Before social media, any company that wanted to become a brand name had to flood the airways and that costs money. The world-famous 'I'd like to buy the world a Coke' ad from 1971 cost $250,000 to make and far more than that to broadcast on every major television network, which was a staggering amount even at the time. But now, any person with a cell phone, camera, and a social media account can reach the same number of people if their content goes viral. We couldn't teach you all about social media marketing without touching on viral content. We all know examples of posts that went viral, good and bad ones. But how does content become viral? What makes people share content? Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast recipe for going viral. But Jonah Berger, a professor at University of Pennsylvania, analyzed thousands of pieces of viral content to figure out common themes between them. Doing so, he found six ideas you should follow to maximize engagement. He wrote about it in his book 'Contagious'. Let's go through them. Berger identified six common themes between posts that go viral. Posts should increase social currency, have a sensory trigger that makes people think of your brand, evoke emotion, represent a public brand identity, be practical and tell a good story about your product. We'll briefly go over each with examples. First, you should create posts or ads that will increase people's social currency when they share them. Most people on social media want to seem smart, cultured, and ethical. You should give them content that helps them do that. They may be more inclined to share that content because it makes them look good. Take TOMS shoes as an example. In 2014, TOMS launched a successful advertising campaign in which they promised to donate one pair of shoes for every pair a customer bought. Because of that, being seen wearing TOMS signaled to people that you were an ethical and consensus consumer. Wearing them increased the buyer's social currency, and people flooded Facebook and Instagram with pictures of themselves wearing TOMS as the company achieved the marketer's dream, having other people advertise your product for free. Second, you should try to create a trigger for your product. This is something that makes people immediately think of your product when they see, hear, smell, or touch it. One of the most successful examples of a trigger in advertising history is Nike's slogan, 'Just do it'. When most people across the planet hear 'Just do it', they think of Nike. Other famous triggers includes a line, 'Do you know where your children are?' From a New York City public safety campaign, and Budweiser's, 'wassup' line which signaled that drinking bud meant it was time to relax. Evoking strong emotion is also an excellent way to go viral. The emotion could be happiness, sadness, or even anger. A good example of this is Johnny Walker's 2015, 'Dear brothers' ad. In the ad, two 20 something brothers walked through breathtakingly gorgeous Scottish highlands. They tracked through rolling hills and stop at ruined stone cabins, sharing Johnnie Walker all the way until they reach a cliff overlooking the ocean. Then the ad reveals that one of the brothers was dead, and the other went to the cliff to spread his ashes. People immediately posted reaction videos of how the ad made them weep after it aired. It's since been viewed over tens of millions of times. Johnnie Walker successfully evoked strong emotion to create the most successful whiskey commercial in history. Another good way to go viral is to create a brand that maximizes its publicity. Adidas is an excellent example of that. Its three strips logo is so ubiquitous that most people immediately recognize it and associate it with the brand. It's also easily reproducible from a screen to a shoe to a sticker. Try to find a uniquely distinct brand logo and coloration that maximizes your publicity. That way, people will know your product is yours whenever they use or talk about it. People like to share content that's practical or immediately useful. Valentina Lord created this video with a hack for peeling garlic and posted it on Twitter. The video went viral and received over 24 million views. The plain practical nature of this, and the fact that this peeling garlic trigger is universally useful made it something people wanted to share. Finally, as we discussed before, people like stories. Ads and content that tell a story are more likely to be shared, and they can be even more powerful if they invite people to share their own story. We touched on a legendary Dove campaign in our previous course. In the early 2010s, Dove discovered that only four percent of women worldwide consider themselves beautiful, largely because of unrealistic standards created by airbrushed advertisements. They launched the viral Real Beauty campaign with a collection of stories about women discovering that they were and felt beautiful. Social media allows customers to communicate back to you by turning the process of discovering one's beauty into a story, Dove both created a popular ad and use social media to invite people to tell their own. This created one of the most successful ad campaigns of the last decade. Creating viral content isn't easy, and you shouldn't think that all your content on social media should go viral. I suggest that you keep these six themes that Jonah Berger described in mind as you develop your content. They may give you ideas for content creation, and they may make your content more engaging overall.