a mistake I will rectify in 2020. The need or desire to post each day can all too easily overtake the need to develop the highest possible quality content – in a world where quality will almost always be more important than quantity. Of course, even with the intention of publishing quality content, there remains the question as to what represents quality. What does quality look like?

Successful practitioners suggest that quality content is:

  • Relevant – to the needs and interest of the audience
  • Meaningful – adding real value
  • Insightful – looking beyond the obvious
  • Dynamic – responsive to a changing world
  • Actionable – able to be applied

I have always tried to satisfy these criteria in each post – but have not always been as successful as I would have liked. That will change for me in 2021 – and if you want your messages to go viral, it will be essential that you put quality ahead of quantity. In 2021, I will ask about every post – is it – relevant, meaningful, insightful, dynamic and actionable?

It should be noted that not only will low quality content not be shared – but it will, in time, have the effect of teaching the audience that your content is not a priority.

Tip 2 – Be Remarkeble

In his book, Purple Cow author Seth Godin pointed to the importance of being remarkable. If you were driving along the road and saw a brown cow, who would you tell? Probably no-one. If you drove a little further and say a black cow, who would you tell? Probably no one. If you drove still further and saw a black and white cow, who would you tell? Probably no-one. If you drove even further and saw a purple cow, who would you tell? Probably everyone!

The point here is that we talk about remarkable things. Good or bad, we spread remarkable experiences. Happy or sad, we tell our friends about the remarkable. A brown cow is not remarkable, so why would you tell anyone that you have seen one. A purple cow is most certainly remarkable – and as such, you would probably tell anyone who would listen (and potentially believe you). A more practical example might be a restaurant. Would you tell anyone about a mediocre or unremarkable restaurant? Who do you tell your friends about a food court you just visited? Almost certainly no. No one talks about mediocre restaurants or food courts.

The messages that spread the fastest and most comprehensive are those that are remarkable. Indeed, the route of the word remarkable is – to be worthy of a remark. This is the case both online and offline. Factors central to making a story remarkable include:

  • Embedding a hook – possible incorporated in the headline .
  • Being insightful – offering an insight that has not been shown before.
  • Setting up an intense climax – that brings the story together.
  • Using humour – and especially humour that surprises.
  • Demonstrating humanity – in a way that the audience relates to.

The key point is that whatever you need to do – be remarkable. Leave the audience with a thought, idea, feeling or insight they will want to tell others about.

Tip 3 – Prioritise Now

More than 40 years ago research at Stanford University considered whether children, when offered a marshmallow, would reject it in favour of receiving two marshmallows in 15 minutes. This and a host of other studies testing a variety of demographic profiles have considered the propensity of human beings to delay gratification. This research has consistently led to two findings:

  • Most human beings are reluctant to delay gratification.
  • Humans who are prepared to delay gratification tend to achieve more in life.

While both are significant findings, it is the first that this message focuses on – because it highlights the extent to which human beings live in the now and are focused on getting a return now. It adds to the body of interest, suggesting that:

  • Yesterday is of little interest
  • Today is of enormous interest
  • Tomorrow is of limited interest

As far as creating and communicating missives that will spread – it is important to focus on the now and benefits that can be derived sooner rather than later. This explains why humans are not inclined to read history books or invest any more than they have to in superannuation. One is in the past, and the other is in the future – while the interest in is the now – instant gratification. Research suggests that social media has only served to increase the focus on the present and instant gratification.

The implications of this for messaging you want to go viral are clear:

  • Communication information relevant to now.
  • Suggest action that can be taken now.
  • Interpret things that are happening now.

Tip 4 – Prioritise Video

The video was once an interesting option in social media. It is now an important option and will soon be the only viable option. Research suggests that:

  • Video generates 66% more leads in a year.
  • 88% of marketers view YouTube as the most effective platform.
  • 82% of global internet traffic will come from video streaming by 2022.

Research has found that:

  • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter.
  • YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of total internet users.
  • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week.
  • More than 500 million hours of videosare watched on YouTube each day.
  • 87% of online marketers use video content.

The facts are:

  • Video can paint a more vivid picture than words.
  • Audiences are lazy, and video is easy.
  • Video is easy to share and is shared more often.

Fortunately, research suggests that while quality video production has its place, quality productions are not necessary for all or even most circumstances – and in fact, amateur video can be very impactful indeed. Certainly, the sharing of video content is not generally dependent on the quality of the video. What is clear, however, is the power of video in the social media environment.

Tip 5 – Prioritise Lists

The Rich List is one of the most read and talked about features in the Financial Review each year. This is because it taps into two things human beings relate to:

  • Money
  • Lists

The focus here is the second thing humans relate to – lists. We have all seen lists like the:

  • Ten most influential people in Australia
  • Nine deadliest animals in Australia
  • Eight leys to living a longer life
  • Seven reasons why relationships break up
  • Six things to eat this summer
  • Five places to visit in 2021
  • Four drugs of choice among Australians
  • Three reasons why lists facilitate going viral

The three reasons lists are more likely to go viral than a narrative are:

  • Lists seem to offer a comprehensive solution
  • Lists are easier to read and consume
  • Lists are easier to remember and communicate

The fact is, human beings tend to like lists and are generally more likely to share lists than narratives.

In Conclusion

Going viral is important – both online and offline. Ensuring content goes viral is becoming increasingly complex. These tips should help content creators increase the likelihood of going viral.

These are just five of many tips and strategies DQ Australia can use to ensure content goes viral, and the return on investment in Social media is maximised.


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