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Creating viral style posts for Facebook and Instagram

We all want our posts to reach the optimum number of people each and every time we post. Depending on your followers and likes on Facebook and Instagram will depend on if your posts really have the likelihood of going ‘viral’ but you can create a big buzz around your posts with ‘viral style’ posting.

What do we mean by viral? While a virus is a pretty bad thing, i.e. “A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apart from a living cell. A virus invades living cells and uses their chemical machinery to keep itself alive and to replicate itself. ” (Source: https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=5997), a viral post is a good thing from a marketing point of view. It’s a post that spreads in an organic-type way that is hyper-sharable. It’s the ultimate goal for any post. For a small local business, a viral-style post may not reach the heady heights of Apple or fidget spinners, such as these examples here but if it gets a high level of shares, likes and/or comments then that’s a fantastic free boost to your business.

Creating viral-style posts isn’t always easy because the sentiment of your audience changes on a daily basis. It generally follows a similar formula; it touches on a current popular theme or interest, it uses very shareable images, it ‘speaks’ to your audience and it’s posted at the right time.

Popular themes and interests

The first key factor is hitting the right note through a popular theme or interest. It might be something in the news, it might be a fashionable subject, something that’s trending… you get the idea. The challenge is not being too controversial. While some pages may get lots of traction being controversial, for a professional business it’s normally advisable to stay well away from anything that could offend or divide your audience too much.

Shareable imagery

Your imagery should also be shareable. On Facebook and Instagram, the old cliches still work: chocolate cake, coffee, cute cats and dogs. If the image is boring or too abstract it may reduce your chances of reaching a wider audience. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo though. The ‘Be like Bill’ image is still going strong:

And many other badly drawn cartoons. Just be aware that you need to have written permission to share/edit any image you haven’t bought or taken yourself. So avoid film images etc unless you’re willing to take a big risk. There’s more details about copyright guidelines here on gov.uk and Practical Law UK

Posts that speak to your audience

Not sure how to create a post that ‘speaks’ to your audience? This one can be tricky. If your audience knows you personally and you’ve featured yourself on your posts regularly, then something personal about you can be the answer. If your business is a little ‘faceless’ then you need something that they strongly identify with. Your post might talk about a challenge they have, right now or on a regular basis. It might be something that reflects a current feeling or current conversation… but the nuances are important.


Finally, your timing must be impeccable. We use our own software to track when is the best time to post and on which days for each of our clients. You may need to rely on a little trial and error in order to get the timing right. Certain days are better for more serious posts, other days can be more likely to go viral just because a larger portion of your audience are on their phones.

Another top tip for you though – if you do manage to get a really good post going on Facebook, make sure you let it play out a little (at least 24 hours) and then follow it up with a post that tells people exactly what you do and how to buy from you. Facebook’s algorithm means that your next post will likely be seen by more people if the previous one was popular, so it’s the optimum time to get your message out there!