It seems like everything a teenager and young person posts, goes viral, but what is their secret? Is there a secret sauce to launching into "fame" on Instagram or TikTok?
If there is, how do small business owners learn the secret and launch our products and services through the roof? Let's deep dive and talk about what it is that makes teenagers and young content creators the ideal candidates to go viral and how small business owners can borrow from that formula to get more reach and engagement.
Business owners! Gather around for the "Curious Case of the Viral Video". (Too much?) We all agree that that statement wouldn't get me to go viral on Instagram, but teenagers and young creators are uniquely qualified to reign as the kings and queens of viral videos. Here are the things that uniquely qualify them to go viral:
Built in Audience
They already have their target audience built in. In fact, it's pretty air tight and that's the first ingredient in their ability to go viral so easily. When you are posting to your EXACT target audience, your followers immediately (or promptly) react to your content.
With your followers engaging quickly (within the first hour), Instagram starts to read your content as "valuable". (Valuable content here is anything that Instagram can leverage to keep people on their app longer.) Once Instagram registers your content as potentially valuable, they then start to suggest it to people who aren't already following you. (Bring on the audience growth!) What this does is drive new traffic your way and gives Instagram a better gauge for the value of your content.
Now if the people who AREN'T following you (yet) start to engage, the Instagram algorithm starts to think... "We've got a hit!" Then they start pushing it more (and sometimes places it on the Explore Page)! Now you're viraling out of control once this happens! (See what I did there?)
The first thing small business owners need to focus on is finding their target audience and building it everyday. Who are the people that are interested in what your business has to offer? Business owners must answer this question and always create content for this group of people. One this audience is built, the rest of the formula will start to fall into place
User influence refers to the type of user that is liking and sharing your content. Are they occasional users of the app or are they power users? By default, most teenagers and young influencers are followed by their peers who happen to be power users of almost all social media apps (and cell phones in general). This means they have more influence on the algorithm since they are creating most or all of the data that guides the algorithm.
When power users like and share content, the Instagram algorithm takes note. They're only the single most influential users driving content consumption on the app, right? With more power users than not consuming and engaging with your content, the algorithm is bond to favor your content and start to push it! In a matter of hours, teens could find themselves on the new level of stardom just off of the strength of their followers app usage.
A best practice for small business owners would be to produce shareable content that could potentially be appealing to the power users in your niche. If you get them engaging with your content, you're one step closer to that viral moment.
Quantity of Content
The last element of going viral is quantity. Teens and young influencers post a LOT of content. Some of it may seem meaningless and some may be thoughtful. The point is that there are tons of chances for them to go viral because they are posting tons of content. You never really know what will become viral, but the odds are in your favor, the more you post.
Small business owner will need to borrow from the consistency of the teens' content strategy (and not necessarily the randomness of it). We have to consistently show up and showcase our products and services to have a chance at growth (and maybe a viral post).
Now all of this sounds simple enough, but there's lots of work that goes into these elements (on the part of business owners). Nothing is baked-in or automatic for our businesses, but we have the knowledge to recreate the "viral atmosphere" at least. Now, let's all go produce some shareable content and blast it to our target audience!