The internet has made web users able to share information in seconds, all with a simple click of a mouse.  That’s why some videos, images and status updates can reach a large number of people and accumulate thousands of views and shares, within just a few days.

There is no handbook for what makes media go viral.  In fact, people have tried to create those sometimes silly viral videos that get passed around in email chains with varying levels of success.

In the September edition of Public Relations Tactics, PRSA’s Ann Wylie shares media researcher Dan Zarrella’s tips on how to write Facebook updates that can go viral.  While none of these tips can guarantee you a hit, they can certainly help improve your chances and help your business make its mark.

To help your Facebook buzz, Wylie recommends four guidelines to follow:

  1. Do the math.  Everyone knows that magazine editors have been placing numbers on covers to sell issues for years, so take a page from their book.  Add a number to your headline or status update on Facebook – top three tips, five things to know, etc.  Another suggestion is to keep the number between one and nine, as people are more apt to share something that reads “seven successful strategies,” rather than “20 simple solutions.”
  2. Increase readability.  Simply put, the easier to digest, the more likely people are to share it on Facebook. So keep your sentences short and to the point.
  3. Drop the modifiers.  Research shows that people less likely share adverbs and adjectives, and more likely to share verbs.  In Facebook, as in life, the verb is the story.
  4. Choose words that you can share.  Superlatives, like “best” and “most“  perform well on Facebook.  It’s also interesting to note, that the word “you” is the most retweeted word in the English language.


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