A Scientific Guide on Viral Marketing

by alice.walton April 11, 2016

Social media campaigns are designed by marketers with very specific goals in mind. Although, the basic purpose of social media is to communicate and interact with friends and family, with the advancement it has also become a serious part of any advertising or marketing campaign.

Facebook is one platform out of many social media apps and it alone has over one and a half billion active users. This shows the diversity and high usage Facebook boasts around the world.

For business and official use, Facebook has always been marketer’s top choice and the end goal of every marketer is get their brand and their business out in the market… to get it recognized and increase awareness amongst target audience, potential customers and clients.

Any type of content can be delivered through social media at any instant and in any format of your choice. Some messages get spread across faster than the others. The factor that makes the difference is how you optimize the content you are putting up on social media.

The better the optimization of content, the greater are the chances that,

  • More people will view your content (not only just targeted audience but potential customers and rest of the community as well)
  • The higher reach will result in higher engagement and interaction on the post, which will make it rank higher in Google analytics and the post will also appear on the top of news feed of audience
  • The posts that are more famous amongst users are also shared the most, creating a free flow of content to multiple social medias in the form of screenshots, memes, funny rip-off tweets and more
  • When content is recognized across multiple types of social media, it eventually means more traffic to the website which consequently results in higher sales, lead and revenue

Viral content is a vital part of any social media campaign and although it is short term most of the time, it still has profound effect on any business. Any article, blog, video, picture, tweet or status update can go viral when it has all the right aspects in it such as.

What-time-

  • Right Time (When the topic is hot and there are debates going on about it)
  • Right People (If the content is introduced to the community that can actually relate with it and feel the same as you, it means you have done your job)
  • Right Platform (Each social media app and website reacts to content differently. The same content mipageght not get great feedback when it is in the text form on a blog but if you convert it into an infographic or GIF, it is possible that the reaction is completely different.)

Now, this might look easy in writing but most of the time it is not. Out of 100 percent, in 90% of the instances, the content that goes viral might be simple and ordinary but has the ability to resonate with people. Either this content on social media is produced by completely normal people who are trying to get a message across their limited number of friends and family, or they want to entertain the Facebook audience in form of vines and funny videos.

Going viral may not be the intention at all and it is still possible that content goes viral. Other times, no matter how hard you try or do everything right, you would still not be able to achieve your goal.

However, market researchers and viral scientists believe that there are specific traits that help the content become viral. Jonah Berger, a University of Pennsylvania professor explained the five indispensable factors involved in making a content viral. According to these factors, the content must be,

  • Surprising
  • Interesting
  • Intense
  • Positive and
  • Actionable

While these are the essential components of creating a viral campaign, originality and keeping a unique perspective is also important. The content that has novelty in it will attract more people and not all these people might necessarily be your target audience.

The whole point of creating viral content is reach much larger audience than just your followers and fan base. The message needs to resonate with everyone without the limitation of interests, border or race etc.

Once you get successful in going viral, the first and foremost thing to remember is that you capitalize on this opportunity and make every minute count, even if it is just a short-lived fame.

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Make a plan:

Always keep a plan for the way you will handle PR once your content goes viral. This way, you will be able to handle media’s attention and would be able to promote the cause and services that really matter.

Keep your web developers on standby because sometimes websites go down and become unavailable due to heavy traffic, which might prove disastrous for the viral campaign.

Find new opportunities:

In a viral marketing campaign, accept the attention of media as much as possible and stay extra active on social media platforms. Set up alerts for your campaign with keywords so when someone mentions it, you can find them and respond to them.

Viral content is usually considered something that audience drools over while the creators sit afar and enjoy. In my opinion, you should be more active than ever. The simple reason is that if you are actively involved in your campaign and interact with users, there is a chance that they will remember you better and for future Facebook and social media campaigns, that might come in handy.

Keep up with trends:

Once you get the recognition, do not let it go to waste. Keep working towards making yourself better and more of the content that is up-to-date and trending with people.

Do not be afraid to try new things and try out new themes. It is important to be bold and risky if it is a calculated risk. Business needs a lot of sacrifices and one of those is to stay flexible and adapt to changes and trends.

In the current social media scenario, there is a high probability that if you produce something unusual, you will get attention. Marketers and advertisers also love controversy because you do not have to hope or beg for interaction from followers. Controversial topics automatically create opposite sides and spark instant engagement, however be careful in choosing the topic as it should not be culturally inappropriate or something that hurts people’s feelings.

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Keep wanting more and never stop:

For as long as social media will exist, your job to keep up with and adjust with new trends will go on. One good break might be the thing you need to power start, but you should know how to convert that start into a successful social standing in the industry.

Read analytics. Ask people questions, opinions and feedback. Listen to them and the kind of content they want to see and then create that content.

The analytics are important because they show you what worked in the past and where you should be focusing your energy on in the future.

Keeping all this in mind, we can conclude that a viral content is something relatable, shareable and most importantly unique. It is an effective way to make quick money but it also serves as an opportunity to make difference by promoting a real cause and not just your own business and products. You can decide your future campaigns based on it and derive maximum advantage in the form of revenue and social standing.

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