7 Secrets to Creating Viral Social Media Posts

Social media is a powerhouse of engagement, and who doesn’t want their content to go viral? Generating viral social media posts, however, isn’t just about luck. It’s a strategic play of understanding your audience, using trending topics, and employing compelling captions, among other things.

In this post, we unveil seven secrets to enhance your social media strategies and get your posts the attention they deserve.


7 Secrets to Creating Viral Social Media Posts


1. Truly Understand Your Audience

Every great social media campaign begins with a deep understanding of your audience:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they like, share or comment on?
  • What gets them excited or engaged?

Data from social media analytics can give you insights into your audience’s preferences, leading to content that resonates, engages and compels them to share, boosting the chances of your post going viral.

Start by creating a detailed audience persona. This might include demographic data, interests, behaviours, and more. Dive into your social media analytics and gather data to help you understand what engages your audience.

For example, if posts about sustainability get more engagement, you might want to create more content around that theme. In-depth audience understanding is a moving target; continuous tracking and adjustment are necessary for the best results.


2. Leverage Trending Topics

Trending topics are the beating pulse of social media, and engaging with them can boost your posts. However, relevance is key. The trending topic should align with your brand and audience first and foremost. Keep an eye on social media news, hashtags and discussions to find topics that work for you.

Take, for example, the ‘Dolly Parton Challenge’. Brands and individuals jumped on this trending topic, creating their own versions of the challenge and gaining significant attention. The key here is to not only follow trends but to find a unique, brand-specific spin to make it relevant for your audience.


3. Harness the Power of Visual Content

Visual content is more likely to be shared than plain text posts, a key aspect in creating viral social media posts. Infographics, GIFs, memes and videos can deliver your message more effectively as they attract attention, engage the audience and are easily shareable. Consider your message and choose the visual format that best communicates it.


[Learn more about social media engagement rates here]


4. Using Compelling Captions

Your captions are as important as your visual content when it comes to viral content. A well-crafted caption can tell a story, provoke emotions and encourage your audience to take action. Use them to build a narrative around your visual content that aligns with your brand’s voice.

Think of your captions as the ‘headline’ of your post. Much like a catchy headline draws a reader into an article, a captivating caption can pull a scroller into your post.

Here are a few ways to make your captions compelling:

  • Keep your captions short, creative and engaging.
  • Use action words.
  • Pose questions.
  • Use a little humour (if it fits your brand voice).

For example, if you post a picture of a chocolate cake, instead of saying, “Our delicious chocolate cake”, say something like “Can you resist the allure of our sinfully decadent chocolate cake?”.

A real-life example is how Argosy Toys’ Facebook post went viral due to the brand’s emotional connection with its customers. The independent toy retailer reached over a million people before the Christmas rush due to an honest and relevant post.


5. Encourage User Engagement

Engagement is the currency of social media. The more likes, shares, comments and reposts your content generates, the higher the chances of it going viral. Encourage user engagement by asking questions, running contests or starting a conversation. User-generated content is another great way to foster engagement and increase the reach of your posts.


6. Post at Optimal Times

Timing is crucial for the visibility of your posts. Posting when your audience is most active can significantly boost your engagement rates. Monitor your social media analytics to identify the best times to post for each platform and aim to publish your content during these peak periods.

Take Instagram, for example. According to a study by Later, the best time to post on Instagram across industries is 4 am. However, these times can vary depending on your specific audience, their time zone and the platform you’re using. Therefore, continually monitoring your post performance and adjusting your posting schedule is key.


[Learn more about when and how often to post on social media here]


7. Use of Hashtags and Tags Effectively

Hashtags and tags can dramatically expand your post’s reach beyond your immediate followers. Use popular hashtags that relate to your content to increase visibility. Also, consider tagging influencers or people who might be interested in your post. However, remember to keep it relevant and avoid hashtag spamming.


Don’t Wait To Go Viral on Social; Plan To

You’re one step closer to creating viral social media posts by putting these secrets to work. Remember, going viral isn’t an overnight miracle but a result of a well-planned and executed social media strategy.

Put these secrets to the test in your next social media campaign. Your success story might inspire someone to launch their next viral post.


About Sean Flint

Sean Begg Flint is the founder of Position Digital, a digital marketing agency specialising in social media marketing for ambitious and growing ecommerce, B2B, tech and purpose-led brands. He is passionate about purpose-driven content marketing and using outreach for good.