We often hear about viral marketing. A blog, content, or a video that became a hit overnight. It sounds so interesting that often we wonder how on earth it happened?
What science is behind it? Is it some advertising miracle, a great masterpiece idea, or good luck that the product, video, or content became an overnight sensation?
Well, if you also want to know the art and science of Viral Marketing, then this guide is all that you will need. As the same is going to be our topic of the day. If you are a blogger, social media marketer, video marketer, this is going to be the information you might be searching for. After all, everybody wants their content to become a hit. For people to know them isn’t it? Let us begin:
What you will read in this post:
Introduction To Viral Marketing:
Viral Marketing means the content, video, product, or anything that spreads like fire – An idea that relates to the audience so much that they share it to the point that it spreads like fire on the Internet. Everybody is talking about it. It becomes an overnight instant hit.
With Viral Marketing – you need to understand that a large part of control falls in the hand of the users. It’s them who have the potential to make someone or something hit or flop.
Thus, the message of your viral marketing campaign can sometimes be misinterpreted or it can cause controversy. So, you need to be careful. On the other hand, a successful campaign can bring miraculous results for your brand.
In regards to a business, nothing can work as effectively as a viral marketing campaign. But there are a few things for you to keep in mind that I will discuss later in the blog.
The idea behind viral marketing is you need to incline people to spread the word for you. You need to influence people to share like crazy. i.e., you need to create content that can propel people to share it across channels like fire.
Trust me, if you can make this happen. Miraculous results will follow your business. A viral marketing campaign is very impactful. But remember, this is not a cakewalk as it seems. It requires planning and in-depth research.
Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?
It started around 2014. It was an online campaign to raise awareness for people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease to raise funds. The challenge was for people to pour ice-cold water on their heads, tag a minimum of 3 friends, to do the same activity, and to make a donation.
This campaign went viral. It was a hit and raise millions of dollars for the ALS Association. Over 17 million people took part in this challenge worldwide. Including celebrities like Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rihanna, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.
We all are familiar with this Ice bucket Challenge, isn’t it?
This one is a successful and popular example of a viral marketing campaign. It was a hit!
Numerous marketers want Viral Marketing to benefit them. But they don’t realize what they need to do. – They simply just put something on the Internet and pray for miracles to happen. Well, there is no sure shot way to tell what can go viral. Nothing is obvious here. However, if you study the viral marketing campaigns in the past. Then you will surely find a few similarities in them.
1. It needs to be appealing to a targeted audience
This is the secret to make anything work online. Whatever you are creating if that doesn’t resonate with your targeted audiences then what’s the point behind creating it? Always create something that your audiences approve of, content that can influence them to share.
For this, you need to have the answer to the following questions: What are my audience preferences? What content do they enjoy on the web? What should I create that can influence them to spread it?
In case, you have the answers to these that is great. If not, work on these.
2. If you are not creative – You cannot succeed
No shortcut to this! If you want to succeed through a viral marketing campaign.
Think of it, be it the Ice Bucket Challenge or Coca Cola Share A Coke Campaign or take any viral marketing campaign example. What is common that sets them apart from the crowd?
Viral Marketing Campaigns never succeed until and unless – there is some original, exclusive idea behind it. That sets it apart from the crowd.
There is no rocket science behind it. For viral marketing campaigns to work – you need to come up with an exclusive idea. Exclusive Original Idea that is attention-grabbing.
3. Trigger Emotions
If you don’t trigger emotion, you cannot succeed through viral marketing campaigns. These emotions include happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, frustration. It can be any emotion. That is the major reason video contents work so well. Yet that’s not the case every time – a well-written piece of content can invoke emotions as well.
A study in 2010 of the most emailed New York Times Articles found that emotional articles are shared more often and positive, inspirational posts are shared more than the negative ones.
There are many emotional triggers that you can use to prompt emotions in your targeted audiences. Feelings are mighty. It is easy to make people feel something. All you need is a powerful message. People see marketing messages every other day. So, you need to give them a reason to grasp your message by making them feel something strongly when they stumble upon yours.
Remember the ”Coca-Cola Share A Coke Campaign”
In 2014, Coca-Cola launched its ”Share A Coke Campaign.” In that Campaign, they replaced their brand name with 250 American Names.
It inspired customers to find bottles with their names. Share it with their family and friends. Then tweet their feelings with the hashtag #shareacoke.
This campaign was a grand hit in America. The reason behind it? Because they created a personalized experience with their audience. The second reason, they inspired their customers to share happy moments.
That’s the genuine power of evoking emotions. Here, Coka-Cola invoked happy feelings.
Want your viral marketing campaign to spread like fire – make your targeted audiences feel something strongly. Otherwise, why on earth will they share your content?
4. Chalk Out The Viral Idea
There are viral marketing campaigns that spread like a virus accidentally. But most of them are carefully planned and researched.
As a business, if you want your content to spread like fire… You need a full-proof strategy. Many businesses don’t take this aspect seriously. Alas! It is one of the potential reasons their viral marketing campaign fails.
Make it clear you have a strategy. Carefully plan your content so that your message is clear to your targeted audience.
One of the important aspects here is to understand your motive. Why you want your content to spread like a virus on the web? Do you want more website traffic? Drive conversions? Increase page views?
What’s your intention behind? When you can understand this. Then you could understand the data and resources you need.
5. Keep The Campaign Short
Your viral marketing campaign must not be complex. If you are sending a bookish long content to your audiences – they will never pass it on, isn’t it?
A short meaningful video, a useful infographic. Your content can be anything. But keep in mind – keep it short and relevant. Add emotions to it. (this will make your campaign powerful!)
Always aim to keep your viral marketing campaign short and relevant.
6. Make It Easy To Share
All credit goes to this era of the Internet, Social media. Now, sharing is not a tedious task. With a few clicks, one can share their content with the world almost instantly. Sharing in today’s time does not cost you money. A few years back when we were not digitally equipped. Companies used to invest heavy amounts for promoting.
Thank God. That’s not the case anymore.
When content, a video, or anything – is shared again and again. That is when it goes viral. This means you and your brand need to share the content multiple times on multiple platforms for people to see it. Then, the second thing you need to do is make it easy for people to share your content. It shouldn’t be time-consuming.
Make it easier for people. Enable downloading, embedding, do everything possible by your end to make it easier for people to share, tag, download.
You can choose influencer marketing as well – connect with an influencer who is the right fit for your audience and your message. The person who can add value to your overall viral marketing campaign. If you can find a suitable one, ask them to promote your content.
People love and trust influencers – Suppose in your viral marketing campaign. If Leonardo DiCaprio is there. People will go gaga and they are more likely to share it.
7. Make Sure It Is Posted In The Right Time And Date
When investing in a viral marketing campaign another important thing for you to keep in mind. Several marketers consider days like Christmas, Easter – so some major event days like World Cup, AFC Championship, etc.
Marketers consider posting on some special days. As most people are endlessly scrolling through their feeds, chilling, watching TV – they are aware of the current happenings.
Choosing the right day and time is very important.
For instance, suppose you post it on Sunday Night. Most of the people are not available then, they might be out for dinner, chilling with their friends, etc. That’s for sure they are not online, scrolling through their newsfeed. They are out enjoying.
So, that’s not a wise time.
Or you post on the time where an important Football Match is going on. It glues most men to their television. They will not see or enjoy any content then as well.
So, you need to choose the date and time wisely. When most people have nothing to do. Maybe a day like the elections. In elections, most people are free.
Now, after you have posted the content online – wait patiently and see the reaction among people. Remember, force nothing. If it’s going to go viral. It will naturally after you have done your part. If not, then better try next time. As you cannot control outside circumstances.
Advantages Of Viral Marketing Campaigns
As discussed prior, there is no certain rule-book that can tell you how to succeed through viral marketing campaigns. It’s not a cakewalk, as many of you might think. But think of it, if your content goes viral…
Then millions of people globally would know you almost instantly.
Everyone around the corner will talk about you. Suddenly you will become a freaking showman. You will enjoy all the recognition which you never got before. It might seem surreal now. But this can be a reality. In case, your content goes viral. The End result? Plenty of cash on your account…!!! More Revenue For Your Business….!!!
Here are some more advantages of viral marketing campaigns:
It Creates Your Brand Image
When your content goes viral. You become a star overnight. Now, everyone knows you, your business, and your services. There is no need for you to tell people what you deal with. It includes people who might never hear your name before. Now everybody knows you. You suddenly become an Internet Sensation.
After your content goes viral. You do nothing. Everything happens automatically on your behalf. As I said, a successful viral marketing campaign creates your brand image.
Remember the ”Will It Blend Campaign?” Do you know it was created on a minimal marketing budget and was an experiment?
Like this, in the past, several marketing campaigns are there that were created on a low-budget. Now, one can easily shoot a high-quality video or photo from their iPhone.
Many marketers uploaded a simple photo or a video that went viral overnight. There are plenty of such instances.
In reality, It’s never about the resources. – You just need to have a unique, interesting, one of a kind idea. That can grab the eyeballs. An idea that can catch the attention of people.
Most of the time influencer marketing, investing in large-scale production, etc are not needed. A great idea can do the work. The campaign needs to be relevant – that’s all.
It Helps Your Brand Reach A Large Audience
Viral Marketing Campaigns are regarded as successful – When they are circulated too many times on the web. When they reach a large audience. These two instances make a content ”Viral.”
For instance, companies might get excellent conversions, more engagement on social sites, increase sales, etc.
Remember the Coca-Cola Campaign? Or the Ice-Bucket Challenge? Those were a hit because it reached maximum people worldwide.
So, when your business content goes viral. It helps your brand reach a large audience.
Disadvantages Of Viral Marketing Campaigns
Once The Viral Marketing Campaign Is Released, You Have Little To No Control
That means once the campaign is out there on the web. You have no control over how people will interact with your content. In case the campaign message is misinterpreted, or it creates some controversy. Or it goes viral negatively. In that case, you won’t be able to do anything. Thus, it can harm your brand image beyond repair.
Viral Marketing Campaigns Are Difficult To Measure
That’s the primary reason businesses are heavily investing in online marketing. Because it is easier for marketers to measure ROI. Thus, one can make changes accordingly. But that’s not the case with viral marketing campaigns. These campaigns are sometimes a trial-and-error kind of thing. Some campaigns go viral overnight, almost instantly. Others might take several months. And some might never go viral.
Thus, you must keep in mind some metrics that can help you understand if the marketing campaign helped you or not.
Not Everybody Will Promote You
To succeed in viral marketing, you must target the specific right demographics. Everybody is not interested in what you want to say, and they won’t share your message further. That’s the reason several marketers create some evergreen content regarding viral marketing. That can interest everyone. As a business, in case, you don’t have a specific demographic who will share your content ahead. Then, the chances that your campaign will be successful… is low.
The solution? Be very specific while targeting people, i.e., demographics. Only target the interested ones.
3 Of The Most Popular Viral Marketing Campaigns
Wendy’s Chicken ReTweet Challenge
Back in 2017, it started with a simple tweet. When a teen Carter Wilkerson tweeted at Wendy’s, the popular fast-food chain. What followed was interesting. The teen asked how many retweets he would need to get a free supply of chicken nuggets for a year.
The popular food chain responded with ”18 Million.”
The teen requested the web for help, and the web granted his wish. While the teen could not make it to 18 million. Yet, it was the most retweeted tweet of all time.
They shared the tweet over 3,470,000 times. The support the teen got from the internet is Crazy, isn’t it?
Several renowned celebrities and brands like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Aaron Paul, Ellen DeGeneres showered their support to the teen. Also, after this, the teen Twitter account got the verified badge. And he also got his custom emoji and hashtag.
Another powerful viral marketing campaign making an enormous impact. Have you seen it? Each time you see the campaign, you get to feel mixed emotions.
The video was published in 2013. Just in one month of its release, the video got over 114 million views. The video was incredibly powerful and showed the real struggle women faced regularly.
The brief clip used an FBI trained artist who was painting the pictures of women. The artist cannot see them but was drawing according to the descriptions told – the artist was drawing the women’s pictures in two ways.
First, according to their own self-description. Second, was as per a stranger’s description of her.
The result? We find that the women’s self-description portrait was not attractive, but the other portrait was beautiful. The video showed the world the real struggle women faced regularly. It showed that women are self-critical of their inner beauty. They never appreciate themselves for who they are. It showed that women are always critical of themselves, their inner beauty. They never truly accepted and appreciated themselves.
The campaign was a grand success. Because the video was relatable and the people felt the message strongly.
Do you know this campaign is regarded as the campaign that saved old spice? They aired the campaign in 2010 and it was another grand hit.
The brand conducted research and found that it was women who used to purchase men’s personal hygiene kinds of stuff. Thus, through this campaign, they spoke directly with the targeted audience in a confident tone.
They said, ”anything is possible when your man smells like old spice and not a lady”
The guy in the video, Isaiah Mustafa, started the video on a mocking cheerful note that if the man stopped using lady-scented body wash they could smell like him.
The video went viral on the web almost instantly and received over 20 million views in just three days. I know it sounds crazy, isn’t it? This viral marketing campaign was a grand success. It was also featured in international media outlets.
WRAPPING IT UP!
That’s was all for the day. I hope you all enjoyed reading this guide to Viral Marketing. If you feel I am missing out on something, let me know in the comment section!
Viral Marketing is unpredictable… You can never guess what content might go viral. Trying to force things is also futile.
Instead of forcing things. Go the organic way. Research about your audiences and know their preferences. To make a viral campaign successful, your content needs to be appealing to your targeted audience. Otherwise, things might never work!
The second part of the process, creating mediocre content, will never work. It will backfire! Instead, invest your time and come up with a unique, appealing, and creative idea.
Create something that can resonate with your targeted audience. Remember, if you cannot make them feel anything then they will never pass it on. Feelings are powerful, use them wisely!
Before creating the viral marketing campaign, remember in-depth planning and research is necessary. Only a few viral campaigns are accidental. Most of these campaigns are well planned. Plan a strategy.
Keep your viral campaigns short and up to the point. If it’s long – it won’t spread. Remember to post on the right day and time. After you have posted your campaign on the web – make it shareable.