Are you planning to launch a viral marketing campaign?
My previous article, 6 Rules for a Message to Go Viral, explained how to craft a compelling message. It also mentioned that a good story is not enough to succeed, you also need to effectively distribute it. Now, I will show you how to do it.
First of all, you need to understand the viral marketing distribution process.
A compelling message could be the king, but the distribution is the kingdom.
The viral messages are spread on social media networks and they require the active participation of individuals. Think of a diagram in which each individual is represented by a dot and is linked via lines to other dots, representing friends or followers. If, say, John is “infected” by a viral message, he may transmit the contagion along these links to his friends by sharing the viral message with them, respectively. John´s friends could, in turn, pass the contagion to their contacts, and so on.
If you want to distribute successfully your viral content, you have to know your target audience and the audience of your audience. This knowledge will help you to craft the right message and choose the right channels to spread your content.
Understand your audience
Please, consider the chart below and build your audience persona.
Meet the audience where they are
As mentioned before, the viral messages are spread on social media networks and they require the active participation of individuals. Social media helps to make things more observable. If your friends like a viral message, why not you?
The survey below made by Pew Research Center shows how different those social media consumption depending on the demographic, socio-economic and cultural characteristics of US adults. How is it in your country? Find out which social platform best matches your audience.
The medium is the message
It is also important to consider the “personality” of each social network because the medium itself influences how people receive the message. Therefore, will your mediums help to reach your goal?
Do Influencers help to spread your message?
In disease models, highly connected people are called “superspreaders” because they help drive epidemics. However, in 2016 by examining the behavior of Twitter users, it demonstrated that superconnected agents pass on very few of the memes they receive. This is because they cannot possibly see everything in their staggeringly lengthy feeds.
Jon Steinberg and Jack Krawczyk have found that the key influencer model doesn’t reflect reality. The data suggest that content and ideas online spread through large numbers of people sharing with small groups.
“Our data show that online sharing, even at viral scale, takes place through many small groups, not via the single status post or tweet of a few influencers. While influential people may be able to reach a wide audience, their impact is short-lived. Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinarily people sharing with their friends”.
It’s not the influencers that you need to persuade, your story has to be interesting to those beyond your immediate audience. Each one of them is an important part of the network and success relies on creating something that every one of them will want to talk to their friends about. This is the only way to reach the audience of your audience.
How to get your content widely shared?
1. Build a big community
If you have already a big community following you, you will have more possibilities to succeed. If not, the first thing you should do is to build your audience on your social networks.
2. Join social media groups that match your audience
Identify potential groups, join them and seed your content in multiple affinity groups to achieve outreach.
3. Find potential publishers
To get your content widely shared, you need a high number of views. Consider extremely popular sites as BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed’s most-shared post within the last year got 2.6 million shares.
4. Have you got a large staff? Your employees can also help to expand your viral message
Employee advocacy outweighs influencer marketing. Starbucks urges its baristas to recommend products to their friends on social media and earn a commission for the referrals.
Why? According to Sprout Social, 61% of people would be more likely to research a product or service that a friend recommends on social media, compared with 36% for influencers or celebrities.
5. Take advantage of email marketing
Have you got a large corporate database? If you do, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity. Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Generation X (1965-1980) are avid users of email so running viral email campaigns could be fruitful for you.
Nowadays, companies must constantly find new pockets outside of the saturated digital ecosystem to connect with their consumers, viral marketing is one of the alternatives.
Viral marketing can boost a cost-effective level of brand awareness, create a buzz online and offer something exclusive to users and it is also a powerful marketing tool for brands that can’t afford above-the-line advertising.
However, you must realize that viral marketing is not an easy job.
First, you need to know your audience and find what matters to them. Second, you must create a powerful message that resonates and makes them share it with their friends. Finally, you need to set up an effective distribution channel for your viral marketing messages.
I hope these two posts helped you to design your next viral marketing campaign. I wish you a lot of success.
If you liked this post, share it with your friend; if you disliked it, share it with your enemy.
POST WRITTEN BY
A Madrid Polytechnic University International MBA has worked as global marketing director in B2B and B2C international leading companies implementing global marketing and communication strategies to ensure business objectives and to optimize brands reputation and visibility on a global level.