How To Make Your Brand’s Social Media Content Go Viral

How To Make Your Brand's Social Media Content Go Viral

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, the quest for virality has become the holy grail of brand exposure. Achieving that elusive status where your content spreads like wildfire, reaching audiences far and wide, is a goal every marketer aspires to.

But how can you make your brand’s social media content truly go viral?

The answer lies in a delicate balance of conventional strategies and the unexpected. It’s about crafting content that resonates deeply with your audience while adding an element of surprise.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the art of blending the tried-and-true with the extraordinary to unlock the secrets of viral success.

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What is viral social media content? Can you make it happen?

Viral social media content is the aspiration of every digital marketer—a phenomenon that captivates the online world’s collective attention and imagination. It’s the kind of content that effortlessly spreads across platforms, igniting conversations and propelling brands into the spotlight.

But can you, as a content strategist or marketer, replicate this elusive success? The answer is a resounding yes. Virality, often perceived as a serendipitous occurrence, is a craft that melds compelling storytelling, profound audience insight, and an unexpected twist.

It’s about striking the right emotional chords, staying attuned to current trends, and, most crucially, creating content that deeply resonates. In today’s era of information saturation, achieving viral content necessitates a thoughtful fusion of conventional strategies and unexpected elements, a deep understanding of your target audience, and an unwavering commitment to standing out in the bustling digital landscape.

So, while the notion of virality may not be akin to an elusive treasure, with the right strategy and creative approach, making it happen is indeed within your grasp.

Making social content go viral with proven and unusual ideas

Crafting social media content that goes viral requires a strategic blend of conventional and unconventional approaches. This is precisely where my “Unusual By Strategy” forte comes into play.

As an experienced content strategist, I’ve learned that while established methods undoubtedly have their merits, they often need a creative twist to truly stand out. The mandate behind recommending a combination of conventional and offbeat strategies is simple: it ensures a well-rounded approach that appeals to a broader audience. Conventional methods provide a solid foundation, offering a sense of familiarity and reliability.

On the other hand, the unconventional injects a refreshing element of surprise and innovation, capturing attention and sparking curiosity. By merging these two approaches, brands can strike a delicate balance—meeting audience expectations while also exceeding them.

It’s about crafting content that resonates with your target audience’s core values and aspirations, while still offering something new and unexpected to keep them engaged. This blend of the tried-and-true with the offbeat is the key to making social content not only go viral but also leave a lasting impact.

8 steps to making your brand's social media content go viral

Leveraging my 40+ years’ experience as a Brand Content Strategist with a penchant for the unusual, I’ve honed a distinctive approach to crafting social media content that truly goes viral.

It’s about infusing the familiar with the unexpected, ensuring content resonates while leaving an indelible mark on audiences, ultimately transforming brands into digital trailblazers.

How To Make Your Brand's Social Media Content Go Viral (Infographic)

1. Crafting attention-grabbing headlines

Crafting attention-grabbing headlines is a foundational pillar in the realm of content marketing. A well-crafted headline can be the difference between your content being scrolled past or receiving the click it deserves.

Consider a hypothetical example: Suppose you’re promoting a new line of eco-friendly clothing for your brand. A headline like “Why is our every garment in every color becoming green this season?” instantly captures attention. It addresses a common concern (sustainability), promises a solution (eco-friendly clothing), and piques curiosity about what lies within the content.

This approach, rooted in time-tested principles, harnesses the power of curiosity and relevance to entice your audience. By mastering the art of attention-grabbing headlines, you create a compelling entry point for your content, increasing the likelihood of it being shared across social media platforms.

It’s the first step towards viral success, drawing potential viewers into the story you’re about to tell and enticing them to explore further.


  • Analyze your audience: Delve into the preferences and interests of your target audience to understand what headlines resonate with them.
  • Highlight the benefit: Clearly convey the benefit or value that readers will gain from engaging with your content in the headline.
  • Intriguing questions: Pose thought-provoking questions in your headlines to spark curiosity and encourage readers to seek answers.
  • Use power words: Incorporate emotionally charged and impactful words that evoke strong reactions and draw attention.
  • A/B testing: Continuously test different headline variations to identify which ones perform best with your specific audience and refine your approach accordingly.
Unusual Idea


Introducing the “Reverse Relevance” Technique, an unusual enhancement that challenges conventional headline crafting. Instead of directly addressing the main topic, Reverse Relevance takes an unexpected twist by opening with a seemingly unrelated statement that grabs attention. For instance, when promoting eco-friendly clothing, a Reverse Relevance headline might start with “Why Nature wants you to wear trees!” 

This initial statement intrigues readers with an unrelated topic (tree secrets) before smoothly transitioning into the core subject (sustainable fashion). This unusual twist in crafting attention-grabbing headlines adds an element of surprise and intrigue, making it more likely for readers to stop, click, and explore the content to uncover the unexpected connection.

2. Including some captivating storytelling

Effective content marketing often hinges on the timeless art of captivating storytelling. It’s a well-established strategy that transcends trends and continues to resonate with audiences. Picture this scenario: You’re promoting a line of handcrafted luxury chocolates.

Instead of a bland product description, you craft a narrative that takes readers on a journey to the cacao farms where each bean is lovingly harvested by local artisans. You describe the rich history, the dedication, and the passion behind every chocolate bar, painting a vivid picture of the craftsmanship involved.

This approach not only educates but also emotionally engages the audience, creating a connection that transcends the transactional. Storytelling infuses your content with relatable human elements, making it more shareable and memorable.

It’s a time-tested technique that has the power to transform your brand’s social media content into compelling narratives that resonate deeply with your audience, ultimately increasing the likelihood of virality.


  • Know your brand story: Begin by understanding your brand’s unique narrative, values, and history to weave them seamlessly into your content.
  • Character development: Create relatable characters or personas within your stories to humanize your brand and connect with your audience emotionally.
  • Visual storytelling: Incorporate visuals such as images and videos to enhance the storytelling experience and make it more immersive.
  • Consistency in tone: Maintain a consistent tone and voice across your storytelling content to establish brand identity and reliability.
  • Interactive narratives: Experiment with interactive storytelling formats, such as polls, quizzes, or choose-your-own-adventure style content, to engage your audience in a participatory storytelling experience.
Unusual Idea


Introducing the “Time-Shifted Tale” Technique, an unusual enhancement that flips the script on storytelling. Instead of presenting a linear narrative, the Time-Shifted Tale starts in the middle or the end, creating an intriguing sense of mystery. Applying this approach to the promotion of handcrafted luxury chocolates, you might commence with a scene where a delighted customer unwraps a beautifully packaged chocolate, savoring it with a satisfied smile.

Then, the story delves into how this moment was made possible, exploring the craftsmanship, dedication, and passion behind the creation. This unconventional structure piques curiosity, prompting readers to uncover the backstory and discover the journey that led to the satisfying conclusion. The Time-Shifted Tale infuses storytelling with an element of suspense, ensuring that your audience is not just passive observers but active participants in uncovering the narrative’s layers.

3. Leveraging user-generated content (UGC)

One enduring strategy in content marketing is the utilization of User-Generated Content (UGC) as a powerful tool to foster engagement and virality. Imagine you’re promoting a fitness brand, and one of your customers, Sarah, shares a video of her fitness journey, showcasing the remarkable transformation she achieved with your products.

By leveraging this UGC, you not only gain credibility through real-life success stories but also create a sense of community around your brand. User-generated content serves as social proof, demonstrating that your brand isn’t just making claims—it’s delivering tangible results.

Furthermore, when Sarah’s video is shared by her friends and followers, it exponentially extends your content’s reach, turning Sarah into a brand advocate. UGC taps into the authenticity of real customers, making your brand relatable and trustworthy.

It harnesses the enthusiasm of your audience and magnifies it, propelling your social media content to viral heights, all while reinforcing the value and impact of your products or services.


  • Identify brand advocates: Identify and reach out to loyal customers who have a strong connection with your brand and are likely to create valuable UGC.
  • Create UGC guidelines: Develop clear guidelines and incentives for customers to generate content that aligns with your brand’s messaging and values.
  • Engage and amplify: Engage with user-generated content by responding to it, sharing it on your social media channels, and amplifying it to reach a broader audience.
  • UGC campaigns: Launch specific UGC campaigns or challenges that encourage customers to share their experiences with your products or services.
  • Legal considerations: Ensure compliance with legal and privacy regulations when using UGC, including obtaining permission from content creators and respecting copyright laws.
Unusual Idea


Introducing the “UGC Remix Challenge,” an unconventional twist on leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Instead of merely featuring UGC, the UGC Remix Challenge invites customers to co-create content by adding their unique touch to existing brand content. In the case of the fitness brand, customers could be encouraged to remix workout routines, putting their personal spin on exercises, and sharing their versions.

This interactive approach transforms passive UGC consumption into active participation, fostering a sense of ownership and creativity among customers. It not only showcases their enthusiasm but also encourages them to become content collaborators, elevating the brand’s engagement levels and enhancing its UGC strategy. The UGC Remix Challenge breathes new life into the concept of UGC, making it a dynamic and co-creative force in content marketing.

4. Utilizing salient humor and entertainment

In the realm of content marketing, a tried-and-true method for achieving viral success is the incorporation of humor and entertainment. Consider a hypothetical example where you’re promoting a pet food brand.

Instead of a conventional product showcase, you create a video featuring a playful cat “interviewing” the product, complete with witty commentary and comical interactions. This approach capitalizes on the universal appeal of humor and entertainment, transcending language barriers and demographics. Such content not only captures immediate attention but also encourages viewers to share the laughter with their own networks, extending the reach of your brand.

By infusing humor and entertainment into your content, you create a memorable and enjoyable experience for your audience, making them more likely to engage, share, and connect with your brand on a personal level.

In the competitive landscape of social media, where endless streams of information vie for attention, humor and entertainment serve as powerful magnets that draw audiences in, making your content not just informative, but genuinely enjoyable and shareable.


  • Humor calibration: Tailor your humor to align with your brand’s tone and audience, ensuring it resonates without crossing any boundaries.
  • Interactive entertainment: Develop interactive and entertaining content formats like quizzes, polls, or interactive stories that engage your audience in a playful manner.
  • Leverage memes and trends: Incorporate relevant memes and current trends into your content, adding a humorous twist that captures the spirit of the moment.
  • Collaborate with comedians: Partner with comedians or influencers known for their humor to create content that brings a professional comedic touch to your brand’s messaging.
  • Test and refine: Continuously test different humorous approaches and content styles to identify what resonates most with your target audience, refining your strategy for optimal results
Unusual Idea


Introducing the “Random Act of Whimsy” Technique, an unconventional twist on humor and entertainment. Instead of planned and scripted humor, this approach encourages spontaneous, light-hearted moments in your content. For the pet food brand, it might involve an unscripted outtake during filming, where an adorable dog playfully interrupts the shoot, causing genuine laughter among the team.

This candid, unexpected humor creates an authentic connection with the audience, as it showcases the joyous, real-life moments that pets bring into our lives. The “Random Act of Whimsy” transcends scripted humor, inviting viewers into the brand’s genuine, heartwarming world. It’s an unusual enhancement that adds a touch of delightful unpredictability to your content, ensuring that your brand stands out in the social media landscape while fostering a more intimate connection with your audience.

5. Newsjacking on current trends and memes

Tapping into current trends and memes is a well-established strategy in content marketing for achieving viral success. Imagine you’re managing a travel brand, and a viral meme about “wanderlust” is taking social media by storm.

By incorporating this meme into your content—perhaps sharing a light-hearted meme-inspired image of a traveler yearning for their next adventure—you instantly align your brand with the prevailing cultural conversation. This not only captures immediate attention but also demonstrates your brand’s relevance and agility in staying attuned to the pulse of the online world.

By harnessing the power of current trends and memes, you leverage the existing enthusiasm and engagement surrounding them, which can significantly amplify your content’s reach and virality.

It’s a dynamic strategy that seamlessly integrates your brand into the online discourse, capitalizing on the shared humor or sentimentality of popular trends, and thereby making your content more relatable, shareable, and memorable.


  • Trend monitoring: Dedicate time to regularly monitor social media trends, news, and emerging memes that align with your brand’s messaging.
  • Timely content creation: Act swiftly when identifying relevant trends or memes, creating content that seamlessly integrates your brand message while remaining current.
  • Contextual engagement: Engage with trending topics in a genuine and contextually relevant manner, avoiding forced associations that may appear inauthentic.
  • Stay on-brand: Ensure that your content aligns with your brand values and maintains a consistent tone, even when capitalizing on current trends.
  • Audience sensitivity: Be mindful of the potential impact of sensitive or controversial trends, avoiding content that may alienate or offend your audience.
Unusual Idea


Introducing the “Deeper Dive Trendjacking” Technique, an unusual twist on newsjacking that involves going beyond surface-level engagement with trends. For the travel brand, instead of merely sharing a trendy meme, embark on a journey that aligns with the meme’s theme. Suppose the meme centers on “exploring new horizons.” In this case, you could document an actual travel adventure, sharing the process of planning, anticipation, and finally, the exhilarating journey.

This unconventional approach transforms trendjacking from a fleeting connection into an immersive experience, allowing your audience to vicariously participate in the trend while showcasing your brand’s authenticity. The “Deeper Dive Trendjacking” technique not only capitalizes on trends but also provides valuable, real-life content that resonates with your audience on a profound level, fostering a deeper connection and increasing the potential for content virality.

6. Hosting exciting contests and challenges

One enduring and effective strategy within the realm of content marketing for achieving virality is the art of hosting exciting contests and challenges. Imagine a scenario where you’re managing a tech brand, and you decide to organize a coding competition where participants can showcase their skills while working on a project using your company’s software.

This type of contest not only incentivizes user engagement but also generates user-generated content, creating a buzz around your brand. Such contests harness the competitive spirit, foster community participation, and encourage participants to share their experiences across their social networks, exponentially extending your content’s reach.

It’s a powerful method that not only increases brand visibility but also establishes your brand as an active player within its niche.

The excitement and involvement generated by these contests can transform casual consumers into passionate brand advocates, thereby enhancing your content’s potential for virality.


  • Clear objectives: Define specific objectives for your contests or challenges, whether it’s increasing brand awareness, driving user engagement, or expanding your subscriber base.
  • Prize strategy: Determine attractive prizes that align with your target audience’s interests and preferences, ensuring they provide value and motivation for participation.
  • Simple rules and guidelines: Craft clear and concise rules for participation, making it easy for users to understand and comply with contest requirements.
  • Promotion plan: Develop a comprehensive promotion plan that includes various channels, such as social media, email marketing, and influencers, to maximize reach and participation.
  • Engagement and follow-up: Actively engage with participants during and after the contest, and establish a follow-up plan to nurture the relationships formed during the event, fostering long-term brand loyalty.
Unusual Idea


Introducing the “Collaborative Challenge” Technique, an unconventional enhancement to hosting contests and challenges that fosters collaboration among participants. For the tech brand, rather than a traditional coding competition, organize a challenge where participants collaborate in teams to build innovative software solutions. This approach encourages networking, knowledge exchange, and the creation of unique, multifaceted projects. It not only elevates engagement but also promotes a sense of community and shared learning.

The “Collaborative Challenge” breaks away from the typical competitive model, emphasizing cooperation and camaraderie, ultimately enhancing your brand’s image as a facilitator of collective creativity. This unconventional twist transforms the contest into a platform for participants to not only showcase their skills but also form lasting connections and produce innovative solutions, making it more likely for the content to go viral as participants share their collaborative journey.

7. Creating visually appealing infographics

In the dynamic landscape of content marketing, one enduring strategy that consistently captivates audiences and enhances the potential for virality is the creation of visually appealing infographics. Imagine you’re managing a nutrition-focused brand, and you decide to develop an infographic that visually represents the daily nutrient intake requirements for different age groups.

This simple yet informative graphic not only condenses complex information into an easily digestible format but also adds a visually engaging element to your content. Infographics have a unique ability to convey a wealth of information quickly, making them highly shareable across social media platforms.

They cater to the modern audience’s penchant for visual content, which can be absorbed and retained more effectively than lengthy text-based information.

By incorporating visually appealing infographics into your content marketing strategy, you provide value to your audience, establish your brand as an authoritative source of information, and significantly increase the likelihood of your content going viral as it gets shared, pinned, and posted across various online channels.


  • Data selection: Identify relevant and compelling data or information that can be transformed into visually appealing infographics.
  • Design consistency: Maintain a consistent design theme, color scheme, and style across your infographics to reinforce your brand’s visual identity.
  • Engaging visuals: Incorporate eye-catching visuals, icons, and graphics that complement and enhance the content of the infographic.
  • Clear messaging: Ensure that the message or information conveyed in the infographic is concise, clear, and easily understandable by your target audience.
  • Mobile optimization: Optimize the size and format of your infographics to ensure they are mobile-friendly, catering to the preferences of users across various devices and platforms.
Unusual Idea


Introducing the “Interactive Infographic Quest” Technique, an unusual enhancement that transforms static infographics into dynamic, interactive experiences. For the nutrition-focused brand, rather than a conventional infographic displaying nutrient requirements, create an interactive quest where users embark on a journey to meet daily nutrient goals for a chosen age group. Users engage with the infographic by selecting foods and making dietary choices to complete the quest successfully.

This approach not only educates but also immerses users in an interactive learning experience, making the content memorable and shareable. The “Interactive Infographic Quest” adds a layer of gamification, turning the infographic into an engaging challenge that motivates users to explore, learn, and share their achievements, enhancing the potential for content virality as users invite others to join in the quest.

8. Invoking reactions with emotional content

In the realm of content marketing, the time-tested strategy of invoking emotional reactions through your content remains a potent catalyst for virality. Imagine you’re managing a charitable organization dedicated to supporting underprivileged children.

Instead of merely sharing statistics and facts about the challenges these children face, you create a heartfelt video that tells the personal story of a young girl named Mia, who, with the help of your organization, overcame adversity to pursue her dreams. This emotional narrative, accompanied by powerful visuals and testimonials, triggers a profound emotional response from your audience.

Emotional content, whether it elicits joy, empathy, inspiration, or even sadness, has a remarkable ability to resonate deeply with viewers, compelling them to react by sharing, commenting, or taking action. By tapping into the emotional core of your audience, you forge genuine connections, foster empathy, and ignite a passion for your brand’s mission.

In the competitive landscape of content marketing, where attention spans are fleeting, emotional content stands as an enduring strategy, turning passive viewers into active advocates, thereby increasing the potential for your content to go viral and make a lasting impact.


Audience empathy: Deeply understand your target audience’s emotions, preferences, and pain points to tailor your emotional content effectively.

Story selection: Choose emotionally resonant stories or scenarios that align with your brand’s message and values, ensuring authenticity.

Visual expression: Utilize visuals, such as images and videos, that amplify the emotional impact of your content, evoking a stronger response.

Call to action: Clearly define a specific call to action within your emotional content, guiding viewers on how to engage further with your brand or cause.

Monitoring and feedback: Continuously monitor audience reactions, collect feedback, and adapt your emotional content strategy based on audience responses and sentiment

Unusual Idea


Introducing the “Interactive Emotional Journey” Technique, an unconventional enhancement that turns emotional content into an immersive experience. For the charitable organization supporting underprivileged children, instead of a traditional heartwarming video, create an interactive journey where viewers step into the shoes of a child facing adversity. Users navigate a series of scenarios and decisions, experiencing firsthand the challenges and triumphs of children your organization helps.

This approach allows viewers to not only witness but also actively engage with the emotional narrative, fostering empathy and a deeper connection. The “Interactive Emotional Journey” adds a layer of interactivity, turning passive viewers into active participants in the story, enhancing their emotional investment. By immersing them in the narrative, it amplifies the potential for sharing and engagement as users encourage others to embark on the same emotional journey, elevating the reach and impact of your content.

In summary

  1. Diverse content mix: To increase the likelihood of your content going viral, incorporate a mix of both time-tested and unusual strategies. This includes crafting attention-grabbing headlines, captivating storytelling, humor, and interactive elements like contests and challenges.

  2. Emotional connection: Emotional content remains a powerful catalyst for virality. It’s essential to invoke emotional reactions in your audience by sharing compelling stories and experiences that resonate with your brand’s mission and values.

  3. Innovative engagement: Explore unique enhancements to your content strategy, such as interactive experiences or immersive journeys, to transform passive viewers into active participants. These innovative approaches can foster deeper connections with your audience and significantly amplify your content’s reach.

Take your brand's content marketing from run-of-the-mill to remarkable

Shobha Ponnappa

"As a Content/Brand Specialist, and SEO/UX Writer, I can help transform your brand's online presence. I can lift it with innovative ideas to take it to an enviable position. Let's collaborate to create a captivating brand story, engage your audience, boost your online visibility, and increase your ROI. Take the next step towards your brand content success and contact me today."

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