Social media marketers know that creating viral posts is not their most important goal. It can prevent them from reaching their target audience and taking care of the mental health of their team. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from viral marketing and advertising.

Viral marketing is important in building awareness, increasing engagement, and building loyalty. The right viral content can help brands gain mega fanbases.

We’ve found that the type of viral marketing that achieves long-term, sustainable growth follows these nine principles. Use them to expand your brand’s social media presence (and they can help you go viral).

What are your chances of succeeding?

First, how likely is your post to go viral? According to a 2016 Stanford University study, the chance of getting infected is one in a million.

However, popular platforms like TikTok provide many opportunities for brands to fly on social media. But there is no quick hack to create a viral video. Going viral requires a balance of skill and luck.

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 better understand how to go viral on social media.

What is viral marketing?

In order to generate good profits, it is imperative that service companies keep the total cost of obtaining customers (CAC) and churn as low as possible. Nevertheless, getting users is usually a lot easier said than done. You can opt for inbound marketing techniques, such as pay-per-click (PPC) and paid offline advertising, in order to bring in traffic and paying customers. However, you are really going to need to go viral if you want to obtain a big user base without the high costs and within a short amount of time.

Most Used Social Media Platforms

While the 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, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, and TikTok 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
  • WhatsApp
  • Instagram
  • Weixin / WeChat
  • TikTok
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Douyin
  • QQ
  • Sina Weibo
  • Kuaishou
  • Snapchat
  • Telegram
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Quora
Social media platforms
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Most Effective Social Media Platforms by Demographic in 2023

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.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular social media platforms and their usage stats:


Facebook is the largest social media network, and it is one of the oldest active networks (along with Twitter and LinkedIn).

Number of monthly active users: 2.91 billion

  • Age group: 25-34 (31.5%)
  • Gender: 43% female, 57% male
  • Daily use time: 33 minutes


Instagram and Facebook are owned by Meta. However, this does not mean that they are on the same social network. There are many differences, both in terms of content types and social media platforms.

  • Number of monthly active users: 2 billion
  • Age group: is 25-34 (31.2%), followed by 18-24 close at 31%
  • Gender: 48.4% female, 51.8% male (no data on other genders)
  • Daily use time: 29 minutes


Twitter has a growing user base and a relatively small number of daily users. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you want to reach the right social media audience, Twitter might be the place to be.

  • Number of daily users: 211 million
  • Age group: 18-29 (42%)
  • Gender: 38.4% female, 61.6% male
  • Daily use time: 31 minutes


YouTube is one of the largest social media networks and, as a result, the demographics of social media are different than in some other forums.

  • Number of monthly active users: 2+ billion
  • Age group: 15-35
  • Gender: 46% female, 54% male
  • Daily use time: 30 minutes

How do you go viral?

Social media and coupons

There is only one place to begin, and this is with social media. Users are going to need to love your product and want to share it with other people across their networks in order for it to go viral. Therefore, before you even start to think about promoting your product, you need to ensure that it is something that your market is going to love and you need to be certain that it has not been done before. companies are their most effective when a particular niche is being targeted.

Once your market has been identified, you must make sure you offer a great experience. After all, users are only going to stick around and share information about your business on social media if they enjoy their experience. There are a lot of different ways that you can make sure that this is the case. However, there is no denying that offering coupons and special offers is the most effective. We all like to feel like we are getting a bargain, right? The unique and universal selling point when it comes to es is that those who sign up are going to get premium quality products at low prices. Users are going to be much more likely to try out your service if you provide voucher codes and coupons. This means that they are going to be getting twice as much value. Your first box gives you the opportunity to really wow your customers, which will ensure they remain a subscriber once the price then returns to normal.

Video marketing

Another solution to consider is video marketing. This can be very effective when it comes to making your subscription service go viral. Create a unique video that is interesting, hilarious, or even absurd, so that you can catch people’s attention and create a buzz. A unique video is much more likely to be shared across social media platforms. Make sure the video is of a high quality and think about the sort of approach that is best going to connect with your audience and catch their interest. Put yourself in the user’s view and think about what sort of videos you would be most likely to share on your social media platforms.

Continue to provide value

Of course, getting people to sign up to your service in the first place is incredibly important. However, you need to make sure that they remain customers and that they do not merely cancel their subscription once the initial special offer is up. Therefore. You need to focus a lot of your efforts on how you are going to retain value.

Connect with influencers in your industry

Last but not least, there is no denying that there is very much a trend for influencer marketing at the moment. Connecting with influencers in your sector is one of the best ways to ensure that your service goes viral. Don’t worry if you do not have the budget to reach out to the big celebrities on Instagram. There are a lot of other approaches that are effective. For example, look for a blogger or product evangelist with a large number of readers who can promote your service. You need to connect with the influencer, ensure they receive your product (and that they love it!) so that they will share it with their followers. An effective approach when it comes to influencer marketing is to invite the influencer to the beta testing phase of your services. Either way, people like this are going to have a huge impact when it comes to making your service go viral, as they will share details about it on their social media pages such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Viral Posting

Aside from differences in demographic use, different types of posts 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 for 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 – where 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 30.4% year after year for the past few years – and it’s not slowing down now. Reaching 36% more people than the average TV 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.

In keeping with the trend of short-form video content, the platform has created YouTube Shorts, which much like TikTok and Reels, showcase shorter video clips.

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 maintaining 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

Snapchat: Let’s get creative

Snapchat gives the younger generation what they want: an easy way to share everyday moments while making them beautiful. And unlike Facebook and Twitter, which record and broadcast everything you do, Snapchat uses messages to disappear. Like many social media apps, Snapchat is a mixed affair, so it’s good to understand how it works. Brands can easily create their own filters and games within the app, keeping with the creative theme of the platform.

Viral attributes:

  • Interactive games and quizzes
  • News and entertainment
  • Video and photo editing tools

TikTok: Let’s be silly

Many videos are likely to focus on music, with creators using several catalogs of sound effects, music clips, and filters to upload short clips of their dances and lip-sync videos. However, there are countless videos to explore various topics. There are DIY and craft videos, comic book sketches, whatever you can think of.

Viral attributes:

  • Video duets to join in on trends
  • Catchy songs
  • Relatable and recognizable content

How Do You Make Your Brand Go Viral?

1. Find your target audience.

Successful viral media campaigns keep a target audience in mind. For a campaign to be successful, it needs to impress the audience and make them feel your content so much that they decide to share it with their family, friends, and followers. Determine your target audience in the early stages of creating your campaign.

To achieve this, ask questions like: Who do I want to connect with? What content will they be interested in? What are their hopes, dreams, and values? Why should they care about my campaign? What can I do to get them to want to share my content on their social networks?

2. Use stunning visuals

Viral advertising requires a new strategy – this is directed at customers who can understand your brand through the use of images.

Advertising needs to tell a story and that story is best told using visuals that resonate with your audience. Your visual design should match your brand and your audience – it should be interesting, informative, and have an element of humor, such as humor or hope.

3. Champion creativity

Think about your favorite viral social media. What makes it different from others?

Advertising campaigns are successful only if they are based on unique, interesting, and innovative ideas – your campaign should be innovative and attractive.

4. Make sure the content can be easily shared

Thanks to the internet and social media, sharing and promoting your content with the rest of the world is very easy. You don’t need a lot of money to create successful photo or video content that can be consumed by a large audience.

For something to go viral, it needs to be shared more often. This means that you and your business should first distribute the content as widely – and in every way – as possible. Next, you need to make it easy for your audience to share.

5. Timing is everything

You should also consider the date and time when you share your content. Marketers use major holidays — like Christmas — and big events, like the presidential race and the Super Bowl, to their advantage. More people are browsing their social media, watching TV, and following the news these days, forcing marketers to invest more in their campaigns.

How To Make a Social Media Campaign Go Viral?

Although there is no guarantee that your ad will go viral, there are a few proven strategies you can use to increase its chances of removal. After all, viral content isn’t always random, and it’s often the result of paying close attention to consumer behavior.

Let’s look at the steps you can take to make your marketing efforts as effective as possible.

1. Capture attention

Potential customers are surrounded by tons of content every second they spend on the web, whether on desktop or mobile devices. To get them to pay attention instead of skimming your ad, you need to have an immediate attention-grabber effect that stops them in their tracks.

Having a visual marketing element in your content can help you. Beyond that, you must attract your target audience with a message that instantly translates into something daring, funny, wild, impressive, or something between the two.

2. Drive engagement

Content won’t go viral if it doesn’t motivate its audience to engage with it. Viral marketing works best when it is designed to make it easy for the audience to interact and share.

Your content should include some form of call to action (CTA), something that prompts the user to act after seeing your message. Some successful viral media campaigns also include opportunities for the audience to answer questions, create their own content, or play games.

Your goal is to make sure your viewers don’t take their eyes off the screen until they share your content with their own networks. If your campaign can also include advertising, it is better to help you get advertising.

3. Tug on the heartstrings

When you create viral marketing content that creates a strong emotional reaction, your viewers are more likely to engage. Think about some aspects of viral content that you remember.

In some cases, the content was shared by a celebrity you used to follow or like. Whatever marketing comes to mind, it’s probably because they’ve affected you in some way.

4. Keep it simple

All viral media have one thing in common: their message can be summed up in a sentence or a short phrase. Having more than one CTA or general message can confuse or distract your audience, reducing the overall effectiveness of your ad.

All of your content should also stand out. When sharing on social media, don’t overload your text with hashtags, which can be distracting and distract from your main message. Ideally, don’t exceed 30 seconds for your video.

Keep in mind that simplicity should not hinder creativity. When thinking about your viral marketing strategy, think outside the box to convey your message.

5. Set goals

During a viral media campaign, make sure your team is working behind the scenes to improve your brand, re-engage your target audience, and get the world’s attention to your brand.

To achieve this, you must have a marketing plan that directs you to improve your strategy immediately. Marketing objectives should be specific and measurable. This way, your data can tell you if you are on the right track or if you need a change. Think about how many people you want to reach in the first hour and the share you want after three weeks. What impact is this campaign expected to have on your business financially and how will your organization monitor the results?

4 Best viral content examples

Need some inspiration, or simply look for real-life examples showcasing what can happen when you figure out how to make a social media campaign go viral. Spoiler alert, it’s often a lot simpler than you think.

1. Oreo: In 2013, the Super Bowl experienced a 30-minute power cut. Quick on their feet, the cookie brand went viral for using the global event’s misfortune to market their product.

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2. Popeyes: Another example of quick thinking is when Popeyes launched their chicken sandwich, only to receive shade from Chick-fil-A. Needless to say, Chick-fil-A’s attempt at going viral failed. Popeye’s response on the other hand almost broke the internet.

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3. Converse: The sneaker brand stirred up emotions when they used a simple image to share the love on Facebook. This appreciation post had their fans go wild, making the post a social media hit.

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4. National Geographic: Touching on something topical that applies to all, National Geographic went viral with this cover in June 2018 after using plastic to replace an iceberg.

Are you ready to go viral?

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 and finally discover the experience of going viral on social media? 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.

This blog post is Last updated on Mar 6th, 2023.