In honor of Mother’s Day, my team at Cricket Wireless launched a social media campaign encouraging moms to be a part of the picture — literally.

#PhotoMombing: verb: When a mother photobombs their kids’ pictures, often causing laughter, embarrassment, and retakes. 

In the past three days, the video has generated over 1 million cross-channel views. Along the way, we’ve received positive feedback from moms who are honing their #PhotoMombing skills and kids who can completely relate. The “viral video” is a holy grail of the social media marketing world and I wanted to share four steps to making hits happen.

1. Invest in the resources that will deliver results.

I’ve met so many people who don’t want to spend money or time on social media marketing because “social media is free.” The bottom line is: if you don’t invest in your marketing, nobody will invest in you — and that holds true for social media! If you want to build an effective social media presence or create a “viral video,” you need to invest in the resources that will deliver results. That includes working with a team of social media strategists, community managers, content creators and others who have the knowledge and expertise to help you meet your goals.

2. Consider the cultural landscape.

There’s a feedback loop between marketing and culture — they impact and influence each other. If you want to create content that resonates, you need to consider a few key factors.

What’s the lay of the land? Photobombs and selfies are all the rage these days. We tapped into trends to create content that would connect. What’s happening in entertainment and pop culture that could inform or inspire your content? What are the cultural cues and touch points that you can leverage to engage your target audience?

What time is it? We launched a video celebrating moms in the week leading up to Mother’s Day to connect with the cultural conversation around moms. When planning your content and campaigns, think through the moments in time that matter to your company and your community.

What is the role of your brand?  Smartphones and selfies go hand in hand. Cricket offers premium smartphones that are great for snapping selfies and a great network that enables consumers to call, surf, share, snap, gram, scope, tweet and text to stay connected to their friends and family. Cricket has a clear role in #PhotoMombing. When you’re coming up with new ideas for content, be sure to identify the thread that ties the story to the service or product that you offer.

3. Establish an emotional connection.

Anger. Wonder. Delight. Surprise. Remarkable content creates an emotional connection with the viewer. In this case, we went for the laughs. Cricket’s tagline is Something to Smile About so the humor in #PhotoMombing is a perfect fit for our brand. Think about the emotions you want to inspire in your audience and create your content with that in mind.

4. Close the loop.

Viral content can increase your visibility in a big way. The next step is to convert that visibility into value. For #PhotoMombing, we shared a call to action and an invitation. We encouraged each viewer to “share this with a mother you love.” We also developed a landing page to make it easy for people to learn more about our brand and engage with us on a deeper level. As you develop your campaigns, think through ways to bridge the gap between your content and your company.

Here’s a peek behind the scenes of #PhotoMombing:  


Much love to all the moms out there. Wishing y’all a Mother’s Day full of laughing, loving and #PhotoMombing! 

UPDATE: I’m thrilled to announce that #PhotoMombing landed a spot on The YouTube Ads Leaderboard, which showcases the top ads that people choose to watch each month.

Ready to supercharge your social media? Sign up below for the inside scoop on 15 tools that make it easy — and affordable — to create graphics that get noticed.