Social media, influencer and creator marketing

You've gone viral: what next?

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Published on
June 25, 2024
Last updated
June 25, 2024

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Congrats! It’s official: your brand has gone viral.

Notifications are off the charts, your social media team is buzzing and everyone’s talking about you. You should feel proud – going viral is no easy feat. 

However, it’s also just the beginning. The real challenge begins here: sustaining that momentum and turning your big moment into long-term success.

Don’t panic – we’re on hand to help. In this blog, we explore some key ways you can extend your virality, with practical steps and top tips, cherry-picked from Vic Banham, CEO of Antler Social.

1. Engage with Your Audience

When content goes viral, it’s not just about the number of views. Your audience is actively engaging with it, getting stuck into the comments by chatting to one another and sharing their thoughts. 

Don’t just sit back passively. Jump into the conversation.

How to do it…

  • Respond to Comments: Take the time to reply to comments, especially the positive ones. Show your audience that there are real people behind the brand. It’s a cliche (but a true one) that Gen Z loves authenticity – so don’t be afraid to get some humorous takes in there.
  • Share User-Generated Content: The repost button should be your new best friend. Highlight users who are creating content about your viral moment – re-share it onto your page. Bonus points if you have an additional hot take.

2. Brand guidelines aren’t everything

Every single brand will have a guideline: a set of rules and regulations around what is appropriate, and what isn’t. These guidelines should be just that, though. Stick too tightly to them, and Gen Z will see your brand as “solely a marketing strategy”, shares Vic. 

How to do it…

  • Loosen up your control: The best things happen when we don’t over complicate them. When the guidelines are too rigid, they’ll stifle creativity. After going viral, use your guidelines as a framework – test new ideas, styles and approaches.
  • Connection should feel authentic: If you’re tied to certain phrases, terminology and constraints on what you can and can’t say, your brand lacks authenticity. Connection is the key to building communities – especially with Gen Z. Use relevant abbreviation. Add a couple of emojis. Most importantly, as shared by Vic, communicate “as you would to a friend”. 

3. Create Follow-Up Content

Your audience loved your viral content for a reason. Follow-up content keeps the conversation going and keeps your audience engaged. The key here is to not be lazy about this – there’s nothing worse than a half-baked attempt. The creatives in your team are your MVP’s here: allow them to come up with ways in which your viral content can be applied with a fresh lens. 

How to Do It:

  • Storytelling: Provide updates or sequels to the original content. One way to do this is through some behind-the-scenes snapshots – show what went into creating the viral content. Make it as silly and engaging as possible (we’re talking bloopers, the whole lot…).
  • Related Content: Think about how you can repurpose your work. Interact with other brands, or create similar content that’s related to the theme or tone of the viral piece.

4. Strategise like a pro

We can’t take credit for this one unfortunately – this is the brainchild of Vic Banham, CEO of Antler Social. Vic shares a three pillar approach. 

How to Do It:

  • Focus on formats that are broad for longevity: Create a format that is broad enough to sustain you – something that users won’t tire of, but that are specific enough to give you the right level of data analysis.
  • Use this data to analyse: Taking this data on board will allow you to evolve your content over time – ensuring it’s not repetitive, but is hitting the same mark as previous viral content.
  • Plan strategically: Long term content calendars might be good for things like blogs or articles – but when it comes to being reactive on platforms like TikTok, being too stringent might hinder you, says Vic. The best kind of content should feel authentic and off-the-cuff. 

5. Monitor Analytics and Feedback

Understanding what made your content go viral is key to replicating that success. In particular, for TikTok, SEO should be your new best friend. Over 60% of Gen Z uses TikTok for search, so if you’re not tackling an SEO-based approach, you’re missing out on a huge cohort of consumers.

How to do it:

  • Use keywords: As noted by Vic, keywords are so important when it comes to expanding your reach. Use keywords on both content and copy: this will allow your brand to be found again via search when users look up the relevant buzzwords.
  • Gather Feedback: Listen to what your audience is saying about the viral content and use it to inform your next steps.
  • Identify Trends: Look for patterns in the data to understand what resonated with your audience.

6. Find your ‘why’

Yes, sometimes you can just go viral for no reason (anyone remember the video of chocolate-covered strawberries that somehow amassed millions of views?) – but 99% of the time, there’s a reason why a particular piece of content is so successful. Was it a wholesome moment? Was it different to the kind of content your brand usually posts? Was it humorous? Sad? Think about the why.

How to do it:

  • Ear to the ground: Get those social listening tools out. Read the comments. Read them again. What was it that users loved so much? Don’t just focus on the positive feedback, either. It’s rare to get a full house of agreement – if some people hated the content, that might determine your next strategy.
  • Have a retro: God bless the humble retro. Chat to your team. Reflect on why your content was so successful. Decide what might need improvement. Celebrate what went right.

7. Be kind to yourself – success is a process

Finally, remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes when we see successful content, it might be quick to assume that the brand has had it easy.

But what the user doesn’t see is usually the most important part: the hours of testing, content that didn’t hit it off, failed attempts on the same campaign and the frustration when it doesn’t pay off in the way you anticipated.

Be kind to yourself, keep going, and you’ll get there in the end, we promise.

Want to learn more about how Pion can deliver next-level growth and sustained viral moments? Learn more about our Creators.

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