Anatomy of a Viral Facebook Post

Managing a Facebook page, or any social platform for that matter, is no easy feat.  Social media is a constantly evolving and fluid beast that is difficult to tame, even by those who have worked in the industry since the term was first used in the mid 1990's. But despite the proliferation of new social platforms, or the way material is displayed, one thing has remained the same.

Content is still the King.

In the Beginning


Roughly 5000 years ago, an individual or group of people in Mesopotamia must have wanted to share or pass down information to other individuals, and written language was born.  These could have been simple statements like "Hey, there is a mean ass tiger the woods.  You might not want to go there".  In turn, these people could now share that information with other villagers not wanting to fall prey to a tiger.

Today, we're still doing the same thing.  Only now we have this beautiful thing called the internet which allows us to share content through an even more captivating creature - social media.  And if content gets shared at breakneck speeds, experts deem it as viral.

Viral: becoming very popular by circulating quickly from person to person, especially through the Internet

Now this is where I become straight to the point and teach you how to create a viral Facebook post that will support your brand and foster both B2C and B2B engagement.  There are four key components to a viral Facebook posts - the perfect image, overlay text, associated copy and branding.  Let's break down a recent post that I created for Sportsman Channel that reached over 550,000 individuals in 48 hours.

Sportsman Channel's #1 Facebook post as of 3/12/2013

The Perfect Image

Open your Facebook app on your phone and start scrolling.  Which pieces of content catch your eye?  Most likely it's not text, but images.  Having quality imagery makes a world of difference when it comes to viral content.  Photoshop skills will also come in handy when overlaying text, adding logos, resizing and modifying pictures to make them pop!

* Ultimate guide to resizing images for social media:

Overlay Text

This is probably the hardest part for me - coming up with some tidbit of information or funny saying that people are going to want to share.  Obviously I wanted to give our female audience a little love with this post, so I began thinking about women, their role in the family and how much time they spend with kids.  After a little research I came up with what you see.  I like using colors that pop for key words that grab attention - think how boring it would look if the text was just black.

Associated Copy

Copy was extremely important to the viral spread of this post.  There were two call to actions - "LIKE if your mother taught you to hunt" and "SHARE" to essentially pass on the tradition (we do these every Thursday).  If I hadn't included that message, do you think this post would have been as successful?  Share your opinions in the comments box below.



Always include either a watermark or logo on your content when posting to social.  This helps build the association between the brand and the quality of the content you are posting.  I take great pride in every single piece of content that goes up on my clients sites, Sportsman Channel's social platforms and my own.  Time and time again we receive comments and emails about how great Sportsman Channel's posts are - put effort into creating quality content, and the viral portion with take care of itself.

"Long Live the King"

Cameron Pauli is the owner of Cam Pauli Media, a Social Media Marketing Agency specializing in creating content and managing social networks for the outdoor industry.  He is also currently employed by Sportsman Channel as their full-time Social Media Coordinator.  Please visit his website at for more information or follow him on Twitter at @CamPauli

Posted on March 12, 2013 and filed under Social Media.