Viral Marketing Techniques and Examples

What is Viral Marketing?

Viral marketing is a marketing strategy that persuades the website and social media users to share the message on different platforms to generate public interest and potential sale of a product and service. Usually, viral marketing uses existing website and social media for promoting a product and service information.

Through viral marketing campaigns, for example, a video content is created and uploaded to Youtube which is further shared on different social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many other out there. Social media networks are easy to use, share, free and have a strong influence on users.

There are few techniques for effective marketing campaigns, for example, segmenting and targeting right customers, creating video content, offering free valuable and appealing products and services that can be sharable and safe to download and use for sharing.

Viral Marketing Definition

Viral marketing also viral advertising or viral campaign is a marketing strategy that engage online community to promote content on different social media networks. This strategy encourage users to share the marketing message with other users for influence and growth. Both “word of mouth” and “creating a buzz” is the off line version of viral advertising.

How Does Viral Marketing Works

A viral marketing campaign works rather simply. It involves creating a video or any other content type which will be able to attract the target audience, publish it on the web and plan initial actions to get its start. From this point, you will have to wait until people start sharing it.

Most of the time, there are contents which viral accidently. This is because sometimes a video content is so appealing and interested which becomes popular overnight and start sharing on different social media platforms.

This marketing strategy can work both for large and small companies but it is more beneficial for small business due to its cost effective nature. Viral marketing can be used for energy drink companies, showbiz, musical concerts and political campaigns and many more.

Mediums of Viral Marketing

Viral marketing becomes effective through several networks which include:

  • E-mail
  • Word of mouth
  • Video sharing websites like Vimeo, YouTube, etc.
  • Social networking websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Successful Viral Marketing Techniques

  • Targeting the right audience: Successful viral marketing techniques require identifying your target audience and determine where they are on the internet.
  • Creating videos: Creating a video will make users get engaged with your brand and experience.
  • Offering some valuable product or service free: Offering any valuable product or service for free will help in attracting customers.
  • Creating emotional appeal: Viral marketing is not impactful unless it has some type of emotional appeal. Viral marketing grabs the attention of people when it involves something that answers some emotional aspect of people.
  • Go for something unpredicted: Doing something different or was not expected by users will make people notice your marketing campaign.
  • Enable sharing, embedding and downloading: When your content is easy to download, embed or share, it will spread fast and quick.
  • Shift focus from traditional marketing: Traditional marketing is used to promote a product or service. However, people expect something good along with an interesting story.
  • Social Outreach: Making influential people recommending your product or service or placing your content in front of the target audience is an effective viral marketing technique.
  • Reinforcement: A one-time viral message is forgotten rather quickly. Grab their complete attention by giving them more often.

Viral Marketing Examples

Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Campaign

The king of viral marketing is Old Spice as its brand character appeared in “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ campaign in 2010. This campaign used to appeal female audiences along with giving a strong message to men to buy Old Spice body wash if they want smell like him.

Old Spice went one step ahead and launched a response campaign where the Old Spice guy responded to questions and comments through different social media networks like Twitter, Youtube and many more.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign was an online effort to raise awareness for people suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease and to raise funds. The challenge was to pour of a bucket of ice cold water over their head and challenge a minimum of three more people for the same to make a donation.

This Ice Bucket campaign went viral in August 2014 and more than 17 million people participated in the challenge including George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and many other celebs.

Why Thing go Viral:

  • Triggers: Things that are on your mind are more likely to be on your tongue.
  • Social currency: When something helps people to look good, the more they will be sharing it.
  • Public: The easier it is to view, the more people will imitate it.
  • Emotion: When something is cared about, it is being shared widely.
  • Stories: Trojan horse stories contain ideas and messages.
  • Practical value: Useful information is shared to help others.

Advantages of Viral Marketing

  • When the content goes viral it has the ability to reach beyond boundaries without any efforts.
  • Low advertising cost is required to develop any viral content. Sometimes a simple idea reach the masses and create an effective impact on a brand.
  • When people share the content, your brand it is on everyone’s feeds discussing it that create brand awareness.

Disadvantages of Viral Marketing

  • Lesser control once the viral marketing campaign is unleashed
  • Marketing message should be influencing continuously
  • Not ever interested user will share the message
  • Viral marketing can be difficult to measure