Lots of businesses dream of “going viral” on social media due to many immediate benefits come with it. However, too many businesses include “going viral” as part of their marketing strategy, when it isn’t a strategy at all.

“Going viral” refers to when a piece of content resonates with an audience on such a high level that it makes them share it over an over again. Often content that goes viral goes beyond social media channels and ends up all over the internet and on television, gaining even more attention.

The phenomenon has led many businesses these days to include “going viral” as a part of their marketing strategy or marketing plan, often posting content with “this needs to go viral” in the description. I’ve even seen marketing plans given to franchises from parent companies telling them they have to “go viral.”

Obviously there’s a huge upside to going viral, but there’s main problem: in order to go viral, you have to have an amazing piece of content AND then have other people must think it is amazing enough to want to share it over and over again. This is not easy to do.

In fact, your chances of having a piece of your content go viral is the equivalent of winning the lottery. There’s no secret formula for making it happen. There’s no way to guarantee or force it will happen. There’s no way to control it. It is definitely NOT a type of marketing strategy or campaign. For the most part, it’s pure luck.

The reason why businesses all want go viral are the results going viral offers: an easy route to achieve brand recognition, increased followers, increased business, and overall exposure with other people doing all of the work. Just like winning the lottery is the easy route to being wealthy, going viral is seen as the easy route to building a business and brand. Unfortunately, just like counting on winning the lottery to solve all your financial problems isn’t a sound financial plan, counting on going viral is not a sound marketing plan.

One thing that viral marketing rarely does is help build businesses and brands long term. Content that goes viral has a short life span, disappearing as quickly as it appeared. The added attention that comes with going viral is short lived.

There is one thing businesses can take away from wanting to go viral, however: going viral, like good marketing strategies, is all about good content that captures the attention of it’s intended audience as its foundation. Instead of hoping to “hit it big” instantly by going viral, focus on creating good content and messaging that has your target audience in mind and doing it on a regular basis. By creating content that offers value to your audience, you’ll build your brand and your business and get all the results you would get from going viral. It takes effort and time, but when done right, the results last much longer than any content that has gone viral.

Building a business and a brand takes time and it takes a lot of work. Like many things, you need to do the work if you want to get the results. Hoping to be an over night success is a dream, not a strategy.

If you or your business needs help developing a content marketing strategy that works, contact Cognicom Media today.