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August 18, 2022
Mark Zeehandelar

Make Going Viral Worth It

Ever get a really outstanding idea in your head and think to yourself, “I’m going to make this go viral!”? This is a common thought a lot of us have at one point or another, thinking it’s so easy to get something to go viral. But, how do you capitalize on those thoughts? Anyone who’s had success in making something go viral to spread awareness or recognition will tell you there are 3 key factors to really gaining traction under an idea and letting it take off. Those 3 starting points are:

  1. Coming up with a topic. Sure, you can try to make anything go viral, but why should someone take interest in your idea over someone else’s? Take the most recent craze to hit the internet: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This practice is being done to raise money, and more importantly, awareness for ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease) via recordings of people dousing themselves in buckets of ice cold water. Providing information- yes. Intriguing and attracting an audience – you bet.
  2. Do your homework. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t just about people getting drenched on camera. The founders of this viral practice chose ice water because those affected by ALS can have trouble feeling hot and cold and unfortunately can get to the point where they can’t regulate their own body temperature. Make sure your own cause makes sense after someone looks into it. Is social media blowing up just because or is there more logic behind these actions everyone’s mimicking each time you log in?
  3. Provide a purpose. From the end of July through the middle of August, over $1.3 million was raised in support of ALS awareness; pretty powerful return on a simple act. All those social media users watching, participating in the challenge, and then prompting others to join in helped the ALS Foundation gain some notoriety and help spread the word about a disease with no known cure.

Viral videos can start inadvertently at any point if someone does a stupid stunt accidentally or gets a great surprise reaction from someone. To truly start a viral movement from scratch, you need the 3 components listed above as you work on branding yourself and working to accomplish a goal. If throwing a bucket of ice water over you does the trick, that’s fantastic! No matter the cause or goal, make sure you have a game plan ahead of time, just like any other social media strategy.

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