What Drives Social Sharing? The Psychology Of Viral Content

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November 13th, 2020   |   Updated on June 30th, 2022

Exchanging impressions and information is an important mechanism in the process of human communication, and for sure, sharing is a vital part of social media.

The popularity of content is affected by reposting a lot. But what makes the content shareable? What are the defining features of a viral post?

You might think that you can buy any amount of real IG likes and you’re done. Alas, if the true virality could be just bought! Boosters are helpful, yet they cannot do all the work without your efforts.

To reach the goal and launch viral content, you will have to understand how the psychological aspects of sharing work and how to turn their effect in your favor. Let’s dig in!


This is a well-known trigger for people’s interest. Unusual things are surprising and people want to impress their friends with weirdness.

This is a good topic to discuss, and images and videos that are demonstrating peculiarities, something funny and positive, or just strange – can be distributed really all over the internet.

Eccentric content is always fresh. And the novelty is highly appreciated on social media, due to the competition rate.

But when you are aiming for weirdness, you have to set the limits. Such type of content is not too provocative, it can be described as surprising, light, and entertaining. In many cases, eccentric videos are stunning and confusing and become memetic soon.

One of the prominent examples of such an effect is the glorious PPAP by Pikotaro (commonly known as Pineapple Pen song). The number of memes and parodies that were created after it is huge.


This is the dark side of eccentricity. One of the best methods to spread your content is to make it provocative.

Burning the edges of moral and speculating on curiosity are defining features of such content type. The level of provocation is very dependent on the age, gender, and preferences of the community that it is targeted.

You must catch something that will be considered as inappropriate and even shocking to them. The power of disturbance is making the content go viral very fast.

Of course, such kind of PR is black, and you will have to deal with criticism and hate, but that is inevitable if you want to go that way.

The best-known type of provocative content that goes viral soon is pranks. Usually, it is a mix that has eccentric and provocative features, and its goal is to stun the viewer and create amusement.


Of course, the effective way to make a video shareable is to make it hilarious. Jokes and memes are extremely popular among users.

People want to share what amuses them and what they think will make their friends laugh out loud. But not every joke on the internet is funny enough to become viral. To hit the top sharing rate, use these tips:

  • Make your joke relatable to as wide an audience as possible. The more people will recognize their experience in life, the better it is. As they often say, it is funny because it’s true!
  • Look around. Sometimes true laughter is happening right by your side.
  • Learn from famous comic personalities.
  • Create a unique style that will make your content stand out from others.
  • Avoid primitive and offensive gags. Good irony and sarcasm are preferred by the audience but must be kept within borders.


Secrets are appealing, because humans are curious creatures, and solving interesting riddles is in our nature. However, this way of success is quite difficult because it can be hard to come up with truly intriguing content.

Well, sometimes lick helps, like it happened to the photo of the dress. The dispute about what color it is was going on for an extraordinarily long time.

Another option of the secret content is to make your audience feel privileged and exclusive. You can be not a riddler, but a discoverer of new exciting things and fresh ideas.

You can use the attention that secrets are magnetizing to educate your audience, especially if you are a professional in a certain industry, or involved in concrete circumstances.


Cute and motivating content can be viral too. Putting conventional ideas of lifestyle, family, and other important aspects of our life can give you a shareable result.

A lot of people follow traditions and respect them, and they want to demonstrate that in their feed. And here comes sweet and cozy content that can be funny, entertaining, and even tear-breaking. From cuteness, of course.

Nothing more to say, easy to produce and easy to spread. But it works only in complex with your public image.

It would be rather strange to have a “party animal” personality that suddenly posts something about sweet mornings, hygge lifestyle, or homemade cocoa.


Everything that can be useful for your audience. Cooking tips, camping hacks, interesting techniques of making juice, etc. Content that is valuable to your viewers can go viral very fast.

To push it higher on ratings, come up with unusual tutorials, specific makeovers, and everything that can stand out from the crowd.

Useful information is also what people share with each other because they like helping out. And even though the competition in this niche is high as Burj Khalifa, you can drive traffic to your content with the use of your personal flair. It can be even your morning beauty routine, but filmed with style and your vibe.


Other animals are also good material for viral content, but cats are exceptionally popular. If you have one at home, here is your chance to launch a new shareable video or photo!

The biggest phenomenon is that in most cases, animals don’t have to do anything extravagant. Like any other good blogger, they only have to do their own thing, be as they are.

The cuteness is overwhelming and the flow of positive emotions makes users want to share it further and spread some sweetness among family and friends.

Pets are loveable for the majority of people on this planet, so doing this kind of content is a proven method to gain views and likes.

Wrapping Up

Creating viral content can be as hard work, as a kiss of luck too. To upload to any social platform something worth sharing, check a few things:

  • Your post corresponds to the preferences of your audience
  • You are keeping the balance between humor and offense.
  • It is valuable to your viewers and brings them something new.
  • It has an emotional background and triggers a certain mood.
  • It combines different aspects, to expand the target audience.

Good Luck!