Looking to make a name for you business on social media, but don't have the money in your budget for advertising? One quick-ish way to introduce your business is with viral marketing. If you haven't heard before, viral marketing is a strategy that puts all if its efforts into spreading information person to person in an unconventional manner, i.e. social media.
Any business can create content that goes viral, no matter the budget. It's more than likely that you have all the tools you need to create a viral marketing campaign at your disposal. Have a blog? You'll need it. Have the Internet? Perfect. Have a video camera? Bonus. Before you get started, you might want to know a little bit more about why content gets shared and why it goes viral.
Why People Share Content
People don't just share every little thing they come across; there is most definitely a reason behind why a person shares a piece of content, whether it's a video, a blog post or an image. According to a study conducted by The New York Times Customer Insight Group, we share content on social media to:
1) Bring valuable and entertaining content to others
2) Define ourselves to others
3) Grow and nourish relationships
4) Market causes and brands
5) Achieve self-fulfillment
In addition, there are two ingredients that give any piece of content greater potential for going viral. First, the content needs to be worthy of being shared. Finally, the content is widely shared enough times to benefit from the networks where it was shared.
What Type of Content Goes Viral?
Have you recently seen a bunch of your Facebook friends proclaiming which Game of Thrones character they are? That's a viral quiz. Does a funny photo keep popping up in your stream? That's a viral photo. There are certain of pieces of content that go viral and those include:
1) Articles and blog posts
2) Interactive content, including games, quizzes and widgets
4) Infographics and memes
What Does Viral Marketing Look Like?
As mentioned, viral marketing takes on several different forms. Here are a few of our favorites.
"When Nurture Calls" is a breastfeeding campaign created by two University of North Texas students to raise awareness for the Texas state bill HB 1706, a proposed state law that would protect the rights of nursing mothers. The tagline: "Contact your state and/or local representative to voice your support for breastfeeding mothers, because a baby should never be nurtured where nature calls." This campaign went viral all over social media due to its strong message and the inherent divisive nature of public breastfeeding - a topic close to the heart of many, including our own.
Goldieblox is a toy company that wants to get rid of the idea that all girls like to do is dress in pink, carry around their pink baby dolls and be all about pink. They launched an ad campaign for their engineering kit that included a song set to the tune of The Beastie Boys' hit, "Girls." The viral ad actually got the company in hot water with the famous rap group for failing to pertain permission to use the song. It's easy to see why the ad went viral: it's cute and funny, while shining a light on the larger issue of gender roles.
About a month before Mother's Day, American Greetings launched an ad that tugged at the heartstrings of millions on social media entitled "The World's Toughest Job." The video features actual applicants for a job being interviewed via video and running through the skills necessary for the job. Anything that creates an emotional response is going to go viral. The relatability is extremely high and, in this case, it's two-fold for those who are moms themselves.
What Can I do to Create Viral Content?
It seems simple enough; include all the factors listed above and your content is bound to go viral. Unfortunately, it just isn't that easy. However, there are steps you can take to get more eyes on your content:
1) Promote your content like crazy. Post it on sites like Reddit, Digg or StubleUpon. If your content is performing well in those places, there's a greater likelihood it will get shared on social and go viral there, as well.
2) Look into syndicating your blog. Blog syndication is a great tool for increasing traffic to your site, as well as your social accounts.
3) Make your content easy to share. Have sharing buttons at the ready for all the major social networks.
4) Create a call-to-action that prompts people to share.
5) Give an incentive for those who share your content. A giveaway is a great way motivator!
Viral content is an excellent way to get a business a load of attention in a short amount of time while maximizing their current tools and sources - a brain and the Internet. Just because your budget is small doesn't mean you can't have the same impact on social media as the giant brands. Spreading your message in a meaningful way can make a big impression. Use what you have to get people talking.