Viral marketing: Making viral marketing work for you

Viral marketing: Making viral marketing work for you

Viral marketing is a really great marketing tool where you let your fans do all the work for you. With viral marketing, your campaigns will suddenly get a life of their own. It is immensely powerful, usually having up to 1000 times greater impact than just regular advertising. But how?

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Here are some tips on creating a great viral campaign

Get emotional

It's important to create a campaign that provokes a strong emotional response. You need to have an opinion, to express an idea with commitment and dedication. You want people's blood to be pumping with excitement. Forget neutral, trying to please everyone, supporting several target groups or any of the many ways to be unbiased. Viral marketing is 100% about emotions.

Do something unexpected

If you want people to notice your campaign, you have to do something different, something unexpected. Forget about trying to promote your products as just being great – everybody does that. Forget about trying to make it look cool – everyone else has “been there, done that”. Remember the bear being attacked by a man? That was unexpected – and it is one the most effective viral advertisements ever.

Do not try to make advertisements

One of the biggest mistake companies make is when they think viral marketing is just advertisements that people share, it is not. Traditional marketing is about promoting your product, showing how good it is, giving it centre stage and generally being incredibly selfish. Viral marketing is all about a good story. When BMW put out BMW Films, the main ingredient was not the cars, but the story. Replace the car with another one, and it would still be great. When Sony made their Bravia TV ads, the product was not even seen – yet everyone remembers it. Focus exclusively in creating a good and interesting story.

Make sequels

People have just seen your campaign. They think it was interesting, unexpected and their emotions have reached a high level, you have their complete attention. Now what do you do? You give them more. This can be many things;

  • It can be extra movies similar in concept to the first one

  • It can be a behind the scenes look

  • Bloopers

  • A blog about the process

  • Extra material, goodies etc.
…or all of the above

Allow sharing, downloading and embedding

Sharing is what viral marketing is all about. Everything you do to make that easier is going to improve your campaign. That means that you need allow people to:

  • Download the content, in a usable format (videos in MPG, pictures in JPG etc.)

  • Allow them to easily embed the content on their own sites

  • Send it to friends, either using a link or by sending the content directly.

  • Publish it on various social networks

  • Add it to bookmarking sites

Connect with comments

Another important element is to connect with your audience. Remember you got their attention, they are excited and now they want talk. Comments is one of the most effective ways to do this. Keep in mind that the best viral marketing campaign is one that creates a strong emotion. This means some people will really like it – while others will get very angry. You have to accept both in your comments, and you have to welcome both opinions. But, at the same time you must prevent individuals to wage war against each other. It is not a sin to delete comments from people who attack another person, or if the comment is off-topic. But, it is a sin to delete comments from people who just have an negative opinion. And, most importantly. Connecting with people through comments means talking back. Do not add comments if you do not want to participate yourself.

Never restrict access

Viral marketing is also about your campaign getting a life on its own and spreading like virus. In order to do that, in order to become “viral”, it needs to be free.

  • never add restrictions to the mix.

  • do not make it compulsory for people to register or become members to download special software

  • don't make is necessary to enter “unlock” codes

Viral marketing is never about exclusivity. It is about getting it out there for everyone to see.

There is a common message in all of these tips which is that you need to do it right – or not do it at all. Only the best viral marketing campaigns make it.

If you would like to explore how viral marketing could work for your business then give us a call.