By Christine Hollinden

Twenty years ago, something going “viral” was hardly a positive thing. These days, it seems like the quicker something spreads, the better…at least in regards to social media. But what makes something go viral? The truth is, no one can really say. Sure, with the amount of sneezing pandas and dancing South Korean men out there, it might seem like the answer would be something guaranteed to make Charles Darwin roll over in his grave, but the reality is…it’s just pure chance. And not only that, it’s biased.

We’re only looking at viral content from one perspective. Does not having a million hits on your YouTube video make you a failure? If you don’t have the number of Twitter followers like Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, does that mean social media isn’t working? If you’re wondering how your firm can raise awareness to the masses in the same way these popular viral sensations have, the answer is simple.


Think about your target audience. What are their problems and needs? Are you likely to reach them by placing a broad focus on your social media efforts? Setting out to achieve 100 likes or shares or re-tweets a day? While that might seem like a good strategy, targeting the masses is likely to result in interest from only a few. And without relevant content, you might get your “15 minutes” … but that’s it. Remember Milli Vanilli? Neither do we.

Knowing your audience, targeting them with relevant content, and having a narrower focus to capture their attention and initiate conversation is likely to get them engaged. Sharing content that will inspire your audience to engage should be the real end goal – not virality.

What has your firm done to successfully engage your social media community?

Talk to them and they’ll talk back.