No, not everything will go viral.

No, not everything will go viral.

Social Media Trends

No, not everything can go viral.

Have you ever had your boss/client/parent ask you to make something go “viral?” Yeah. We’ve been there too.

You could explain that “going viral” has a technical definition where the average viewer successfully refers and brings in more than one new viewer, resulting in explosive growth. And that, by its very definition, “virality” is impossible to sustain and very difficult to achieve. But really, most people don’t care about the definitions of virality — they want to consistently achieve explosive growth.

Most things don’t get many shares

Everyone is aware that most things don’t go viral, but really, even popular websites have a hard time getting a large number of shares for most of their content. Scanvine provides data on the number of Facebook shares per article on the some of Internet’s most popular websites.

Think that new media organizations are just doing better? Well, not everything from BuzzFeed or Upworthy goes viral either.

Even for new media publishers who stake their reputation of social content and virality, only a small portion of the articles account for a large number of pageviews and shares.

So, wait — what can I do?

You can’t make everything go viral, but you can test headlines for social media and determine what language gives a boost to your viral spread.

If something has the potential to go viral, you should optimize for multiple generations of growth.. A piece of content that reaches many generations in a short period of time has a much higher probability explosive growth. ShareProgress can track generations of shares for your content and help you identify which ones could become viral with a little extra nudge.

No, not everything can go viral. But you can be prepared to seize the moment when you find something that can.

Image credits via Scanvine and Facebook thumbnail via New Organizing Institute.

Written By

Kimberly Munoz