It is a truth universally acknowledged that a fun and engaging social media post must be in want of going viral…

Admit it, we all dream about it. Imagine having that one post, great article or eye-catching case study that flies off the handle and turns your brand, blogger or business into an overnight sensation on the world wide web. You start to visualise the paparazzi camped outside your home as the likes creep up into the thousands, you consider petitioning Instagram for that elusive blue tick next to your name, and you start wearing sunglasses inside coffee houses, because you swear Janice the barista is secretly working for the DailyMailOnline to get that ‘not-so-fresh’ photo of you in the morning.

And why wouldn’t you slip into these delusions of grandeur? After all, one viral post can turn an obscure blogger or brand into an internet celebrity in a matter of days. Don’t believe us? Well, we’re not ones to brag, but this week Pistachio have tasted our very own heady heights of internet adulation in the form of one very silly ‘It’s Coming Home’ inspired meme created by our very own Pistachio Nottingham Creative and Digital Director, Chris Gillen.

So, how did it happen? And how can it work for you?

Step 1: Tap into the vibe

It’s the World Cup and somehow England are doing well, so naturally ‘It’s Coming Home’ -of original 96’ fame – has been the main sentence on everyone’s lips for the past few weeks. Seriously, it’s everywhere, from being scribbled on Starbucks coffee cups to being slipped into presentations in corporate meetings, to being hollered out during the throws of passion (I assume?). It started off as joke when we managed to win just one game, but now we really are all starting to believe it, and the nation is delirious.

So, with the resurgence of the classic Baddiel and Skinner hit came the memes. Ah, memes, the current elixir of youth, the currency by which we all now trade in. Want to chat to your best friend? Spam them with memes. Want to be rude to your parents without actually being rude? Text them a meme. Fancy someone? Tag them in a meme. Want to let someone know that you’re actually a culturally knowledgeable, existential thinker? Post a meme. Simples.

#Memesarelife and so, obviously the ‘It’s Coming Home’ memes began to take shape. From people crudely copying and pasting the chant across popular images, to the dubbing of voices over famous movie scenes, plus the photo-shopping of Kane et al onto almost every iconic image you have ever seen, referenced or heard of in your entire life.

And then came the big players, the meme makers who really stepped up and threw their hats into the ring – the insertion of ‘It’s Coming Home’ seamlessly integrated into iconic musical movie clips. And this is when our very own Christopher Gillen stepped into the ring…

Step 2: Choose wisely

If you’re going to go viral, you do have to put some thought into it. A slap-dash approach will look rushed, and be laced with errors that will take the shine off of any shares that do happen. So, be sure to make this your best work, you don’t want to look back in a few days’ time and kick yourself for realising that there was a better caption, funnier clip or more relevant image that you could have used.

So, if you don’t already know what the hell it is that Chris has created that has got everyone talking, it’s this…Dorothy taking the yellow brick road home, flanked by a drove of happy munchkins who are now all chanting ‘It’s Coming Home!’. It’s genius. It’s hilarious. And it just works. Which is where luck does come into it – because sometimes what you envisage is going to be funny and popular in your head doesn’t always transpire so well in real-life – but this is the ruthless nature of the internet, and when it comes to going viral…only the brave survive… so take a deep breath, put mouse to screen, and just go for it!

Step 3: Hashtag. Hashtag, Hashtag

The quickest and easiest way to get your post viral, when you know the content is good and the theme is bang on trend, is to tap into the most popular hashtags that have already propelled similar posts into the spotlight. For dear old Dorothy this was as simple as #ThreeLions #EnglandvSweden #WorldCup18 #meme #ItsComingHome and from there things began to escalate very quickly. This was also due to the timing of the post, it was a sunny Thursday afternoon, two days before England’s knock out game against Sweden, so momentum was high for the game, employees were sun-drunk, procrastinating on-line, looking for fun, football inspired post to share, and media outlets were churning out continuous ‘It’s Coming Home’ content – so it was a prime time to post.

Again, no one can ever really know how well as post is going to do, but do yourself a favour and think about when you decide to post. There’s a lot of free data online that will tell you general trends for popular times to post on different platforms that tend to get the most engagement and reach – but also, use your head, if it’s 28 degrees outside at 3pm on a Saturday, most people aren’t going to be squinting at their screens looking for something to read.

Step 4: Track your post

This is where it can get very tricky, especially as the most popular memes are not branded, as this tends to put people off sharing, and can seem too much like a sneaky paid for or sponsored Ad – something online users find particularly distasteful in the current ‘fake news’ climate. So, one must take a leap of faith and spread the love far and wide as innocuously as possible. Yes, you will inevitably get plagiarisers, but it’s all par for the course of being a successful meme-lord these days, so try not to take it too personally. Anyone worth their digital salt, which is nearly everyone with a smart phone these days, can easily trace the obvious and original source from a simple Twitter or Facebook search, so have no fear, fame will always find its way back to you in the end.

So, where did Chris’s masterpiece end up? Well, the post went live on July 5th, it’s now the 10th and we’re at 1.8m views and counting, over 40,000 shares and more likes than we can currently keep up with. Not only that, but we’ve also made the top ‘It’s Coming Home’ memes list in The Telegraph, Daily Star, TIME, The Sun, The Guardian, The Manchester Evening News and many, many more. We even got this unbelievable shout out from Radio 1 DJ Greg James on his live radio show yesterday afternoon. The coverage just keeps coming in, so keep your eyes peeled! As everything heats up before tomorrow’s semi-final game, you never know, you might just see Dorothy skipping down that yellow brick road bringing it home for us…

Yes, going viral can seem like a distant dream that can’t always be planned out and requires a lot of contributing factors to be aligned that don’t always fall under our control. However, if at first you don’t succeed… try something different and keep going! Follow current trends and monitor posts that tend to do well and replicate this type of content in your own work. Make it surprising, funny, visually stunning, distinctive and most importantly – useful, and people will find it impossible to resist sharing. And just like Dorothy, one day you’ll wake up to find that it’s coming home after all…

Fancy a chat about your brand and how inspiring creative can boost your online presence? Drop us a line today at either one of our Nottingham or Marlow based offices, we’d love to hear from you!