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What is Viral Marketing?

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Just a few years ago the internet was like a one-way street where a person got online simply to get information. There was no interaction, and there was no such thing as a share or a like. But as the internet evolved into the Web 2.0 world we know today interaction became the primary element. It is now a super highway running both ways with all sorts of social interactions. This is basically what drives viral marketing. The main idea behind a viral marketing campaign is to initiate social sharing of your message for you. Some experts suggest that a viral campaign will have between 500 and a 1000 times more impact than a campaign that is not viral.

Why is it called “Viral” Marketing?

When we think of a virus, we generally think of flu season. But viral marketing is a strategy which helps pass information on from person to person simulating how a virus is passed until an enormous amount of people have been in contact with it. A viral marketing message has the potential of exponential growth in terms of how many people it is exposed to or how many individuals are influenced by the message. Just like a virus, this strategy will require taking advantage of very rapid multiplication in order for the message to explode out to thousands or millions of individuals.

Elements that Make Up a Viral Marketing Strategy

We must all face the fact that there are some viral marketing strategies which are more effective than others. No matter what the basic strategy is comprised of there are six basic elements that should always be included. It is important to note that any one viral marketing strategy does not have to have all of these elements, but to achieve more powerful results you will want to use more of these elements.

  • Product or Services Give Away
  • Make it easy to transfer to others
  • Create a strategy that is easily scaled form small to large
  • Exploit common behaviors or motivations
  • Utilize existing networks used for communication
  • Takes advantage of available resources

These will require that you stop trying to please everyone. It’s even okay to invoke strong emotions because people should either love you or hate you. Take a stand or do something unexpected. Allow and promote sharing on social media platforms and remember to make a sequel to your campaign. Use one to get people’s attention and then offer them exactly what you want them to do next.

Connecting with Your Audience

In order for a viral campaign to be successful, there will have to be some interaction. Actually a vital part of a viral campaign is connecting with the audience. Make sure to allow for comments or input from your audience on a regular basis. Consumers want to hear from one another. Use this interaction to your benefit.

What Not to Do

There are also a couple of things that should not be done in conjunction with a viral marketing campaign. For instance, avoid making your message simply an advertisement. Instead of having your focus on your company, product or yourself turn it to making a good story that followers will find interesting. It’s okay to include a subtle business promotion – but it should not be the focal point. The other thing to avoid is restricting access. In order to create an effective viral campaign don’t restrict access to it. You will not want to require individuals to register, download special software or become members to participate. Viral marketing is not about being exclusive; it is rather all about getting your message out there for the rest of the world to see.

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