No money is exchanged, and this decision is motivated by the genuine feeling of the user that this content will be valuable to their followers and contacts. People will believe their friends’ genuine recommendations of content before anything else. This is the word-of-mouth nature of social media at its best.

What makes something go viral?

Unfortunately, there is no formula that is cast in stone for this one.

"We’ve noticed a trend among pieces that have gone viral: they respond to a deep-seated emotion in a person. Something inside of them sparks their interest or curiosity and persuades them to spend however long it takes to read the blog post or watch a video," says Lisa Schneider, DSM, managing director.

Copywriters use the same formula when they construct their copy. They weave a web of copy that is strung together with one central idea, which has the ultimate purpose of persuading the reader to take action and buy the goods or services that they are selling. Copywriters, in actual fact, are like salespeople. Instead of using verbal means to sell the products, they use words.

What are some of the best videos to have gone viral in 2018?

Nando’s is quite undoubtedly the leader when it comes to South African viral marketing. The company keeps a razor-sharp eye on what’s happening on the political and social landscape in South Africa and translates this succinctly into a story, which helps to boost sales of its chicken.

Viral videos don’t even have to be made recently. For example, after the landmark Constitutional Court ruling in September 2018, which legalised the use of dagga in a private residence, an ad that was made by Nando’s in the 1990s went viral. This depicted an elderly couple bringing their Rastafarian neighbours a packet of Nando’s.

Further afield, videos of animals performing extraordinary feats plucked at the emotions of viewers and prompted these videos to go viral. For example, in June 2018 the video of a raccoon ascending a 25-story building captured the imaginations of viewers.

They tuned in religiously every morning to watch the progress of this little creature up the building. In California in the United States, a video of a flock of pelicans gate crashing a graduation ceremony at Pepperdine University received 444 000 views.

Another genre of video to go viral in 2018 deals with feats that caught the world’s imagination. For example, a video of a man from Mali, risking his life to rescue a boy in Paris, went viral. Another video was of Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano erupting and devouring close onto 75 homes.

We will probably never know the real reason why some videos go viral and others don’t. The trick is to keep producing content that speaks to your brand and upholds your ethos.

Don’t produce content simply because you want it to go viral. If this is your only goal in mind, you won’t gather long-lasting subscribers for your company.

For more information, visit www.digitalschoolofmarketing.co.za or contact info@digitalschoolofmarketing.co.za. You can also follow DSM on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.
2018 brought in a whirlwind of new hashtags, themes, topics and campaigns on social media. Wondering which campaigns were the crème de la crème? Take a look at the Top three social media campaigns of 2018.