Social media marketing is extremely popular nowadays. It seems that regardless of the size of a particular business. The people behind it have either looked into or are currently considering social media marketing. Company size doesn’t have anything to do with it. In fact, the interest in social media marketing for businesses ranges from the smallest one-man shop to large multinational corporations. Social media marketing is extremely hot right now and it’s easy to understand why. Social media marketing works!

When you establish a presence on Facebook, you can reach not only the people who are paying attention to your brand, but their friends as well. The good news is that it doesn’t stop here. If the friends of their friends find your content engaging enough, they can take action on your content. They can even share that content. When they do that, your brand’s reach becomes exponential. It’s easy to understand why this is the case.

When a person paying attention to your content shares your content on their personal wall, their friends subconsciously think that they somehow or someway endorse the content that they are sharing. This makes your content more trustworthy and people are more likely to, in their turn, share your content. Do you see how this all works out? It’s no surprise that a lot of high-quality content on Facebook develop explosive reach because people keep sharing and resharing.

Now that I’ve established how social media propagates itself, I have to warn you not to get too excited. You might be thinking that you just need to get on Facebook, post some content, and all of a sudden your content will reach all the way from Alaska to Arabia. I wish that was the case. It doesn’t happen automatically. There are several key factors you need to be crystal clear on.

Remember, it’s all about the MEDIA: The importance of content

A lot of people keep repeating the mantra “social media marketing.” They keep repeating it-like sheep! They keep saying that this is a great marketing method. It absolutely is. The problem is they often overlook the most important part of that phrase. What is the most important part? The media. In other words, the stuff that you’re sharing.

If your friends on Facebook keep sharing the same annoying memes, then pay attention. There’s something about that content that they find so compelling that they’re willing to look like idiots in front of their other friends because they shared that content. Pay attention to this. Make it work to your advantage. Certain pieces of content on Facebook go viral, most don’t. It’s all about the media. Unfortunately, a lot of people have a talismanic mindset when it comes to social media marketing. They just think that you just need to share content on social media and after people click a button that piece of content will spread like wildfire. It doesn’t work that way. You have to pay attention to the content that you are using because this is the vehicle for your brand.

Viral content: Easier said than done

It’s easy to get excited about viral content. I mean, how many funny cat videos have you seen on Facebook. You see it all the time. Maybe you like them. Maybe you’re annoyed by them. What cannot be denied is that there’s something about those videos that people just feel compelled to share. The problem here is that it’s easy to think that if you were just able to pin your brand on those piece of viral content, your brand will get famous. The problem is, that’s easier said than done.

There are tons of content being shared on Facebook as you read this. Almost all of them, “the vast majority”, don’t get viral. That’s the cold hard reality you need to wrap your mind around. Don’t get too excited about the fact that things do go viral. You’re only looking at the winners. You’re blind to the huge number of losers out there.

If you want to increase the chances that whatever content you will be sharing will go viral, pay attention to the following “virality” factors. These factors are not exhaustive. Also, keep in mind that just because you follow all these factors doesn’t automatically mean that your content will go viral. There are many other factors out there. Still, if you nail these, you tremendously increase the likelihood that whatever you’re sharing will gain traction on Facebook and other social media platforms.

Virality Factor: Easy to share

Great content is easy to share. Those annoying quotation pictures, they’re easy to share because there’s an emotional trigger there. They say something that you only need to invest one second of reading time and you quickly get it. Best of all, they get you where it counts. They get you at the emotional level.

Virality Factor: Appeal to their eyes

Good-looking content like pictures and highly-engaging media like videos are easier to share and are more likely to go viral. While some text comments do go viral from time to time, the chances of this happening is quite rare. You have to share something really, really profound for people to want to push that content onto their friends.

Virality Factor: Easy to understand

You have to remember that people are very busy on Facebook. In fact, most people use Facebook through mobile devices. They’re constantly scrolling down. Your content must be very easy to get and very easy to understand. Also, it has to appeal on a visceral or emotional level. The processing time must be split-second. When I see a very inspiring picture quote on Facebook, I know what it is instantly. I get an emotional response and if I get moved strongly enough, I click the share button. Make your content that easy to understand.

Mix it up

The secret to social media marketing is to share both viral and non-viral content. Why? The non-viral stuff that you’re sharing is highly-targeted. People are not going to push on your promotional content to their friends. But if it’s so targeted and speaks to the needs of your followers, there’s a pretty good chance you can convert with that traffic. You mix things up with viral content that is very catchy, but is not super commercial. Still, this content is targeted as far as the range of interests your particular Facebook page or social media account caters to. When people share this content, they get an opportunity to click the like button and join your distribution list. On Twitter, they can choose to follow you.

Make sure your brand is front and center when sharing viral content

I can’t emphasize this enough. When you’re sharing viral content, make sure that your brand is somehow or someway mentioned. You have to be a little bit tricky because you don’t want to look like a spammer. On Twitter, makes sure that you @ account handle is mentioned. When you’re sharing on Facebook, make sure you share a post on your page, instead of direct link. Why? When people share this information enough, people can “like” your page and become part of your distribution list.

Final note: It takes time to get big on social media

As exciting as social media marketing can be, keep in mind that it will take time. Focus on getting a smaller but better targeted group of people. Consistency is the key. Don’t expect tons of page likes to happen overnight. Focus instead on attracting the right people and filtering these people. This paves the way for a high level of conversion later on.