If you have cable TV or internet, you probably now know who Ted Williams is. If you happen to have been in a cave for the past few days, Ted Williams was the homeless man with “the golden voice” that is now a global internet sensation. Just last week, he was just a homeless man begging for money. Now, in a few short days, he has multiple job offers and one even comes with a home. All this from a video uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook. One share led to another, and another and, well, you know the story from here.
The point of all this is the power of social media and the viral effect it can have. Sometimes news goes viral on it’s own. Sometimes there is a “secret” campaign behind it all.
Making your news go viral is no easy feat. There are steps you should take to help your cause and give your news the push it needs to have a chance to spread virally.
Get involved in social media
Like the old saying goes, “you can’t win the lottery if you don’t play.” Don’t expect your news to spread if you are not involved in any social networks. The “golden voice” was able to spread due to the simple fact that there was a video shot, uploaded to YouTube and shared on Facebook. If the video was never uploaded to YouTube and shared, there is a solid possibility the world would still not know who Ted Williams is.
So, what does this mean exactly? This means you should get more involved in social media. Don’t limit yourself to just one network either. There are hundreds if not thousands of potential networks to get involved with. Some of the general bases you will likely want to cover are Facebook, Twitter and it is a good idea to throw in a few social news sites like StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit. Creating profiles on these networks is not enough. You have to get involved and build networks on each site. You will need people to share your news with in hopes your message catches on.
There is no place for selfishness in social media. Even though you are getting involved for self promotion, don’t have a self promotion attitude. Pay attention to what others share. If you find stories that interest you, SHARE THEM. It’s a safe bet that if you don’t show others any love, they will not show you any. Treat social media like karma, do good to others and others will be more apt to help you.
Put some thought into the messages you hope to spread, or don’t. What? As I mentioned earlier, there are two types of stories that go viral. Those that are well planned, and those that just kind of happen. With this being said, it is obviously a good idea to put your thinking cap on to create content that is noteworthy that people will feel compelled to share. On the other hand, don’t limit yourself. To be on the safe side, give all your content a chance. You never know what story can catch on.
Ok, so now your pumped and ready to share your story with the world. Great! One little note though. Are you in a position to handle an insane amount of traffic if your news catches on? When stories go viral, it can send literally millions of visitors to your site within a 24 hour period. I’ll tell you from experience, if you are not set-up for that kind of traffic, it will crash your site in a heartbeat. Check with your hosting provider to ensure you can handle traffic surges. What good is your story going viral if you can’t keep your site up for people to view your content?
Don’t rack your brain for a good story, push it and then have nothing happen. Keep trying. Back in the day, I submitted all kinds of content to Digg, with no luck. Then one day, a story of mine caught on out of nowhere and hit front page. It sent millions of visitors to my site which in turn crashed the site. I wasn’t prepared. The point is, you never know what will catch on, so don’t be discouraged when your favorite content goes nowhere. Just like the odds of playing the lottery one time and winning, you have to keep playing to increase your chances of winning.
So we are in a new year and you have new goals. Research, read, watch and learn how and why stories go viral. Try yourself, rinse and repeat. If you do this, your time will come.
Tags: Going Viral