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Going Viral

The power of social media is undeniable and today we spend, on average, 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing the networks that have become so synonymous with everyday life (The Telegraph 2015). Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can either make or break reputations, almost overnight and it can take only a humble, single share to help your company name travel around the world.

Yet viral marketing is far from a straight forward task. Despite the significant amount of time consumers spend on social media, it’s still incredibly difficult to craft content that not only engages, but that inspires enough for consumers to hit that share button. In this article, we’ll take a look at just what it is that makes content go viral and five simple steps that you can take towards viral marketing success.

 

Viral marketing done right!

Dove – Real women

The Dove ‘Real Women’ campaign has seen success at all levels, not least because of its fresh approach to what it means to be beautiful. Their latest campaign has been the Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign which involves an inspiring video contrasting how women see themselves, against how others see them. This video gained 114 million views in its first month after launch.

 

Lay’s/Walker’s – Do Us a Flavour

A lot of the viral content that we see gains its success by being interactive, Walker’s is a great exampled of this (or Lay’s as they’re known within the US). A recent campaign asked consumers to create their own crisp flavour. And there were some weird ones including Cajun Squirrel… mmm!

 

GoPro – Fireman saves a kitten

The heroic fireman – a well-respected profession and when put together with the internet’s favourite cute icon (a kitten – what else?) then you have some super share-friendly content.

 

Three core factors behind any successful viral marketing campaign

Each and every one of the examples we’ve covered here have three core things in common with each other and if you want to mirror these results you need to break down how each relates to your product or service.

  1. Emotion

Key to eliciting a response from the consumer. Make your content emotional; it’s clear from every example above just how powerful this can be. Emotions are powerful and can be the difference between someone picking up the phone, making a purchase or walking away. If you can evoke an emotional response in somebody they are unlikely to forget your brand or business in a hurry.

However in the case of Walkers, rather than opting for the dewy eyed response as seen with GoPro and Dove, they’ve opted to appeal to consumer’s competitive and creative nature (and the incentive of a big prize at the end of it doesn’t hurt either!).

  1. Realism

Viral marketing is about being real, transparent and doing away with much of the super shiny, corporate gloss that usually goes hand in hand with marketing.

  1. Relatability

Above all else, viral content is something that users can relate to. It needs to be relevant to them and effectively mirror an aspect of their life, struggles or personality.

 

3 Top tips for viral content success

Going beyond these 3 core elements, are the following tips that should help you in beginning to craft a viral marketing, content strategy.

  1. Understand who your customers are and what they care about

Forget about what you know in relation to your consumers and your product or service. Think again about what your clients’ biggest concerns are outside of what you’re selling. Work backwards from this point to try and find common ground between the problem you solve with your product or service and the concerns of your market.

  1. Aim to create content that inspires

Positive, viral content receives far more success than content that takes a negative line; the key to understanding this is that the average consumer shares content in the hope that their social standing will be raised in addition to secondly helping others (Kissmetrics 2015).

  1. Give a little for a share

Viral content is successful because consumers are inspired to share, yet it doesn’t hurt to provide a little impetus for sharing your content. As we’ve seen with Walkers, a competition can be the stuff of share friendly pixie dust, so consider working a competition, or perhaps even a discount, into your viral campaign.

What Next?

We’ve looked at some successful campaigns from large commercial businesses but without the million pound budget and the high profile, what hope does a smaller business have? The companies mentioned above have worked hard with the support from a team of experts, to create a strong online presence and following. After all, it’s all very well having one post that goes viral but what happens after that? How do you maintain that profile?

With a strong social media and online presence you are on your way to engaging users with your brand. Formation have seen companies double and even triple their turnover through digital marketing. Contact us to find out how we can create and manage your online presence to transform your business.

Going Viral

Written by Joe McGurk

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