Why Things Go Viral | Provecho


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Why Things Go Viral

Conrad DeMasi


Fri Sep 01 2023

I used to think that the only surefire way to go viral was by posting cute cat pics on the Internet. But, after being in the industry for a while, and seeing creators like @cheffinwithzach, @thetessasmith, @cookingwithkian and @salthank and so many others go from 0 to millions of followers in a matter of months, there are a couple shortcut strategies that you can take… especially when it comes to food.

1. All tech companies think the same. Every single big platform has the exact same incentive → to keep people engaged and on their platform. In practice this means content that gets people’s attention will do well. Content that gets people taking action on a post, will do even better. Doesn’t matter if it’s TikTok, Youtube or LinkedIn. Content that will get people to spend time on your post, like, comment, hit your profile, etc. will always win.

2. People only care about themselves. Kind of like telling a joke… it only works if you make other people laugh. Relatability IMO is the most important part of social media. Here’s an example of a dude going to the airport, looking at his gate. Then turning around to go get food. This same video concept has gone viral hundreds of times, on every social channel that I can think of. The reason? Everyone does this (even if they don't realize they do.) We watch it, snicker, and then share it with our bestie / sibling. Boom, algorithmic lighter fluid.

3. Eliciting actions. Saves, comments and shares are some of the most powerful algorithm boosters for the reasons above. So, make content with that in mind. Create a post with useful information about something (recipes do really well for this because people want to come back and make it later.) Get someone to comment on your video by doing something relatable. Another thing a lot of creators do (for better or worse) is they’ll mess up in the video

4. Be a lil strange. You need a thumb stopping moment EARLY in your video (first couple seconds.) One way to do that is by having a unique opener. @thetessasmith is a queen for this (side note, Tessa is one of the coolest, nicest people we've ever worked with.) At the beginning of each video, she looks you square in the eye, appearing to be bored while cooking a bomb meal. In the end she breaks character and you see the real goofy Tessa for a split second.

5. Watch time. You know those 7 second videos with a long thing of text that randomly pop up on your feed every now and then? The reason those do well is because while you read the first piece of literature since 6th grade (damn screenagers), The entire video time is completing, and going through a second time. This is also the reason the food creators will add a creative ending and opening line that ties together into a loop. If people watch your video over and over again, your watch time score goes up!f

6. Showing your face. This is a scary one for a lot of people. Myself included! Agh, what if my hair's messed up, what if I don’t have a cute outfit, blah blah. Point is, people recognize and attach to faces. Posts that have human faces in them statistically do 50X better than those without them. Oh also if you’re worried about looking perfect, remember that one of the main draws about short form content is how relatable it is. Sometimes it’s just one of those days where you were scarfing down a bagel over the sink moments prior. We’ve all been there. Showing people who you are… like actually are. Is way more important than anything else.