Let’s Go Viral

Memes are great right? They just pop out of nowhere and BAM!, your dashboards and feeds are spammed by hundreds of versions of a meme.

So what makes a meme go viral and why is it important?

Social Media and microblogging has taken over the world. Although most of the the time people tend to use social media for personal use, businesses utilizes them to connect with their consumers. Businesses are starting to learn that social media is the easiest way to spread their product and the best way is to make it go “viral.”  How does that work? Simple, everyone is connected. All it takes is for something to take off and it can essentially push a brand or product to become a sensation overnight. If something can reach a target audience and that audience shares it, the people in their network will see it and share it.

Memes are popular and EVERYWHERE. What is a meme? According to Merriam-Webster a meme is an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture. Memes are great examples for companies to follow. Valuable content trends and become popular. Are memes considered valuable content? I think so. They are great examples on how to appeal to your audience. They are relatable and amusing.  Memes are made and then shared on different social media platforms that help them along. Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vine, Instagram, etc. use metatags, more specifically, hashtags. Hashtags make it easier to group relatable content together so that when it is searched, they pop up. All of these platforms are effective to find content. For example, if you were to search for “Harlem Shake,” you will find thousands of videos and gifs all over the internet.

For a first time viewer, the Harlem Shake first popped up on my news feed on Facebook, then next thing you know, it was on my Tumblr dash and soon enough, YouTube was recommending Harlem Shake videos to me. What made this dance a craze? Think about it, what made Gangnam Style a thing? It was amusing and seeing other people do it was even more entertaining. But when you really watch it, people started to alter it. They would wear elaborate costumes or horse masks, celebrities, and even underwater!

The basic human has a very short attention span (about eight seconds to be exact). The point is, to make something go viral you have to grab your audience’s attention quickly and keep their attention. Best way to do this is to be funny and relatable. It’s a way of connecting with your fans and the internet. Most of your audience only has so much time, which is where microblogging comes in. Microblogging sites, such as Twitter, deliver information quickly and have a 24 hour limit before they die off. According to the Social Media Bible, microblogs are more entertaining and the information is less complicated to digest. Content spreads quickly especially when you use the right hashtags and have followers. For example, Ellen Degeneres tweeted a selfie during the Oscars and broke twitter records.

I mean it’s Ellen Degeneres, of course it went viral quickly. There were components of that tweet that brands can take away and utilize for their own products. First off all, Ellen is a celebrity figure. She has millions of followers, but there is also the tag. Ellen tagged the post with “#oscars.” Hundreds if not thousands of people were watching the Oscars that night so they were probably following that tag on twitter at the same time. It also helps that the photo was entertaining. From then, people have replaced the faces in the photo and still retweet it.

Viral content spreads quickly when you have a large enough audience. Metatags and followers help, so it would be wise to appeal to people. This infographic (below) is a good example of how certain videos, photos, and brands became viral such as the Harlem Shake. Memes exist to be spread and to be entertaining. So best way to go viral? Be interesting. Be Funny. Be quick. You might be the next viral sensation!


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