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Gov 2.0: How to make your content go viral

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Digital Technology

This post is by Kaukab Jhumra Smith, a contributing editor for SmartBrief. She is reporting live from Gov 2.0 this week.


Ideas do not spread because they are “good,” according to Dan Zarrella, author of “The Social Media Marketing Book.” “I have to myth-bust this,” Zarrella said. “There are plenty of good ideas that do not go anywhere and plenty of bad ideas that go everywhere.” Ideas spread because they fill a need or stand up to certain pressures better than others, he said.

At his presentation, he shared his advice for increasing the odds that your content will spread far and wide. Among his tips:

  • Seed your campaign with as many people as possible. If you introduce an idea to more people, it will reach more people. Grow your Twitter followers, your e-mail lists and Facebook friends.
  • Personalize. Just like you’re attuned to hear your name even in a noisy room, people respond to personalized messages in a crowded social media environment.
  • Avoid the crowds. Click-through rates rise later in the day and on the weekends, even though traffic is lower on Twitter and Facebook during those times. That’s because there are fewer links competing for people’s attention. Post your content during these times.
  • Talk like a fifth-grader. Use short words when sharing content on social media. The higher the reading level, the less people share your content.
  • Put out a call for action. “Asking people to retweet works,” Zarrella said. “Don’t do it all the time. But it does work.”

In your experience, is his advice sound? What are some of your tips for upping the odds that your content will go viral?