// What Makes Something Go Viral?

What makes a post go viral on social media? We all see viral posts and most of us probably see them every day. But how does it happen? What goes into making that post get shared and liked by so many people all over the world? It’s a fascinating phenomenon and one that many people and corporate entities are desperate to replicate.

It’s interesting to take a look at social media virality, whether you’re looking to create viral posts of your own or not. There are some key features of viral success and we’re going to delve into them below, so read on if you want to find out more.

One of the things that’s most important when it comes to achieving social media virality is an element of surprise, something that’s unexpected in one way or another. We all want to be taken aback and taken by surprise by something. Sometimes, that element of surprise can make us want to show other people so they can share in that reaction, and when lots of people do that, it leads to the post going viral. It’s about subverting expectations and doing something that the viewer wasn’t able to predict.

As well as being surprising, posts are much more likely to go viral if they’re amusing in some way. In some instances, the amusement can come from the fact that the post of the video content being shared is unexpected in some way. No one’s expecting to see a labrador riding a skateboard, and for exactly that reason, it makes people laugh and smile. That’s just one weak example, but there are many reasons why posts can bring amusement to viewers and social media users. Anything that can make us laugh will get shared.

If something is cute and triggers that sentimental zone in our brains, it makes us want to like, share, repost, retweet and whatever else we can do with those posts. It’s no coincidence that so many of the posts that go viral these days include cute couples or cute pets or cute kids. We all love those kinds of things and it’s often the sole reason for a post finding viral success online. It’s something that’s part of the human condition and will always appeal to us, and social media proves that.

When something piques our interest and shows us something that we find interesting or exciting, it’ll get shared more often. Things can go viral without having a widespread universal appeal. Sometimes, posts go viral within quite niche and limited communities. As long as a particular online community really latches onto a post and finds something in it that’s interesting and relevant to them, it’ll have a chance of being shared, shared and shared again. It’s important to remember that there are different kinds and levels of social media virality.

Sometimes, a good viral post simply has to be fun. We all lead busy and quite stressful lives and being able to escape that for a while can be a real relief. Whether you like watching the top viral dance videos or seeing fun pet videos, you’re far from the only one who enjoys that kind of content. Those videos manage to go viral because they’re fun and funny, and it really is as simple as that. If something has a strong element of fun to it, it’s likely to have a better chance of reaching a lot of people online.

We like seeing other people’s happiness, and there are various different reasons for that. It could be that we enjoy seeing things that we see as aspirational for ourselves. But it’s also the case that seeing other people’s happiness can be about seeing how the other half live. Whether out of curiosity or out of wanting the same things for ourselves, seeing other people’s happiest moments online remains appealing to many people all over the world. It’s one of the nicer sides of social media content at least.

Hope and Positivity
We all need to see a little hope and positivity in life. When you switch on the news and see all the terrible things that are happening in the world, we need a little light to balance out the dark. That’s why videos that deliver a little hope and positivity tend to go viral. It could be a video of someone doing a good deed or helping someone out or a video of someone rescuing an animal from danger. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of those kinds of viral videos or stories on social media over the years.

What it really all comes down to is how many times a post gets shared; the definition of a viral post is one that gets shared around lots of times by lots of different people. The more times a post gets shared, the more people see it and it causes a chain reaction that can last for days and reach many millions of people. So, a good definition of what makes a social media post good viral content is how much it makes people want to share it because, after all, that’s what it all comes down to.

The Conversation
Another thing that’s important is being part of wider societal conversations. Sometimes, posts go viral because they’re something that’s part of the zeitgeist and is able to summarise succinctly a feeling or emotion or thought that’s shared by lots of other people. It could be be around cultural goings on and shifts or about political or social situations that are in the news at the time. Being part of the conversation remains important.

There are lots of things that can make something go viral and there’s also an element of unpredictability that can’t really be explained that has to be taken into account. There’s no silver bullet, but the things discussed above are all known to help boost the chances of creating a viral post.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

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HEY! Thanks for dropping by. xo KB