There are times when we encounter same messages or memes or photos everywhere and on every social media platform. Everybody around us happens to be talking about the same message. Have you ever wondered, "How does this happen?" or "Who started this?"
These messages are a result of Viral Marketing. It is the spreading of any information or message across the population via internet or through word-of-mouth. It results in exponentially increasing the visibility of the message. Such a viral content increases brand awareness, interest and potential sale of a product or service. Viral Marketing is one of the most valued medium of Digital Marketing.
However, the marketer has limited or no control over viral messages and sometimes these messages can also create a negative image of the brand. A recent example of a video that went viral showed a delivery boy from Zomato eating food out of the boxes to be delivered and repacking them raised questions on Zomato’s service quality. As a result, the food delivery service had to terminate that delivery boy.
Viral Marketing could be both Intentional and Accidental but in both cases, multiplication and distribution of the message happens organically. Although, a marketer cannot fully control the distribution of the content over social media platforms but keeping a few points in mind could help in stacking the odds in his favor:
“Find a niche not a nation”- Seth Godin
You should first understand your niche because not everybody likes the same content and passes it on. A detailed research should go in before choosing your target audience. These should be based on people’s online behavior, their demographics, psychographics and even their after-purchase behavior. The social media platforms and the content that your potential customers prefer should also be taken into account.It is then only that your audience is more likely to share the content online.
“Not all social media platforms are ideal for all businesses”- Melonie Dodaro
Each and every social media platform is unique in its own way. Therefore, choosing one or all for viral marketing needs a detailed study beforehand. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have their defined and unique audience and content. What works on Instagram may not work on LinkedIn and vice versa. Similarly, Twitter is an immediate broadcast platform while Facebook is a more personal one.
Therefore, content should be created and altered keeping in mind the requirements and feasibility of each social media platform.
“Content is king, but engagement is queen and the lady rules the house”- Mari Smith
Every social media platform uses algorithms that rank more engaging content on top of the page/feed and the less engaging ones on the bottom. Therefore, while creating content, you should identify the requirements of such algorithms for high engagement content and create accordingly. No marketer wants his efforts to go unnoticed. Content with high engagement factor have higher visibility across social media platforms and are more likely to be re-shared.
“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”- Mark Zuckerberg
Social Media Influencers are people who have a substantial amount of following in a particular niche and could affect the online behavior of their audience. Marketers who partner with such influencers have witnessed increased distribution of their message. Social media influencers tend to multiply the reach of marketers message at a much wider level as compared to otherwise.
“Time is the only commodity that matters” – Randy Pausch
To guarantee best performance of the content, timing of it being up on social media should be well thought-through. This requires analysis of the online preferences and behavior of your potential audience. The selection of time of release should be such that it ensures maximum visibility. High-engagement factor also plays a key role while choosing the ideal time.
The content should be such that compels your audience to forward it further and share it among their friends and family. A thorough and regular check on the performance of the campaigns should be done and the necessary adjustments should be made from time to time in order to ensure even better performance in future. Success of a Viral Marketing Campaign depends on many factors. However, keeping the above mentioned points in mind before devising a strategy could help in generating great results.