How to use viral marketing to achieve success on Twitter

Kate Khom
by Kate Khom on May 3, 2019

Among many social media platforms, Twitter is often considered the least fit for viral marketing. You can see why: Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook have the format of Stories and the ability to upload interactive content which instantly gets your attention. 

And what does Twitter have? 

Tweets… and some basic functions like uploading pictures and short videos. Not to mention that tweets are limited by the character count. 

So, can you go viral on Twitter?

History shows that you can. 

Remember the time Ellen DeGeneres was hosting The Oscars award ceremony? Thanks to her, the night was filled with good-natured humor and celebrities eating pizza. But the biggest hit was her selfie with stars like Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and a bunch of others. She tweeted that selfie, and just in a few hours, it went viral. Just take a look at the insane number of likes and retweets:

Image credit: Twitter

To go viral on Twitter, you don’t have to engage a ton of celebrities into taking a selfie, and your caption can be no longer than around 40 words. You just need to do something that generates a buzz. 

How can you do it?

Let’s take a look. 

1. Tell a story (collaborating with subscribers)

Storytelling goes a long way. In terms of viral marketing, it is reported that messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just plain facts. When someone reads or hears a story, it causes a phenomenon called neural coupling that makes the listener or the reader try to relate and compare a story to their own experience. 

This is what you want in terms of going viral on Twitter. Collaborating with subscribers and sharing their stories is also a good strategy for a startup or if you launch a new product and you want a good shoutout for it.

The best example of sharing the stories of their subscribers is a company called Halo Beauty, launched by Tati Westbrook, a famous YouTube influencer. They do retweets, sharing the stories of their subscribers and their journey using the product:

Image credit: Twitter

This isn’t exactly an example of a viral tweet but you can see that storytelling tweets, shared on Halo Beauty’s Twitter account, perform much better than regular posts about the product. This means that a revolutionary story shared by a subscriber will eventually help this company go viral. 

2. Double likes and retweets with a hashtag campaign

Since I saw the last Nike’s “Dream Big” campaign, I cannot stop thinking about how precisely they hit the bull’s eye with launching this campaign. This campaign empowers their followers to chase their craziest dreams, showing the stories of famous athletes who made it just by setting their fears aside and just doing it. 

This campaign brought Nike’s #justdoit the whole other meaning. This hashtag just exploded after they launched this campaign, bringing the company insane amounts of likes and shares on Twitter:

Image credit: Twitter

In general, Nike is a very good example of launching a successful hashtag, with which they’ve been going viral for over 10 years. Using the right hashtags is a legit way to go viral, especially if you use a few of them. Including several hashtags substantially increases your visibility, helping your message go viral and reach more people. 

The trick, however, is to keep the hashtags relevant to your business. “Internet users don’t like clickbait, it makes your content perform 50% worse,” says Patrick Fisher, a marketing specialist at Flatfy. So make sure your followers see hashtags they can relate to. 

3. Relate to topical issues

In terms of viral marketing, the most asked question is what makes content go viral.

Among many answers, it’s safe to say that you should create content that goes in line with the most topical issues that bother society at the current moment. Many companies are very cautious expressing their opinion on the most discussed issues because they are afraid it will hurt their reputation. 

However, in terms of viral marketing, touching upon topical issues is the most efficient way to go viral on Twitter. For instance, if you search a hashtag #vaccineswork, the viral tweet that appears at the top of search results is not by UNICEF or WHO, but by Bill Gates, who expressed his strong position in regards to supporting vaccination:

Image credit: Twitter

Here’s what you should remember: if you decide to express your opinion on a certain problematic issue, you definitely won’t go right by everybody. However, expressing your viewpoint will gain you a lot of supporters as well, who will spread your message and make it viral. 

The Bottom Line

As you can see, going viral on Twitter is definitely possible, you should just take into account the specifics of this social media platform. Unite with your subscribers, tell their stories, help everyone reach these stories using the right hashtag, and let everyone know what your standpoint is. This will help you reach massive audiences and become a viral sensation. 

Kate is a passionate writer who likes sharing her thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, she works as a real estate agent at She likes everything related to traveling and new countries. 

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