Want your business to go viral? We don’t blame you. Brands want to get their names and content in front of as many people as possible and get them talking. There are many advantages of viral marketing. This includes brand awareness, which has become so important to brands using online platforms, it has become a key goal for many social media marketers.
What is viral marketing?
In marketing terms, viral marketing is a style of promotion which relies on an audience to generate the message of a product. It’s a strategy that involves the mass spread from one consumer to another. This could be through retweeting, sharing and tagging friends and family. The aim of viral marketing is to get an audience talking and share the content between friends and family.
Check out our blog post, 5 Social Media Wins And What We Can Learn From Them, for examples of brands which went viral and absolutely nailed it. We also discuss brands which went viral for all the wrong reasons and found themselves caught up in a PR disaster over in 5 Big Business Social Media Blunders And How To Avoid Them.
Advantages of viral marketing.
Creating a viral campaign isn’t always as simple as it seems, but when you get it right, it can benefit your business massively. Let’s discuss the key benefits of viral marketing…
One of the best parts about a viral campaign is that your audience does most of the work for you by retweeting, sharing and commenting. Your business doesn’t have to invest in a huge budget for advertising or media space. Plus, when your audience shares your content, their own personal audience (friends and family) are exposed to your content under new circumstances. It’s coming from someone consumers know and trust! This can help build brand perception and trust of a brand.
It’s free brand awareness
Viral content is usually passed from one consumer to at least two others in their social circle, and the pattern continues. As people share the content, your brand awareness increases. Those who share, like and talk about you with friends and family act as unpaid brand representatives.
A great deal of viral marketing campaigns will likely create some sort of personal or emotional connection with your brand. Viral content can help demonstrate your brand personality and show the human side to your brand. Showing your personality can help define you in a competitive market space.
Some marketing campaigns can come across as pushy or forceful, with the risk of annoying audiences rather than attracting leads. However, in viral marketing, the consumer makes the decision to participate in viewing and sharing the campaign.
Think of it this way… You as the brand are not asking the customer to do something. They are re-sharing or making their own content and contributing to the campaign because they want to!
How to go viral.
Every viral marketing campaign needs to consider these elements in order to be successful…
Online jokes quickly become old news. Trends come and go and memes go out of style. You don’t want it to feel outdated or exhausted or leave your audience saying “ugh that was so last week”.
Memes are a great way to resonate with consumers and get people talking about your brand without necessarily being tied to a specific product. Virgin Media showed their funny side by joining in the discussion of the Baby Yoda memes.
— Virgin Media (@virginmedia) November 26, 2019
Funny and shareable content is a great way to increase engagement… But act quick! These memes won’t always be relevant to your audience!
Forced campaigns are easy to spot a mile away and consumers won’t let you get away with it if they can. The aim of the game is not to come across as trying to go viral. The best viral marketing strategies occur when businesses understand their audiences and what they find authentic. Think of it this way – you will only share jokes you know your friends will like and enjoy that will resonate with them. You have to do that for your audience. Tailor it to your audience’s taste.
Good content will spread naturally by consumers but to do that, your campaign will have to be creative enough to stand out on its own and speak for itself. For example: Old Spices viral “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”.
Don’t be afraid to try something new to capture an audience’s attention. Your campaign needs to be attention- grabbing to avoid consumers scrolling past your content. Emotions play a big role in viral marketing, try to pull your target audience in with a message that comes across as bold, funny, inspiring or just something in between.
For example, in 2019, the campaign to make this egg the most popular image on instagram went viral for its hilarious and funny message. Its simple message to ask consumers to simply just “like” the image resulted in mass success.
View this post on Instagram
Naturally, in order for a campaign to go viral, it has to be easily found, easily shared, and easily relatable. Spotify’s #wrapped campaign demonstrates the perfect example of making it as easy as possible to share their personalised consumer data. This allows consumers to share their most listened to artist whilst getting the Spotify brand name out to their social circle. Successful viral marketing campaigns often include opportunities for the audience to comment, create their own content, or otherwise play along.
For the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes campaigns can get people talking and be remembered for the wrong reasons. For example, the Pepsi advertisement featuring Kendal Jenner got people talking… But not in a good way.
Planning and patience can get you very far, pay close attention to the bigger picture of your campaign. Boost your chances of success by researching, planning and making clear objectives to measure the success of the campaign. It would be a smart idea to implement a PR plan to navigate through the good, bad and the ugly.