Viral is a buzz word that is synonymous with success on social media. There are examples over the last few years of campaigns that have taken the online world by storm and created considerable buzz for the recipients of that exposure. When it comes to social media marketing, many companies seem to want to jump on the “viral,” phenomenon and the conversation occasionally drifts to the point where the inevitable question is asked – “what can I do to get my company viral?” Well, the simple answer is: “You can do quite a bit to go viral, most of which you wouldn’t want associated with your company.”

Social media is truly a powerful entity

I understand it completely. With the flood of information available to users at their fingertips, standing out is your chance to have a direct brand-to-consumer conversation.  Many business owners see things on their own social media feeds (like the Ice Bucket Challenge for example) and want their business to find the magical concoction to viral success.  The truth of the matter is that having a viral hit is a very difficult task.  Think of how many social media posts are created each year. How many of those would you classify as a social media viral success? Percentage-wise, you’re looking at similar odds to hitting a jackpot on a slot machine or scoring a date with your celebrity crush.

Consistent branding is the goal

Rather than look at viral success as part of your business plan, as a marketer you should be seeking out stories of consistent branding that leads to social media success. Consistent engagement on social media will keep people looking for your posts and create the buzz you want online.  Yes, it is important to keep a large audience in mind and dream big with entertaining and informative posts.  Keeping your brand’s bigger picture in mind while doing so will lead to much more fruitful rewards within your social media marketing plan.

You shouldn’t be searching for a “viral hit” when it comes to marketing your company online and through social media.  Videos and articles don’t always go viral for the right reasons. Your content marketing goals need to include creating engaging and compelling content that your audience will share for the right reasons – they find it entertaining, informative and the content also stays in-line with your company’s brand. If this is your strategy then, should a piece of content you produce be shared among the masses online, you’ll then also have follow-up material to captivate the audience you’ve cultivated thanks to a measured and consistent approach to branding yourself on social media.