How To Be Viral: Learning How To Get People Talking And Sharing


Photo from:

I attended one of the biggest conferences for digital marketing professionals recently, IMMAP Digicon.

The Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) celebrated their 10th year anniversary. Titled with “The Power of X,” the first Digital Congress (Digicon) is proof of how long the organization has come. From a roomful of only a handful of people planning about digital marketing, it has blown up to a conference hall of more than a thousand speakers and attendees.


One of my favorite breakout sessions during the three-day conference (from October 10 to 12) is the talk of Gwendolyn Regina, Director of Strategy and Business Development from Mashable APAC.


As someone from the editorial side of the digital media spectrum, I was able to relate and learn a lot from that session.

Her topic was “Fabricating Virality” and she discussed how Mashable does it on the internet.


For the uninitiated, Mashable is a “global, multi-platform media and entertainment company” founded by Pete Cashmore in 2005. From its humble beginnings in Cashmore’s home in Scotland more than a decade ago, Mashable has become one of the biggest digital platforms today.

What is the best way to tell a story?

The way you tell a story depends on what platform you are on. For the digital platform, there are three important steps.

1. Discover and Predict


Different social listening tools to help discover content

Being active on social media is the first step to discovering good content that is shareable. Aside from that, there are various social media listening tools that can help do the job of discovering good content. Mashable has an internal tool called Velocity that finds content and helps predict what will go viral.

A Look on PPAP

Why did this video of a guy singing Pen Pineapple Apple Pen go viral?

Three things – catchy beat, easy lyrics, and funny character

2. Curate and Create

This is where you apply the editorial eye.

It’s one thing to discover good content that people has started talking about and it’s another thing to create a story that will tell that talked about topic in the best way possible.

What Makes People Share?

  • Emotional moments
  • Provocative or shocking moments
  • Quirky and inspiring stories
  • Anticipation

3. Customize and Amplify

Tweak your content according to the platform. Go where the audience lives and that is online. Be native on social media platforms.

Note: For videos, 70-80% are played without sound so customize it with subtitles.


Hacking Social Media

Consistent voice doesn’t mean same content.

You should learn what specific type of content works well to a specific social media platform.

1. Snapchat has younger audience. It works well with organic content such that great lighting is not even needed. It is for “in the moment” moments.

2. Instagram require more beautiful photos and videos compared to Snapchat. It is important to post here regularly, about 1-2 posts per day, but make sure that your posts are really good and relevant.

3. Facebook is for young adults and it is the mainstream. Almost any type of content (photos, videos, links) are good to share here but funny and uplifting stories do well on this platform. Also, listicles are a hit here.

4. Twitter can be used for A/B testing of headlines. Strong tweets mean strong headlines so depending on Twitter reception, you can edit the title of your article.

In summary…

Attention is a zero-sum game. If someone is looking at your competitor’s content then that’s one minute less for you.

Any other tips to create viral stories? Share them with us.