going viral

Previous Sememsters

Remember that last video of a cat someone sent you?  No, not that cat video, the other cat video.  Or the Grumpy Cat meme?  Or that kinda annoying period of time where everyone (and their home team) was making a video of the Harlem Shake?


As a social media marketer, one can only dream of going viral as these videos did.  It is not just videos.  Articles, photos, stories can all be shared and become viral.  But why does content go viral?  And how do I get my content to go viral?

This weeks readings laid out the viral recipe clearly:

1) Elicit emotion – and strong emotion at that.  High energy emotions are more likely to trigger a shared response, anger being the most viral.  However, since negative emotion isn’t ideal (though better than no emotion), let’s shoot for the next on the list:  awe.  Share content that is inspiring or creative or mind blowing or just really really cool.  

2) Write about something – Don’t just share a fact.  Longer posts, that really dive into a topic are more likely to be shared – and  also more likely to be emotionally driven (that’s right, the author should be emotionally connected as well).  But don’t rule out infographics.  Infographics can go viral quickly, especially with the ability to share faster on Pinterest.  

3) Be useful – Content should be practical and applicable and interesting.  Post something that people can put to good use.  Viral content goes beyond gimmicks and GIFs.  Recently on Facebook, a lot of my newsfeed has been taken up with links to an article promising “How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex, and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps“.  You bet I clicked through on that link!  While the article wasn’t about having the perfect life, it was about how to enjoy the one that you have, and enjoy it more deeply.  But by a fun title with trigger words that speak to a lot of people, it quickly went viral.  Bottom line:  share relatable stories with value.  


So how can I help The Pink Petticoat go viral?  With a strong social media presence, I hope that word of mouth business continues to push my store into the spotlight.  I am just not on the same scale as a multi million dollar fashion show, or a one million dollar bra (I’m looking at you, VS).  

If this is the content that goes viral in my area of retail, where can I fit in?

What kind of content could a lingerie store share that would go viral (and in a positive, non-skeevy light)?

How can I incorporate humor (best bet for going viral) into my posts while staying professional, and maintaining my “voice”?




2 thoughts on “going viral

  1. Hello Lesley.

    Sharing quality content with top influencers in your industry is one common tactic. Creating controversy is another common strategy used to encourage viral content. On that note; a Wharton Business School study entitled, When, Why, and How Controversy Causes Conversation, researchers Jonah Berger and Zoey Chen discovered that controversy increases likelihood of discussion at low levels, but beyond a moderate level of controversy, additional controversy actually reduces possibility of discussion.

    In March 2013 the Huffington Post reported that Swedish retailer Åhléns posted pictures of full figured mannequins that went viral after Women’s Rights News posted it to their Facebook page.

    It seems like no one has created the blueprint to creating viral content, however, we may be getting close creating viral content on a consistent basis.

    1. Hi Jason,
      Yes, when I did a quick search of lingerie related viral content, I found the article about Swedish plus sized lingerie mannequins being on of the few. But isn’t that negative viral content? The outrage of the shoppers?

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