A viral marketing campaign can be a powerful boon for businesses. When your campaign enjoys huge shares and engagement on social within a short space of time, it’s a massive win, both for your brand and your sales.
Viral marketing might feel out of reach for many businesses, especially smaller ones. But it is possible to achieve this. Read on to discover why and learn s8ome useful tips to inform your own viral marketing campaign in 2020.
Viral marketing campaigns typically comprise a video, article, story, or another form of content that is shared with and engaged by a significant number of people in a short space of time.
Virality is an arcane art, one that can be hard to pin down. But with care, tact, and precision, it’s entirely possible to increase your chances of getting your content viral. As such, it’s worth looking for inspiration from examples of other marketing campaigns to help you hone yours.
The marketing podcast Marketing Speak is a good resource (listen here for the latest episodes). Interviewees range from creative visionary Daniel Harmon to content marketing expert Dave Snyder, and they’re full of expert insight into what makes a successful viral marketing campaign.
Creating a marketing campaign that goes viral is by no means guaranteed. Even the best marketers in the world can’t guarantee that. But by following a few simple tips and building them into your marketing strategy, you can increase your chances of making it so.
The qualities below might not be shared in every successful viral marketing campaign, but they are identifiers of virality that are well worth taking note of.
Strive for accessibility and make it easy to understand
Virality is about appealing to the masses, and if you want to appeal to the masses, you need to make it as easy and understandable as possible. This is especially true if, as you should be, you’re using social media to cascade your viral marketing campaign to the masses.
With so much content on social, anything that is dense or hard to understand will immediately get passed over by users in favor of something more palatable. Consequently, your viral marketing campaign needs to be as simple and accessible as possible.
The words, vocabulary, and language you use play an important role here. Whether your campaign uses written copy or spoken narrative, strive for a readability level of around Grade 6. It’s worth using a tool like Grammarly here to test your copy.
In the same vein, if you’re sharing a video with the aim of sending it viral, include subtitles where possible. As well as catering to hearing-impaired audiences, this also lets people engage with videos when their audio isn’t enabled — for instance, if they’re on public transport.
Make it relatable to the masses
While accessibility is important, you should also strive for relatability in your viral marketing campaign. As well as making your content accessible to the masses, you also need to make it relatable to them too.
That said, if you’re targeting a niche audience — for instance, beauty products aimed at redheads — then you will need to create highly specific content that addresses their niche interests.
As a result, this is about more than just delivering content that taps into people’s interests and that people can relate to — it’s also about presenting that content in a way that people are familiar with.
Social media is a good example here. If you present your content in a way that mirrors the other content your followers share on social — person-led narratives, human-inspired stories, and so on — it will have more impact as a result.
Being relatable is to be human. Let humanity and personality permeate your marketing campaign, and it will have greater resonance as a result.
Elicit strong emotions from your audience
One of the biggest factors in creating viral marketing is emotion. The best viral marketing campaigns are those that elicit a strong emotional reaction from the audience. It’s generally inspiration, happiness, or general positivity, but it could also be outrage.
This strategy is excellent for increasing engagement, especially when combined with a video for maximum social shares. Take a look at Facebook and you’ll see plenty of uplifting videos being shared widely across the platform as a direct result of the strong emotional reaction they elicit.
While inspirational content is often a huge driver of virality, so too are more negative emotions. If your marketing campaign elicits sadness, anger, or outrage, you can still encourage virality as a result.
Part of this is also about audiences being able to show their own virtue. Sharing uplifting content with a positive message lets people show their social followers that they, too, share those positive qualities too.
Deliver value that improves your audience’s lives
While eliciting emotion from people is an effective way of increasing engagement with your campaign and boosting its chances of going viral, so too is adding value and genuine usefulness to your campaign.
This is one of the core tenets of content marketing: value. If something aids and abets your audience, then it gets engagement. If it is engaging, then it is more likely to go viral.
This value can be delivered in a variety of different ways. Advice columns, tip listicles, life hack articles, simple how-to videos — these are all perfect ways to deliver useful, helpful information to your campaign’s audience.
The value of this is related to your campaign’s ability to improve the lives of the people it reaches. We all desire for an easy solution, and a viral marketing campaign that delivers genuine value taps into that.
Crafting a successful viral marketing campaign requires checking a number of boxes. The tips above should give you a solid feel for how to craft a solid campaign, but it’s never guaranteed.
Take inspiration from other successful campaigns and use these qualities as part of a cohesive promotion strategy that helps your campaign get shared and engaged with by a lot of people and the right people.