12 Sep Going Viral
Most people know what this term means. For those who don’t, “going viral” essentially means that a lot of people have shared your photo/video/blog post/website, etcetera, and you are now what the youngin’s call “internet famous”. The majority of the time you do not get to choose or control how, if, or when you go viral, and just how popular you become. It is a shock to most to whom it happens. The reality is that most of us will never experience viral success on our own.
There is not a magic formula for how to get your website or brand on the first page of Google or other search engines, or to garner thousands of Instagram and/or Twitter followers. If you want an honest brand that represents who you truly are, you have to make connections and pound the pavement yourself. I can’t stress this enough. Tell everyone you know that you have a website; start following your friends and fellow business owners with similar interests on social media; utilize hashtags; start a newsletter (and actually USE IT); engage with followers in meaningful dialogue when they comment on your posts; post relevant blogs that address what clients and potential clients ask you most about. You have a lot of power to drive traffic to your website by how you behave on and offline.
Here are some additional key points to help you kick start your online presence:
- Begin by selecting and purchasing a “short, but sweet” domain name that is easy to remember and relevant to your business or products.
- Utilize as many social media accounts as humanly possible. Take advantage of their hashtags, comments, recommendations, ratings, and messages. (Set up a Buffer account that allows you to post to multiple social media accounts with one click. This will make it easier for you and save you some time.)
- Talk to people in REAL life, and give them your website address and/or social media handles. Hand out business cards; put up fliers. It may not seem to pay off immediately, but person-to-person contact is still the best way to make a memory for someone who might want your product or service.
- Advertise, or consider using a short online campaign with a company such as Groupon or Living Social.
- Take e-mail addresses through a pop-up or plugin and commit yourself to writing an e-mail newsletter that gets sent out at least once a month.
- START A BLOG! Rotating content on your website will turn out to be your best friend when it comes to search engines. When you start to become popular, it can also be a great source of revenue for your business. Double-win!
- Ask a friend to link to your website in one of their blogs or posts, and do the same for them. Pingbacks and Trackbacks can be a good resource, too*, and they are generally good for SEO.
- If you are an “expert” at something, consider volunteering to write an article for a well-established news website or blog to gain some visibility.
- Follow or watch other “viral” content and take a page or two from their books. You can learn a lot by watching YouTube videos, reading articles that have tons of reads or comments, and looking at social media accounts of those who are in the news.
- Say something controversial or unconventional or outrageous. Controversy piques interest, so using keywords or titles — whether in a blog or on Twitter — that are slightly contentious or otherwise litigious can get you a lot of attention online. Be VERY careful with this one, and think twice or even thrice before you hit the “Post” button because it will follow you… for a very long time. I, of course, also do not advise that you invoke racism or sexism or anything prejudicial, because it is just fundamentally wrong to do as a human being.
If you have questions, you can e-mail me anytime or start a dialogue in the comment section below.
*Some people don’t care much for pingbacks and trackbacks because it can invite spam on a platform like WordPress, but you can tone that noise down with a plugin like Akismet. Discuss this with your web developer.