Want your Facebook post to go viral?
Get Facebook shares!
Likes and comments are great, but the most valuable Facebook engagement you can get is a share.
When your Facebook Page post is shared, it appears on the sharer’s Timeline so their friends see it.
Now you can go viral, as shares multiply from friend to friend!
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The Facebook content most likely to go viral.
- The benefits of going viral.
- Why people share on Facebook.
- How to increase your Facebook shares so you can go viral.
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links to products I’ve used with great success. If you make a purchase through my link, I’ll receive a referral fee, at no cost to you.
Which Facebook posts go viral?
A study conducted by BuzzSumo analyzed more than 1 billion Facebook posts and learned…
The most-shared Facebook Page content is Photo and Video.
Not a photographer? How can you get Facebook shares with photos?
Before you decide it’s too expensive or complicated – remember that “Photos” on Facebook means any kind of image.
I’ve had terrific results using Stencil to create quote images in seconds. The simple one below was shared by almost 20% of my Fans!
The Pro version of Stencil allows many customizations for a monthly cost under $10US (if paid annually). Or you can use the basic version free!
And there are over 100,000 quotes right in the app 🙂 Free photos too!
There are lots of EASY ways to make picture quotes online.
As well as iPhone apps to add text to photos.
Pick one of these tools and have all your design needs covered! Or make it easy…
What words should I make into a graphic to go viral?
Ask a question your audience would love to answer! This can help you with market research, and boost your reach at the same time.
A question made into a graphic is quite powerful for engagement with your audience. Any of my recommended tools can help you make one!
However, in most niches, a question is unlikely to get shared and actually go viral.
But popular quotes work well! As I noted, there are more than you could ever use in Stencil.
Of course, you want to use quotes that align with your business. So consider these:
- Showcase your brand culture to build community.
- Quote from your own blog or book to build authority.
- Educate with surprising stats or useful tips in your niche.*
- Entertain, express, or emote (more on this in the motivation section below).
Stats and tips go viral especially when they’re surprising. If people are surprised by your information, they’ll want to share this unexpected information with others.
Which images go viral?
As you browse photos that are safe for commercial use, note which ones stand out. That’s always a great place to start!
Besides quotes and pets, other topics proven to increase engagement:
Facebook users love to comment and share posts on these topics! If any can be adapted to your niche, use liberally.
If it fits with your business brand, photos with shock value can be quite popular. Try being a bit “outside the box” and see how that goes.
Funny memes are a great choice, and even better when you post one that ties into your business.
More time consuming but worth considering: creating infographics. If your business is about educating through stats or tutorials, charts and infographics are a great option for you as people love to share fascinating data presented well visually.
These help people visualize important or shocking statistics, making them more meaningful, interesting, and shareable.
The Benefits of Facebook Shares that Go Viral
If you have the skill to combine a quote and a photo – you’re golden! My favorite design tools make it easy.
I posted this quote graphic one evening to my Yoga Fan Page, and it was immediately shared to a Fan Page with a huge fan base.
Result? In 4 days: a total of 143 shares, visibility to a large audience (5x as large as my Page’s fan base), and – I gained 62 new Fans!
The huge thing is I had 693 “People Talking About This” – and at that time, I only had 107 Fans! What a way to increase your Facebook reach.
I can’t guarantee you dozens of new Fans, but I do believe the visibility for your Page is worth the effort to make shareable images.
Why Do People Share on Facebook?
When deciding what to post on Facebook, it’s wise to take a moment to consider what makes people share.
Fractl conducted a survey of 2,000 people and asked them about what they share on Facebook and why. They asked specifically about sharing third-party content – i.e., clicking the share button on someone else’s Facebook content, or posting a link from a website.
The most popular reason for sharing, at 48 percent, was to entertain friends.
“I share things that my friends will find interesting.”
If we experience something fun or different, we naturally tell our friends, because we want them to have the same experience. This also applies to sharing content online.
What experience can you convey in your content that others people will want to share to entertain their Facebook friends?
A smaller group of respondents, at 17 percent, wanted to express the issues they cared about.
“I share things that inform my friends of the things I care about.”
Evoking an emotional response came in third place, at 13 percent.
“I share things that will make my friends feel something (happiness, sadness, anger, etc).”
Content that gets shared appeals to emotion. When you excite people, whether in a good or a shocking way, people are going to take notice.
This is actually the biggest reason people share content, even if they don’t identify it as such.
Think about what you can do within your industry that will excite emotions. Some common ways to do this are to post funny videos or inspirational content.
You can get a big emotional impact with a controversial post that expresses issues at the same time. As a business, you’ll want to be careful with this one so you don’t alienate part of your audience.
In fourth is providing useful information, at 11 percent.
“I share things that my friends will find useful.”
Although only 11 percent share on Facebook primarily to educate, it’s still a worthwhile content category to pursue. 55% of users polled said they do like to share content that’s useful.
When you give out great information and help someone get results, then they’ll naturally want to tell people about you. They might even feel a little obligated to do something for you, because you helped them out!
What content can you create that will help someone get a specific result?
Consider a mix of the content types appropriate to your business.
Also of note is that 52% of sharers said they share things to present a certain image of themselves.
Similarly, this New York Times study found that 68% of people want to give other people a sense of who they are and what they value/care about. The content they share is designed to reinforce the image they want to project to other people, e.g., as person who is thoughtful, caring, interesting, etc.
Quizzes work fantastically for this. I’m sure you see your Facebook friends sharing their quiz results often!
How do your Fans see themselves, and want others to see them?
Get this right, and you’re sure to go viral.
How to Increase Shares on Facebook
Now that you’ve got your shareable image, try these tips to increase the chance of going viral!
Share your own Fan Page posts
All shares of shares are attributed to the original source – so start by posting on your Fan Page to get the visibility.
Then share from your Page to your personal profile to get your friends involved – when it’s relevant.
Don’t share from your profile to your Page, or you’ll kill your Page post reach.
“Shares” do get less visibility in the Facebook news feed, as FB seems to consider them lukewarm news. So if you post first to your personal profile, you’re shooting your Fan Page reach in the foot, before you even get the post out of the gate.
Page first, then profile!
Should you ask for shares on Facebook?
Sometimes! It’s not an easy yes-or-no.
Facebook has said they’ll penalize Pages that are asking fans to share spammy posts. These posts might link to ad-filled sites. Facebook has promised to decrease the reach on such posts.
Most Facebook gurus, including Mari Smith, believe it’s OK to ask for a share of a quality post – occasionally.
Pages running contests ask fans to share, and it works for them!
So the caveat is: create Facebook posts that people want to share. Then it’s fine to suggest they share, from time to time.
Mari posts important Facebook news on her page, and often closes by suggesting Fans share if it’s of interest to their audience. I’ve done the same.
Even if Facebook frowns on using a call-to-action with the words Like, Comment, or Share, you could try something like, “Spread the encouragement!”
Here are more great ideas from Mannix Marketing:
To get more shares, say…
Spread the word.
Tell a friend.
Tell your friends.
Don’t keep this to yourself.
Tell the world.
Clicking on the number of shares brings up a window with all Public or friend shares. If available, click Like or comment on their post via your personal profile.
If shared by a Page, you can Like and comment as your Page.
By increasing their engagement, you’ll help the share get more visibility, and encourage them to share again in the future.
You can also upload the image to your website and Pin it to Pinterest from there. Include the link for people to repin in a comment on your Facebook post.
Tag someone for an extra boost on Facebook!
If you use one of my recommended tools, you can easily find free photos right in the app.
Many of these sites require you to notify the artists / photographers when you use their work. When using the images on Facebook, this can actually increase your shares!
Alert the artist by tagging them in your Facebook post.
On some free photo sites, you can also leave a comment with a link showing how you used their image. Do it!
The image below – a Memorial Day cover photo – got a great number of shares on a quiet holiday weekend! The artist shared with his friends and fans, and so on…
Don’t know the artist? You could tag a few people you know would be interested in your post.
Don’t overuse this though, as it could get annoying. That’s the last thing you want to happen!
One more thing to consider is encouraging shares through a Facebook contest.
This is definitely more time-consuming to set up than the other ideas above, and you’ll want to be sure to follow Facebook’s contest rules.
Share others’ content
An easy way to jump right in and get others to share your content is to share theirs!
This can be informal, where you share another blog or social media account’s content, and hope they’ll return the favor. Or it can be more organized, like Facebook networking groups.
This post was originally published on June 7, 2012, and last updated on June 9, 2021.
Conclusion: How to go viral on Facebook
How about you – what has worked well for you on Facebook? What catches your eye in the News Feed and gets you to share? Comment below.
If this has helped you learn how to get Facebook shares that go viral, take your next step!