Marketing is a well-known factor when it comes to the success of a business. It creates a unique brand for your business that allows you to build customer loyalty as well as to advertise to new potential customers. Today, viral marketing is more popular than ever.

One of the most effective methods of marketing is “word of mouth” advertising. This revolves around ensuring that your existing customers are extremely satisfied so that they start recommending your business to the people they know.

This effectively allows for the exponential growth of your company for little to no extra costs. With the introduction of the internet and online marketing, viral marketing has become appealing for many business owners.

Word of mouth has been used by businesses since the dawn of time.

Viral marketing is essentially the electronic equivalent of “word of mouth”. However it can prove much more effective in generating interest in your company since it has a much wider reach.

Viral marketing featured image

Many businesses want to take advantage of this. Today, we’ll be exploring how. But first, let’s start with the basics.

What Is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is essentially when you create a piece of content which is shared by huge numbers of people, well outside of your audience. When this sharing hits critical mass, it’s known as going viral.

In other words, you want to create something shareable, in order to get your brand in front of thousands, or even millions of people. For a brief moment, successful viral marketing campaigns become part of the wider cultural fabric.

This is especially effective due to the wide reach of the internet causing your business to be known globally, making it one of the best online marketing solutions.

Viral marketing stats
Content is most likely to go viral if it gets an emotional response. Image credit: Semrush

How to Use Viral Marketing

Of course, this is a lot harder than it sounds. Realistically, in order for your content to go viral, you need three things:

  1. A great idea,
  2. Excellent execution,
  3. An awful lot of luck.

The last point is often the most important. As such, the goal should be to maximise your chances of going viral. To do this, it’s important to understand the types of content which are best suited to viral marketing.

Viral Videos

It is estimated that there are 3.25 billion hours of YouTube being watched every month. This means that it is a great medium for spreading awareness for your business. All it takes is one successful video to go viral for your business to gain massive exposure.

Typically, a viral marketing video aims to be unique, This can be done through various ways such as:

  • Eye-catching visuals,
  • Controversial ideas,
  • Thought to provoke topics,
  • Calls to action.

Generally, a viral video is not centred around your business. However, through the smart placement of your logo or products will allow your business to benefit from the popularity that the video gains without seeming too commercial which customers tend to dislike.

Viral videos are generally fairly short, although we’ll see one prominent exception to this later. A few years ago, Vine was the top platform for viral video. Nowadays, it has been replaced by TikTok.

Social Media

To your business, social media is the ideal medium to generate traffic for your business through interacting with the customers.

To begin with, potential customers may be engaged through posting informative content on your social media pages. Furthermore, engaging content such as competition or promotions can be hosted specifically on social media.

Content Marketing

Another great way to go viral is through the creation of written content marketing. These articles should be relevant to the current trends and should aim to answer questions that the general public is talking about.

This is one of the simplest methods of viral marketing as all it requires is that your business writes about relevant topics. This should already be happening if you are doing proper keyword research.

Furthermore, by implementing proper SEO techniques, your chances at going viral rise exponentially.

This is why it is important to make sure that your articles are properly streamlined and that you include several internal links in order to direct this massive traffic into more articles on your website.

Engaging the Viewer

It is often recommended that your content should engage the viewer. This serves two purposes. The first being that an engaged customer is much more likely to return to your business because of the satisfaction of being relevant.

This builds customer loyalty for your brand. Second, engagement is often on social media which means that others will see this engagement, generating interest in your business. With enough people doing it, your business could go viral.

Engagement can be in the form of asking the audience questions that they may discuss or promotions that encourage customers to share your business. This is quite effective as it leaves the customers satisfied.

Viral Marketing Success Stories

When you are trying to go viral, it is often wise to attempt all these previously stated methods.

In fact, they all compliment each other quite nicely allowing for a much more engaging brand that will cause your potential customers to choose you over the competition. Now, let us observe some stories of viral campaign successes.

Kony 2012

Kony 2012 is probably the most infamous example of a viral marketing campaign in history. It may feel like only yesterday, but in 2012, many people were a lot less skeptical of online content than they are today.

The documentary-style film aimed to spread awareness of the crimes of Joseph Kony, a Ugandan Warlord, and was even described by Time Magazine as the most viral video ever.

However, it was greatly criticised by experts in the region, for vastly oversimplifying the problem, and doing more to make Western audiences feel as though they were making a contribution, than to actually creating solutions.

The Kony 2012 campaign also notably made a concerted effort to sell relevant merchandise in the film, which also led to a great deal of criticism. This is obviously questionable in terms of digital marketing ethics.

Viral marketing kony 2012 example

GoPro in action

GoPro is a company that prides itself on its high-quality cameras that are super portable and almost indestructible. They realized that there is nothing better than thanking customers marketing the products for them.

That is why they are featuring some of the best customer-created videos on their site and social media.

These are often videos of trendy sports or adventures. However, one particular video caught the eye of the public. It was this video of the firefighter with a GoPro attached to his helmet saving a kitten.

his video evoked emotions in many and its upload on the official GoPro YouTube has reached over 5 million views. This was a perfect example of how the GoPro allows you to truly capture the moment and there is no doubt that it has convinced many to purchase their own.

If you want to learn more about viral marketing, or video content more generally, speak to ProfileTree today.

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