Viral marketing is a phrase that has grown in prominence over the last 5 years primarily as a result of the growth in consumer interaction on social media. Viral marketing has always been used by successful business to help advertise events and raise brand awareness. It is not been until recent years where digital marketers have coined the phrase ‘Viral Marketing’ to define social engagement.
Since the rise of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in the 1990s, viral marketing has grown in its prominence. Using these social groups it is much easier to encourage your customers and stakeholders to spread the word about your business, project or event. If viral marketing is strategically planned and tactically delivered then it can reach thousands of potential customers very quickly.
What is Viral Marketing?
Viral marketing at its basic level is an idea, company or project that spreads. Something going viral doesn’t however make it viral marketing. Just because your video on YouTube achieved 10,000 hits, does not mean that you used any viral marketing techniques to get this coverage. For an idea to be marketed using viral marketing strategies, it must actually help market your business, project or cause.
There are two recognised forms of viral marketing. The first is where the product is taken to market. A good example of this can be seen through Gmail or YouTube. The more people who interact and use these products, the more people see them and the more people have a desire to engage with them. In this example the product usually improves the more people who use it. Viral marketing therefore can help a product to grow.
The second type of viral marketing is a more recent phenomenon and has only really come to light in the last 5 years. This type of viral marketing is where a campaign about a product, event or cause spreads without itself being the product. A great example of this is in the online videos of Serje at CompareTheMeercat.com. People see this character, like it and choose to spread it. The media ultimately communicates the need to purchase car insurance however it was comical and engaging enough to be spread virally.
How to Use Social Media in Viral Marketing
The danger with viral marketing is that we can often lose the opportunity to strategically position the business by rushing in to communicate or share information that is more often or not self-obsessed and uninteresting.
Everyone loves free media, so it is vital to create content that is interactive, fun and likely to be shared and distributed. The other danger in viral marketing is that we go to the other extreme and create something that is so viral that it does not communicate the message clearly; sure it will attract 1,000,000 hits but it won’t market the business.
Can your Business utilise Viral Marketing?
Any business can use viral marketing techniques to communicate a message, product or cause to a wide audience. Even if you have no followers on Facebook or Twitter, creating something that is viral will produce reward and ultimately a return on investment.
Contact us today to find out how we could help you to grow your business using viral marketing.