Connecting Emotionally to Have a Chance at Going Viral

By Kristy Sammis, Cat Lincoln, Stefania Pomponi, Jenny Ng, Edita Gassmann Rodriguez, Judy Zhou

The number-one question from every brand doing influencer marketing is: “Can you make it viral?” The short answer is: Maybe. The more truthful answer is: Possibly, if you can make an emotional connection.

Nobody can guarantee that your campaign will go viral (and that isn’t even the best goal for an influencer marketing campaign), but if you want a chance at going viral, you need to do the following:

  • Do everything right. Run a clean influencer marketing campaign. Have a specific, measurable goal and a clear call to action. Use the social channel where your preferred audience is active instead of trying to get them to come to you somewhere new.

  • Make emotions drive the story. The hard part is creating a compelling story that makes people react on an emotional rather than an intellectual level. Provoke joy, anger, awe, and outrage. The only wrong reaction is boredom, or even worse, apathy. The good news is that, almost by definition, a compelling story is an emotional story. It connects in a way that tugs at the heartstrings and makes the audience feel the story personally.

  • Make the audience the hero. When you feel a story personally, it makes you want to be a part of the story. And who wants to be the supporting talent? No, everybody wants to be the hero! An effective, emotional story told through social media channels creates opportunities for that to happen. This can happen either by letting people tell their own stories and literally be the heroes, or by letting them be a champion for someone or something else, like a noble cause.

  • Make it easy for those heroes to tell everyone. People are always ready to share their opinions! All you need to do is give them a reason and a platform. Social media accounts let you reach an audience and make sure that the world knows how you feel. Thanks to the magic of technology, you can facilitate this “tell everyone!” behavior fairly easily. Have a consistent, relevant, unique, and if at all possible fun hashtag. Remind people to use it, and do the three R’s whenever possible (respond, retweet, reshare) so that you’re helping to amplify that message. Include share buttons or links on all your communications. Finally, make sure that your call to action includes asking people to share!