Facebook defines “virality” as the percentage of people who created a story or post out of the total number of people who saw your post in a news feed or on your page. Brian Carter, internet marketer and Facebook analytics specialist, teamed up with marketing automation software company Marketo to create an eBook, “Contagious Content: What People Share on Facebook and Why They Share It,” to help us understand what makes a post go viral.


“It is not enough to post current events, holidays, ‘woohoo it’s Friday,’ and ‘boo it’s Monday,'” explains Carter. “You need to … address the lifestyle, obstacles, and dreams of your target audience.” Facebook makes it increasingly simple to reach your target audience through post promotion to specific demographic groups, such as age and geographic location. Carter offers seven points to make your posts more effective in reaching your audience and beyond.


Group of Business People Planning Global Business Strategy

Facebook makes targeting your audience very easy,     but how do you reach beyond that audience?

1. GIVE. Offers, discounts, deals, and contests are all things that can be useful not only to your audience but also to their friends. Carter references a Facebook analytics study by the New York Times which found that 94 percent of Facebook users consider how helpful a link is to a friend before sharing.


2. ADVISE. Giving tips everyone can use is another way to get your audience to share your good ideas and offer page promotion.



3. WARN. Warnings about dangers that can affect everyone, such as weather hazards to people in your surrounding area, can bring about a sense of authority and will cause more attention.


4. AMUSE. Funny pictures and quotes, as long as they aren’t offensive, can be one of the biggest attention-grabbers. Just be sure to keep your posts G- or PG-rated — while your initial audience may be more accepting of certain material, it may offend other groups and inhibit sharing.


5. INSPIRE. Inspirational quotes and photos give people a sense of togetherness and hope that will enable increased sharing and community.


6. AMAZE. Incredible facts and photos that your audience will not be able to ignore in their news feed will enable them to want to share the startling fact with their friends.


7. UNITE. Creating posts that act as a flag for your fans to come together will send your rally cry into their friends’ news feeds.


Carter also advises against some common mistakes that will prevent your post from making it into the big leagues:

1. Talking about yourself. People don’t care about your press releases. It is good to keep your audience updated on your company and what you stand for, but those posts will not get you shares. Moderate the amount of these posts.
2. Being too edgy/offensive. As previously stated, keeping the rating of your post to a G- or PG-rating will allow your post to reach more audiences and build a positive reputation for your brand.
3. Being too obscure or niche. Making references to a current pop culture television show may create a connection with the audience who has seen the show, but the reference will be lost on everyone else. We need to create content with mainstream values — things anyone can relate to.
4. Asking for likes. If you outright ask for a “like,” this may cause people to forget about sharing the post. If you’re going to ask for “likes,” ask for likes and shares.


What social media strategies are you implementing to create a stronger brand and reach a wider audience? Let’s talk marketing strategies for the 21st century here in the comments below, or you can tweet me @TiffaniJPurdy.