Posted: 29 Jun 2016 Contributor: Kristina Petrick

Most Effective Social Media Platforms for Viral Marketing

In the marketing world, going truly viral is a lot like finding a pot of gold nuggets at the end of the rainbow. Not because it’s pure luck of the draw, but because that sweet spot between generating something of value without over-promoting is a fine line – and extremely difficult to find.


We’re here to take the guesswork out (or at least some of it). Here’s what you need to know for your next social media marketing campaign to select the best platforms for your target demographic, and post according to best practices on some of the top used platforms of 2016.

Most Used Social Media Platforms

While the most ideal platform for your business to achieve viral attraction varies largely by industry – you should be well acquainted with the most used social media platforms in general. According to Statistica, Facebook continues to lead by a long shot, with YouTube, Reddit, Twitter and Instagram following suit. Want the complete list? Here are the most used social media platforms measured by the amount of time spent on each.

Most Used by Time Spent:
• Facebook
• YouTube
• Reddit
• Twitter
• Instagram
• Pinterest
• LinkedIn
• Tumblr
• Answers
• Yelp

Social Media Platforms for Viral Marketing
Image Source: statista.com

Most Effective Social Media Platforms by Demographic

The best way to reach your target audience for viral action on your posts is to first research where those people are spending their time already. Facebook is used by 72% of internet users in a wide age-range. Those most active on Pinterest are women between the ages of 18-49. LinkedIn is a strong platform for working-age adults and college students with high household incomes.

Can’t get enough data? We’ve collected these stats and more from some helpful research statistics from Pew Research Center below.

viral marketing effective platform 4
Image Source: pewinternet.org

Viral Posting

Aside from differences in demographic use, there are also different types of posts that have been proven to do a bit better on each platform, aka more apt for viral attraction. Here is a look at some of the top platforms, and a few pointers on what types of media to post to attain higher traction to your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook: Let’s be friends

Perhaps the most “emotional” social media platform, Facebook users lean towards a more personal connection. Perhaps because its early focus was a friends-only platform – here users are drawn to posts that connect with them on a more friend-to-friend level. This is where consumers seek to understand the “real you”, so be authentic, and give them a look at what’s really going on behind the scenes.

Viral attributes:
• Shareable posts
• Casual “voice”
• Inspirational quotes
• Behind the scenes

YouTube: Entertain me

The leading platform for video posting and sharing, growing at a rate of 50% year after year for the past few years – and it’s not slowing down now. Reaching more 18-29 year-olds than any cable channel, this is a great way to incorporate online video advertising in a more effective way than TV ads. Much like a TV station, people search YouTube for anything from music videos to cooking shows and hysterical bloopers. What they have in common – this outlet is meant to entertain.

Viral attributes:
• Funny moments
• Product reviews
• Educational How-to
• Vlogger moments

Reddit: Tell me something I didn’t know, or show me something funny

One of the few platforms that maintains a predominantly male audience, Reddit is a fast-paced news feed of sorts with categories ranging from politics to bunnies cutely eating carrots. Here people seek to be amused or educated.

 Viral attributes:
• Informative news
• Irregular or ironic news
• Funny photos and captions

Twitter: Tell me something I didn’t know

The most used social media channel for news, Twitter users seek to be informed. The instantaneous nature of Twitter makes it a preferred source for checking what fans are saying about the latest sport flub or why the power is out on their cable TV. Twitter’s 140-character word limit also bans the dreaded article-writers that often pop on Facebook or other channels. Read up on their recent word-count update here. On Twitter, people can find what’s going viral and find it fast.

Viral attributes:
• Short and sweet
• Informative
• Incorporating 1-2 #’s

Instagram: Show me something beautiful

Instagram has opened the doors wider for influencer marketing, and viral content focuses on the aesthetics of the imagery – along with the cult-followings of several Instagram bloggers. This is a great opportunity for brands to promote “from the voice of the consumer” as well as leveraging consumer generated media.

Viral attributes:
• Highest quality images
• Images that tell a story
• Influencer posting

Leverage these tips, and be better equipped for generating viral social media marketing campaigns and posts. For all platforms, don’t forget to seek the platforms in which your target audience already exists, and reach out to them in a way that provides them something of value, without sounding promotional or disconnected. After all, it’s social media – have fun! Not sure where to start? Enlist the help of a SMM agency to help you develop a strategy for viral exposure.

Want to improve your social media marketing strategy? Contact us today to speak with our strategist about how our experienced team can help you use social media to attract and engage potential customers for your business.

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