Going viral on social media has become quite the convoluted topic over the years – is there a science to internet stardom?
Whether you’re a marketer or the occasional poster, you might be interested to know how the viral effect comes about.
According to psychological theory, content that feels novel or that fills information gaps may trigger the release of dopamine in the brain.
Emotional triggers are important in creating viral content – information that touches the right emotions like excitement, surprise or nostalgia can also create a viral effect.
The Psychological Factors of Going Viral
Seeing new or unusual things will always catch your eye.
The brain is hardwired to search for novelty – seeing something new can motivate us to explore our environment for rewards, and with social media that is just one click away.
Information Gap Theory
Humans are naturally obsessed with information and are constantly seeking knowledge about the world around them.
Many posts seek to provide a chance to temporarily satisfy your curiosity with just one click.
According to George Loewenstein’s information gap theory, we often act to fill a gap between what we know, and what we want to know.
Getting Algorithms Right
Algorithms can be helpful to the average social media user, helping to sift through the mountains of content posted every day to deliver only “relevant” content.
However, for many marketers, the constantly changing algorithms can seem like a constant struggle and are not necessarily perfect by a long shot.
Sometimes social media platforms are transparent about what will help content rank.
Facebook explicitly laid out some ground rules for accounts looking to stay in their algorithm’s good graces including prioritising meaningful conversations over transactions, stopping engagement baiting and publishing more native video content.
Use trial and error to sniff out the changes to any given algorithm & do your research to see what others have discovered – this is a tedious but necessary process to stay on top of the game!
Want to find out more about going viral online?
Whether you’re looking for tips on how you can get social media to work in your favour or are completely new to the online world, our bespoke social media training sessions are here to help.