How to Create a Viral Campaign That Works – An Example

Viral campaigns are everywhere. From TikTok to Instagram, TikTok helps you discover new things and lets you engage with content that is specially curated for you.

Whether you opt for a live stream or a series of short-form videos, you’ll often see the same themes, narratives, and characters. The goal is to inspire people to share, like, and comment on content that is designed to go viral.

While it’s easy to make fun of these campaigns, or to ignore them altogether, you can also learn a lot from studying popular trends and creating your own viral campaigns. Let’s have a look at how one company used humour to gain popularity and how you can apply this knowledge to ignite your next viral campaign.

The Role of Humour

On the front lines of today’s marketing wars, marketers are duking it out for consumers’ attention across all digital platforms. The goal is to cut through the clutter and achieve a level of engagement that drives business growth. One platform that has emerged as the go-to spot for consumers searching for viral content is TikTok.

Since launching in 2015, TikTok has exploded in popularity and now boasts over 500 million monthly active users across all platforms. And, if you’ve watched any of the popular kids’ shows of the last few years, you’ll know that children are being raised in a constantly distracted world. With screens in every room and screens attached to every gadget and appliance, children are growing up in a world full of digital distractions.

As a result, social media is influencing children’s media in a big way. From the increasing presence of digital characters to the influence of adult content on kids’ programming, the lines are blurred between childhood and adulthood on social media.

So, if you’re running a marketing campaign on social media, how do you stand out? One of the best practices on TikTok is using humour to gain popular support. From the iconic red devil mascot to the awkward gorilla dance that went viral, every aspect of the platform is permeated with a playful spirit. From branding to content, everything is designed to be as engaging as possible. The whole point is to make people want to share your content, so that they’ll get the coveted blue ticks next to their name. And, for many marketers, that means creating content that is entertaining and easy to share.

So, how do you create viral content for your business? One proven approach is to use humour. In the same way that marketers have embraced the power of humour on TikTok, why not take the lesson elsewhere? Why not use the same tools to create content to pull in customers for your business?

The Viral Campaign on TikTok

When you watch the viral content on TikTok, you’ll see a handful of common themes. Here’s a shortlist.

  • An entertaining, short-form video often featuring a mix of strong female characters and a splash of comedy
  • Viral campaigns usually involve some kind of competition or game, whether it’s a puzzle, a memory game, or a trivia question
  • Regularly featured are animals of some sort, whether it’s a dog or rabbit contest, a hunt, or a fight scene between animals
  • Characters dance or sing while sometimes being inspired by pop culture or current events
  • The videos always end with a cliffhanger or a tantalizing tease that leaves the audience wanting more

Based on this content formula, let’s have a look at how to create a viral campaign for your business. Keep in mind that the tools and strategies discussed here can be applied across all markets and all industries, not just marketing and communications.

1. Identify the type of video you want to create.

To start, you need to identify the type of video you want to create. This will depend on your desired outcome for the campaign. If you’re looking for short-form videos to boost engagement on your Instagram account or your business’s website, you may want to create an explainer video, a video series, or a mix of both. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to consider how you will engage with your audience. One highly successful approach on TikTok is to offer competitions, games, and trivia challenges. To learn more, visit our blog post on 11 tips for creating engaging content for Instagram.

2. Find the right platform.

Now that you have the type of content you want to create, you need to find the right platform. For many, this will be TikTok. Depending on your goals for this campaign, you may want to consider starting on a smaller platform, such as TikTok’s Stories, and growing your audience from there. Alternatively, you can experiment with various platforms, using tools like Google Analytics to learn which one is performing the best.

The more people you can reach, the more likely you are to succeed. So, while it may be tempting to set up shop on the hugely popular TikTok, you should instead explore platforms like TikTok’s smaller, more intimate cousin, TikTok Stories. This way, you can reach more people and encourage them to engage with your content. Plus, by creating content for these smaller platforms first, you give yourself the opportunity to learn from your mistakes. If you’re looking for inspiration, the best place to be is on TikTok, but if you’re looking for a successful campaign, avoid using the most popular platform available for the sake of popularity alone.

3. Find the right style and format.

Once you have your platform selected, it’s time to find the right style and format for your content. Different platforms will emphasize different aspects of content, so you may need to experiment with various formats to find the right one for your needs. For example, if you’re filming on mobile or using a cellphone lens, you may want to avoid landscapes and opt for more of a high-contrast look. This can be achieved through the style and format of your images or videos.

One popular trend on newer platforms, like TikTok, is hyper-realistic anime characters. While these characters can be highly engaging, they can also be a little hard to animate. If you decide to go down this route, you will need to film in 2D rather than 3D to achieve that hyper-realistic look. The more you can do to appeal to as many people as possible, the more likely you are to succeed in drawing in the viewers.

What Will Your Viral Campaign Include?

When it comes to creating a viral campaign, you’ll need to consider what you want your content to include. From the type of platform you’ll use to the style and format of your videos, this will all depend on your desired outcome for the campaign. Remember; no two viral campaigns are the same. So, while we can learn a lot from studying the trends, you should also set yourself new challenges and experiments along the way.

Here’s a shortlist of some of the key things to include in your content strategy.

  • A clear call to action
  • Realistic images of your product or service
  • High-quality sound
  • Entertaining or educational content
  • Short bursts of entertaining or educational content, or a mix of both
  • Varying content for different platforms
  • Regularly updated content
  • Cross-platform content, such as Facebook videos supporting a YouTube channel, can further increase reach to audiences outside of your niche.

With the key ingredients in mind, you can sit back and hit the publish button, knowing you’ve done the groundwork to make your content go viral.

If you’re looking for inspiration, or if you’re new to the whole concept, you can study the trends on TikTok to see what content formats and styles are currently popular. From there, you can craft your own viral content strategy. Don’t be afraid to take a little bit of what you’ve learned and use it to challenge your creative instincts.

So, as you can see, having a clear idea of your desired outcome for your viral campaign is vital. From there, you can craft the perfect content strategy to pull in the right audience, engage them, and encourage them to take action, like, share, and comment on your content.