Viral Marketing definition

What is viral marketing

When it comes to marketing, there’s a big difference between good exposure and going viral. A promotional campaign that gains a few extra hundred clicks to your website is great for business, and in most cases would be considered a success. But going viral is different. Marketing campaigns that generate millions of impressions across different countries – and often continents – can be completely game changing for a business.

Social media is the most popular breeding ground for viral content. Funny videos, tweets and Instagram posts can spread like wildfire if they hit the right spot. Major brands are now pumping hundreds of thousands of pounds into marketing that goes the distance on social media.

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What are the benefits of viral marketing?

Obviously, viral marketing is good for a brand. At the end of the day it boosts revenue and keeps shareholders happy. But there are some other advantages to viral marketing besides money making.

  • It gets people talking. When people see something that they like, they share it with others. Through these chains of interaction, which now take place in the form of retweets, likes and shares, there are no limits to the amount of customers that your brand can reach. This is different to more traditional marketing, which targets certain areas with billboards, posters and bus advertisements.
  • Its cost-effective. Despite the fact that brands are gambling more and more money in hope of their promotional campaign going viral, social media marketing still offers brilliant value for money. Even without paying for sponsored advertisement, social media posts can grow organically by gaining traction across different platforms.
  • It changes customer perceptions. A viral marketing campaign can breathe life into a brand that’s gone stale.
    Young people in particular feel engaged by brands that ‘get’ social media and know how to create content that resonates with millennials. One of these, the Museum of English Rural Life, has transformed itself from a relatively bland tourist attraction to trendsetter through its savvy tweets.
  • Boost social media following. In an age when people and businesses are judged by their following on social media, a fast-spreading promotional campaign can make all the difference. Brands who have produced viral marketing campaigns usually gain thousands of followers in their presence. That’s a whole new market of scrolling thumbs that from then on will be consuming all of your brand’s posts.

How can you make your business go viral?

There’s no secret answer to the question of how to make your brand go viral. By principle, a marketing campaign has to be unique in order to get shared. Even so, here are some general tips that can help you to boost engagement on social media.

  • Create a compelling Twitter campaign. Content spreads faster on Twitter than any other social network. Carlsberg was aware of that recently when it launched paid to promote tweets on the platform that ripped into the quality of its lager. The whole scandal turned out to be a veiled marketing ploy to whet customers’ appetites for its new brew, Carlsberg Pilsner.
  • Make a video. There’s no more social media friendly content than video. It’s hard to scroll past any play button on Instagram without watching the opening few seconds. If you can capture people’s attention in that short time frame, then you’re halfway there to producing a marketing campaign that is viewed by thousands of people.
  • Find a jingle. Brands that choose a catchy soundtrack to overlay their adverts benefit from their content being watched again and again. Coca-Cola got it right at 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when they launched a remix of K’naan’s iconic Wavin’ Flag. Finding a song that customers can sing along to is a great way to boost your brand across the airwaves.
  • Get on the April Fools bandwagon. Year on year, more and more brands are posting prank social media posts to engage with their online following. Repairs franchise Autoglym put in a good effort this year, posting a jokey video that poked fun at over the top car care.

Who uses viral marketing?

Viral marketing is good for any business. But there are some brands who are investing in it more than others. Many are putting a lot of money into ‘influencer marketing’, which involves paying social media stars to post sponsored content on their social media profiles. This is a tactic that was notoriously used by Fyre Festival – before it went up in flames – to entice festival goers.

Another brand that is leading the way with this marketing strategy is Daniel Wellington. By encouraging over 7,000 influencers to post candid photos that feature its luxury watches, the brand has gained over four million followers on Instagram and seen a big rise in profit.

However, it is becoming more difficult than ever for influencers to covertly post sponsored content. Advertising regulators have toughened their stance, making it clear that all promotional content has to be earmarked – think #ad.

How do I do viral marketing on Facebook?

Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. The two billion users that log onto Facebook every month are a prime market for advertisers. They use different strategies to make sure that their brand videos, posts and pictures are SEO optimised and seen by as many people as possible.

The most popular – and easiest – tactic that they use is sponsored posts. All businesses, from SMEs to franchises, pay to have their content put in users’ newsfeeds. By telling Facebook about their target market, the social media platform can calibrate which users receive the content depending on their age, gender, interests and buying habits.

But advertising on Facebook doesn’t come cheap. Brands pay a premium rate to make sure that their brand name is exposed to as many people as possible. If your business cannot afford the cost, there are other ways that they can boost their social media interactions. Video content works well on Facebook, just like any social media platform, and therefore is a solid bet if you want to spread the word without breaking the bank.

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