Should You Go Viral On Facebook? Here’s How

Posted on September 7, 2012


We could have called this “How To Win Friends & Influence People,” but I will spare you that. What are the keys for radio content “going viral” on Facebook?

1. Content, content, content. Believe me, I know it seems the experts are saying this until they are blue in the face, but you CANNOT FAKE this step. You must have great content that is focused on the listener — not your radio station. Listeners will share what makes them look good to friends, family, and co-workers. Think about content that does that for the “sharer” and you will be a winner. Ask yourself if your content is truly entertaining. Ask if it truly has value that is worth sharing. And if the passion is not high, chances are the sharing will be low.

2. The name or headline of your content is critical. We’ve all been around. You know that listeners have less time than ever. They are more distracted than ever. Want them to share? Have a headline that shocks, startles, promises something unique and compelling, and is quick to grab onto. The headline may be almost as critical as the visual.

3. Growing your relationship with listeners on Facebook. This is much more than getting someone to hit “LIKE” on your Facebook page or sending them spam posts about how to win free concert tickets or even cash. Anyone who only spits out content (especially contest-heavy content) and does not engage listeners, are losers. To build a relationship, you have to nurture it through content that matters A LOT to listeners you want to attract AND by commenting on their posts and reacting to their lives. This can only be truly done over time, but the payoff can be large. A simplified version of this might be known as “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”  Try it — it works.

4. The more listeners you engage on Facebook, the more likely you are to boost participation and go viral with your message, photo, or video. Of course, you can boost participation on your Facebook page by talking about it on-air, in listener email, and through your street presence. However, please remember that our goal at radio is to get more people to use your radio station by pumping up the occasions they listen and listening longer. So, it is okay to participate in growing your “LIKES,” but you must recognize that ultimately the only true payoff for your radio station is more occasions of listening and longer sets of listening (especially at work if you are an adult formatted station). Give yourself reason for growth on Facebook by managing your content to bring people back to you again and again and encouraging them to share good content.

5. Don’t be fake. Be yourself. If you are trying to be someone else, your content is much less likely to be share-worthy. Listeners can “smell” authenticity and they can surely smell a fake. Be real and focus on sharing authentic content that informs and entertains to get to maximum sharing levels.

6. Yes, you should have a “share” button on content on your website. The numbers of Facebook users in your market are probably larger than you think. The word “share” means more than the word “Like.” It is asking for the order. If you don’t make it easy to share your off-Facebook content on Facebook, you must ask yourself why. If you don’t ask listeners to share your content on Facebook when it is appropriate, you should give some additional thought to your plan on Facebook.

7. Be visual and understand how people share. This can be photos or video, but the basic idea is to catch attention with a photo or video worth sharing. Information is what is most shared because of links. In other words, your link is more likely to be shared if it has strong information that makes your listener look good. Video and photos are heavily shared when they are entertaining. Focus on entertainment when sharing videos or photos and focus on great or important information listeners will feel makes them look good when they share it, when you want to go viral. Knowing how listeners share is as important as knowing what content to use in an attempt to go viral.

Finally, let me say that everything is not something you want to share on social media like Facebook. Remember when I said, “And should you” at the top of this article? Let’s be honest. Everything isn’t share-worthy. Nor should it be. If you don’t have controls on the content you are sharing (meaning each TYPE OF CONTENT you share and when), you may be making big mistakes. In fact, you may be BORING. Don’t be boring. Develop a social media plan that includes what kind of content you post by percentage and when. Develop your plan and make sharing part of it (but don’t try to make everything go viral).

Give yourself the best opportunity for going viral by providing listeners targeted information and entertainment that is unique to your brand and really gives them something valuable to share. Make sure you have variety in your posts, but always keep the value of your content high. Do this and you will find that your social media will help you with your true objective:  great listener engagement with your radio brand!

Loyd Ford

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