Are you bored (yawn) of seeing blog posts on the web telling you how to make your small business posts and videos go viral or how to create viral content?

I am, and here’s why!

It’s false hope.

For every small business video or content that goes viral, there are millions of bad ones. So, trying to be one out of ten million is nearly impossible.

Relevance trumps reach every time. I would rather have 100 relevant views from the people who have a need to buy what I have to offer than one million views from people who have no intention of purchasing.

The Problems Small Businesses Face going Viral

As a small business owner, I can only cope with so much work, and if my business went viral very quickly, I don’t think I would be able to cope. Meaning the work that I do wouldn’t be very good since nothing would be getting my full attention except for the stress that comes with too much work overload.

Have you ever read the stories about small businesses who take on a Groupon deal, and next thing that happens is they need to close the business or move to smaller premises, just like this fruit and vegetable company? They couldn’t cope with the high demand of vouchers and the loss they were making from the offer, all because the offer went viral.


What’s the Slow Viral?

Slow viral is the power of less. Let me explain.

Target small groups of about 100 people who really like you, love what you do and, most importantly, like to talk about you. It’s not an easy task, but with social media, the process is a whole lot easier. If you don’t have any fans yet, target 100 people who you would like in your close network.

Now that you have 100 people, keep a hold of them because these are the people who will spread your message, your business and, most importantly, give you referrals. They will love what you’re all about, and you won’t need to worry about anything going viral anymore.

The 100 people will talk to their people, and their people, and their people and so on, whilst you’re building your business gradually, getting ready for the days you can cope with your business going viral.



Just to clarify, I’m not against things going viral, of course not. What I am trying to say is concentrate on what you can cope with and target those buyers who really want what you have.

So the next time you’re writing a blog post, creating a new video or sending out a post on social media, don’t think, “How can I make this go viral?” Instead, think, “How can I get 100 people to really love what I’m doing so they will share with their friends, their colleagues and peers?”

What are your feelings towards small businesses going viral? Is going viral just a fad? Or should we all aim for viral outreach?


Steven Sefton

Digital Director
Steven is our digital director and co-founder of Think Zap.

6 responses to “Why Viral is Dead for Small Businesses

  1. I like your thoughts here Steven. I do think companies should strive to spread their content as wide as possible, however they shouldn’t get too hung up on achieving huge numbers! As you say, a smaller, more active audience is important.

    1. Hey Mike. I agree, they do need to spread the message but that message should concentrate on what they can get in return as a business goal. Thanks for commenting Mike, I appreciate it.

  2. Good post mate, totally agree. Its not all about going viral and very few do. The ones that do go viral need to do something very special to achieve this. A great example is The Dollar Shave Club when they launched their video, nobody had even heard of them before that and it made me and millions of others im sure visit their website. Like you said, its better to have 100 people engaging and talking about your brand that could be interested in what you have to offer than a million people who are only connected because you made a funny video.

    1. Thanks Matthew, I agree. Sometimes slow and steady is best for small businesses and concentrating on everyone is only ever going to be a headache. Thanks for participating Matthew.

  3. Well said Steven.

    I would offer one little exception to this, when a piece of content goes viral, it can gain a LOT of links from around the web. These links can often help with search engine rankings and result in greater visibility to those who are seeking a company’s product or services. Your point about Groupon is a very valid one indeed – that kind of viral is one that most people could do without.

    1. Hey Andrew, thanks for reading this post. That’s a valid point and one I agree with. Small businesses need to differentiate between content that can gain those links for future opportunities and content that can produce leads from your target market. I appreciate your input.

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