I hate to break it to you - but no matter how hard you try:
Every piece of content you push out…
👉🏻 Can not
👉🏻 Will not
👉🏻 And should not go viral.
That might sound a little harsh.
But adopting this mindset when it comes to video content will help you in the long run.
As much as it sounds like a dream to become an internet sensation from one single piece of content - it’s just not sustainable. 🙅🏻♀️ 🙅🏻♀️ 🙅🏻♀️
And while you DO want to strive for high engagement, striving for virality every time you can create content will actually hurt your business.
Because it takes all kinds of content categories to make up an effective content marketing strategy.
Yes - hopping on trends that have viral ✨ potential ✨ is one of these categories - but there are 3 other essential categories to focus on as well.
So without further ado, let’s jump into the 4 types of content categories arranged by virality.👇🏻
Let’s kick it off with the content that typically receives the lowest amount of engagement:
💰 Sales-based content 💰
Anytime you’re promoting yourself, your business, products, or services…you’ll probably see the lowest engagement numbers of any of your content.
But please don’t be discouraged!
Because without doing the business part of owning an online business - this would just be an expensive hobby.
So no matter how icky it feels - keep creating sales-based content. ✅ ✅
Just try and make peace with the fact that the engagement is going to be lower than you might like.
The last time I posted a sales post (which was literally this morning!), I thought to myself:
“Ugh - is this too sales-y? Should I skip this post? 😫”
I ended up posting it because it was a quick graphic I made up in Canva from a pre-made template I already had. It wasn’t going to take much effort, so I thought why not post it?
In fact, it only took me two minutes to throw together.
And literally, 30 minutes after posting it, I had two people buy the product I had just promoted. 💰
You might be thinking:
“Amber, two people??!! That’s nothing. What’s the big deal?”
The way I see it - I spent two minutes on that post and made 200 dollars. 💃🏻 💃🏻✨
It proved to me that although I didn’t get much engagement, let alone go viral, the sales post was absolutely worth it.
SO often I hear social media managers and business owners say:
When a piece of content doesn’t perform well in terms of engagement, it’s a sign to never post something like it again.
And I want to argue the exact opposite.
You have to think about the intention of the post.
So the next time you want to skip out on sales-based content - commit to posting it regardless of the number of likes, comments, and views.
Every type of content has a place. Including sales-based content. ✅
Next up we’ve got storytelling or community-based content. 🧡
With this type of content, most of the time you’ll get fairly average engagement.
You probably won’t see a huge spike in your numbers, but you also won’t see a noticeable dip either.
With storytelling content, you tell anecdotal or relatable stories about yourself or your business.
It usually appeals to existing followers and helps build a sense of community and connection. 🧡
You probably won’t make sales from this type of content, but it’s also pretty unlikely that you’ll go viral either.
Unless you do like a 10-part storytime on TikTok sharing the wildest thing that has ever happened to you. 🤣
Does anyone else get sucked into TikTok storytime spirals, or is it just me? 👀👀 I digress…
Typically storytelling posts compel people to leave more comments or continue the conversation with you in the DMs. 💬
Storytelling or community-based content is all about building that like, know, and trust factor with your audience.
That way when you do have something to sell to your audience, they’re already engaged and ready to buy. ✅
So even though your engagement will stay pretty middle-of-the-road and you probably won’t go viral - this content does play a SUPER important role in your marketing funnel. 💪
The next type of content to focus on is educational content. 📚
Educational content will usually increase your engagement slightly.
You’ll see more shares or saves. 📈
You might even gain some new followers who want to stick around for your next great piece of wisdom. 🤓
But it’s still pretty unlikely you’ll go viral.
Although, there are some exceptions.
Educational content performs so well because you’re essentially giving something for free.
You’re passing on a resource or teaching a skill at no cost.
And who doesn’t love a good freebie? 😍
It also positions you as an expert. You show your audience that you have knowledge and skills to offer…and your free content is just the tip of the iceberg.
Educational content almost acts as a sneak peek at what it looks like to work with you.
And people eat it up!
So if you DO go viral with educational content - consider it a little bonus.
But just make sure that your main focus is serving your community by providing as much value as possible! ✅ ✅ ✅
Finally, we get to talk about ⚡ viral content ⚡
One of the most straightforward ways to go viral on Instagram or TikTok is to use trends.
A lot of the time, these trends are not necessarily the best type of content to market and sell your offers.
Maybe they’re a funny lipsynching Reel or even a mini vlog shot to a viral song clip.
But while trends don’t always get you, clients, they DO have the best reach. So make it a habit to hop on a few every once in a while to stay current and up your engagement. 📈
While trends are the easiest way to go viral, there’s another option if being trendy just isn’t your thing.🙅♀️
The other type of content to help you go viral is content that gives your audience an intense emotional reaction.
Maybe it’s inspiring or emotional or even controversial. 😳
Yep…controversial content, sometimes referred to as polarizing content has a HUGE virality factor.
Whether people agree or (strongly) disagree with your post, it creates conversation!
Viral content will have your engagement through the roof out of nowhere.
You’ll see record numbers of likes, comments, stitches, duets, and views and you may also gain a ton of new followers.
Great! 🎉 🎉
Or so it seems…
The first thing to remember is:
More views = more trolls.
👹 👹 👹
Going viral will open you up to more online criticism. So be prepared!
And while this type of post gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling of temporary success, it has some serious pitfalls.
I went a little more into depth in this post about the unexpected downsides of going viral, but the gist of it is:
That boom in followers that came from your viral content?
It’s not necessarily the right audience for your business.
They just loved that one post!
If you get a huge boost of followers that don’t relate to your ‘regular’ content, you might see your engagement rate decline. The ratio of your followers relative to engagement has gone down, and that can be frustrating!
So while viral videos do have their place for building brand awareness or getting in publications..
It doesn’t always lead to stellar results for the average business owner.
So absolutely feel free to jump on trends or post controversial content.
There’s always a chance it’ll go viral! Could be fun! 💃🏻 ✨
BUT - don’t rely on your posts going viral as a part of your content marketing strategy.
So now that we’ve gone through each type of content and its viral potential I hope that you have a better sense of how each category fits into your overall strategy.
But if you’re still feeling a little confused about how to apply this to your own business, I’ve got just the thing. ⚡ ⚡
My new course, The Content System, is designed to teach small business owners how to strategize, create and organize all their content into one seamless workflow. ✅
I’m launching soon, so if you want to be the first to hear about it join the waitlist here.
I’m beyond excited to share this course with you, and can’t wait to see you there! 👋🏻 👋🏻 👋🏻