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Expanding Your Reach Through Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is a strategy to increase brand awareness through the sharing of information and content online. Let’s dig into how to build a successful viral marketing campaign.

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The online world has offered marketing and advertising opportunities beyond that of even Don Draper’s dreams. The concoction of the right messaging and the right time has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. 

By tuning into trends and understanding what content is performing successfully, you can use social media as an international forum, no matter who you are or what you’re selling.

If you’re looking to boost visibility, increase engagement and “go viral”, here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Viral Marketing?

The term viral marketing is only as old as social media itself. Its objective is for an ad or piece of content to be shared around as quickly and broadly as possible — usually within 24-48 hours of posting.

It heavily relies on users wanting to share the content themselves, which is why creating engaging content in-line with trends is the most effective way for a brand or company to “go viral”. Thanks to the instantaneous nature of social media, it’s the natural habitat for spreading information and sharing content based on the idea that others would want to see it too.

While viral marketing can be hugely beneficial for a company, there are also repercussions if the content is misconstrued. From Pepsi to Adidas, many brands have faced backlash after going viral for the wrong reasons.

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How Does a Viral Marketing Campaign Work?

Viral marketing is structured around a video, image or piece of content that is designed to appeal to a particular target audience. When creating a viral marketing campaign, the aim is for it to be shared as widely as possible, which means understanding the type of content your intended audience wants to consume. 

There are a variety of tools and platforms out there to manage your marketing efforts, but the most important thing to know is that you need to be creative. 

Once created, your content can be distributed through one of two strategies: visible marketing or concealed marketing. 

Visible marketing is when the audience knows immediately that the content is an ad or sponsored. 

Concealed marketing means the brand or company affiliation isn’t obvious straight away and is usually revealed to be an ad at the end. 

While many people would assume concealed marketing performs better, guidelines and conditions have been put in place by the Federal Trade Commission to make advertising more transparent. 

Add to this that business social media accounts are some of the best performing across TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, and it seems that being clever and original with your content is the real way to win over an audience.

Advantages of Viral Marketing

To successfully execute a viral marketing campaign, you need a well thought out strategy. If you’re prepared, you’ll reap the benefits of these organic advantages. 

Low Cost

All you need is access to the internet and some kind of visual media. You don’t need a graphic designer or even a video editor. You just need originality. Some of the most popular online videos were made without any money behind them. 

High Potential Reach

Once you go viral, the world is your oyster. There are no borders to social media virality, and you could be as successful (or more) in a European country as you are in the U.S. If you’re looking to open up to an international market, a viral marketing campaign is an impressive way to get on the radar of an overseas audience.

Non-Invasive

A successful viral marketing campaign is one that doesn’t hard-sell a product. It’s more about building a rapport with an audience and relating to them than showing off what you do. 

Small jewelry business, Nadaré Co, decided to post on TikTok after finding a gap in the market for high-quality but affordable jewelry. Within the first day, the business had almost sold out of its entire stock.

By posting videos such as below, the audience doesn’t feel like it’s being forced into a purchase – the business is simply sharing an experiment that shows off the high standard of their jewelry. 

@nadareco 🤢 let’s try that again #fyp #foryou #experiment #jewelrybusiness #waterproofjewelry #chlorine #saltwater ♬ original sound – Nadaré Co.

Helpful for Building a Brand

Being a faceless entity just isn’t enough anymore. You need to show your audience who you are and why they should care about you — as Scooter Guide’s CMO told us, brand identity is directly related to customer loyalty. 

If you can show who you are through your content, you’ll be well on your way to building a successful brand.

Different Types of Viral Marketing

The way you attract a larger audience is dependent on the type of content you create. Use one of these approaches to enhance your company’s image and increase your chances of a successful viral marketing campaign.

Emotional

Use your content to pull strong emotional reactions from your audience. It’s much harder to scroll past something if it lingers on your mind; whether it’s through nostalgia, pride or even sadness, an emotional reaction shows connection. 

Content that triggers an emotion is more likely to inspire your audience to share it as a way to inspire or educate people in their network. 

Incentive

Incentivize your audience to share your content. This often takes place in the shape of “tag X friends and share this post for the chance of winning X”. However, it can take many forms. 

While it may seem a little inauthentic, the reality is these campaigns often have a domino effect. As more and more people learn about the incentive, they may share it with their followers, who will share it with theirs, and so on.

Engineered

Viral marketing can take weeks, or even months, to execute. You need to learn your audience to a tee, study what performs best and when, and understand the whys behind successful viral campaigns. Often, campaigns that are the most successful have been engineered to be just that.

Luck/Chance 

Despite the above, that isn’t to say that you can’t just hit a lucky strike. Luck and chance both play a huge part in the success of a campaign. If you’re at the tail end of a viral trend, you’re never going to be as successful as the original content. It’s perfectly possible to just hit the public mood and the right time, and that’s enough to be shared by millions of people.

Buzz

Ads that generate a buzz or conversation around them are naturally shared more widely. These ads are usually bigger than just a product promotion, and they tie closely into emotional campaigns. 

The goal here is to create widespread discussions around the ad topic, and the type of buzz you create is entirely dependent on the emotional trigger you decide to target.

Viral Marketing Campaigns Take Work

There are no two ways about it — every marketer wants to go viral (for the right reasons). It spreads brand awareness, increases credibility, and has a high ROI. However, the planning behind most successful viral marketing campaigns is a long, thoughtful process and execution is key.

Keeping your audience engaged across a variety of communication channels is the key to success when it comes to viral marketing. But how can you reach all of your customers at once without going viral?

With a business texting platform, you can send your marketing campaigns to thousands of people from one dashboard. To get started, you just need to sign up for a two-week free trial. No credit card required, and you can start sharing your marketing campaigns immediately. 

Alice Dodd
Alice Dodd

Alice is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. When not teaching the world about the benefits of business texting, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.

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