“Viral” seems to be the buzzword that never dies, and with good reason. When a marketing campaign goes viral, and we mean really VIRAL, your company or product is given center stage at the world’s biggest rock festival!
Your exposure grows exponentially which means that your return on investment is pretty much the highest it can be. Creating the viral effect, however, can be tricky and presents its own set of challenges.
Just because you want to go viral, doesn’t mean you’re a hypochondriac, but it does mean that you need structure your campaign a bit differently.
Here are 5 crucial points on how to go viral:
1- Choose Your Social Circles
Imagine the social media ecosystem is like a big high school. The decision you make on who to sit with at lunch can affect the rest of your high school career. Social marketing works in the same way when the people you reach out to at the start of your campaign truly have the power to push your campaign forward to viral success.
Think about the company, brand or product you’re promoting and who it appeals to the most.
Choose which social platforms are most relevant. Tumblr, for instance, is increasingly popular with teens. Recent numbers indicate that 61% of teens use Tumblr compared to 55% percent of teens using Facebook – more teens use Tumblr than Facebook.
Pinterest is popular with a female population, with Facebook you can reach everyone and anyone, Twitter is noisy but highly viral. Each network or platform has its own unique edge.
Do the research – know who to target, where you can find them and how to interact with them.
2- Work the Crowd
Just like in any social situation, sometimes you need to work the crowd before you can gain momentum. You know how it is; you make one friend and soon, more people are knocking at your door.
It doesn’t hurt to start with a small advertising campaign to engage with that first group of people. These days campaigns are highly targeted, allowing you to reach out to a very targeted audience without breaking the bank.
Once you’ve got that first group, then you can really get going on creating those viral waves.
In marketing this is referred to as “Big Seed Marketing”.
3- Get Creative
So, you’re sitting at the table with all the “cool kids”, you got their attention – now what?
What do you say? How do you dress?
Get creative and keep your audience engaged with fresh, relevant and easily accessible content. Studies show that Facebook users are more likely to click a link posted with an image than read through text. People go to Facebook on their break for some light browsing.
They will not interact with something that takes too much of their precious time or energy.
They will react to something that is instantly engaging.
Text needs to presented in a visual way and images need to be strong enough to instantly catch the browser’s attention.
It’s already been said, and we will say it once more – Content is King!
4- Get ‘em Going
So, now you’ve got people’s attention! This is where “Viral” really kicks in. These people are your followers. They will spread the word to their people and their people will spread the word even further (and further … and further… and further).
Whatever you do, make sure that you are incentivizing people to ACT. Whether it is through sharing on Facebook, re-tweeting on Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, you want to make sure that you are presenting them with various “Call-To-Action” opportunities.
As for incentives, contests and giveaways can be highly effective in getting people to hit that “Share” button. Another way is to give out badges and rankings, or to hit on a subject that they are passionate about. Whatever it is – be creative, know what will motivate your audience and give them the respect they deserve.
It’s important to remember though – don’t overdo it. These people are your friends; they’ve given you a chance. Don’t alienate them. The ratio of general, fun content compared to any kind of “Call-To-Action” items should be 70/30
5- Get Lucky
Now, we have to be honest. Luck is most definitely a component in going viral. The best way to better your odds at getting lucky is to include different themes, approaches, games and incentives within your marketing strategy. The more you try different ideas, the more likely you will be to hit that viral note.
Keep a company document on Google docs and have everyone throw in their most radical, “thinking outside the box” ideas. Review it every once in a while and find those gems. Viral effects often come from the most unexpected places.
We hope this helps you in understanding how to formulate a campaign and give it the best chances to go viral- good luck!