How to Use Viral Marketing to Obtain Viral Success

Can your brand become famous overnight? It’s highly unlikely. But you can boost your brand’s visibility with viral marketing.

Viral Marketing: What Do the Stats Say?

Viral marketing, or word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), is a set of mechanisms that involves targeted efforts, such as the use of trends, to get the target audience talking about the brand and spread information about it to other people.

Traditionally, viral marketing was based on person-to-person recommendations. However, with the increasing impact of social media, viral marketing is mostly related to social networks.

How effective is viral marketing?

According to Big Commerce:

  •         74% of consumers say they rely on word-of-mouth when making purchasing decisions
  •         92% of consumers believe that suggestions from their close acquaintances are very helpful
  •         88% trust online reviews as much as they trust the recommendations from their close acquaintances

Here, you can notice the main benefit of using viral marketing is building a community. The benefit of having a big strong community of followers doesn’t need further explanation.

Your community will be unresponsive if you don’t have anything to engage them with. You need to keep in mind that not all content goes viral.

Characteristics of Viral Content

Uploading content with a trending hashtag is a good strategy, but it won’t make your brand go viral.

Content that will work for your viral marketing strategy typically needs to have the following characteristics:

  • Relatability. Why does every P&G Olympic Games commercial go viral? In them, athletes thank their moms, who put a lot of effort and patience to get their children where they are. This is a great example of the relatability of viral content. It appears in the right place at the right time.

  • Value. You could argue that plenty of content that went viral in the past had nothing to do with value. Indeed, value has become a hard-to-find currency. That’s why more and more consumers are looking for brands whose content provides more value than entertainment. Value is what made Mr. Beast’s move to celebrate reaching 20 million subscribers on YouTube – his campaign #TeamTrees planted 20 million trees.

  • Digestibility. Viral content strives for simplicity. And that becomes a problem for brands who struggle to make their content appear simpler than it is to make it more digestible. One way to solve this problem is by turning your content interactive. For instance, Flatfy, an international real estate company, turned their charts into interactive graphs to help their B2B clients navigate the data easier:

What Flatfy also did right with their interactive content is adding links to social media next to their interactive content. Accessibility and distribution are crucial when it comes to viral content, as your target audience will need tools to spread the message as fast as possible.

Now, let’s take a look at some ways you can use viral marketing to obtain viral success.

1. Start with Targeting the Right Channels

You’d be surprised, but not all social networks are created equal. Every social media platform has different age and gender ratio, so your choice will depend on how the description of your target audience persona correlates with age and gender distribution of a certain social network.

Here are the stats concerning age and gender distribution across the most popular social networks:

  •  Facebook. This platform’s main audience is dominated by males (56% male to 44% female). Concerning age distribution, the dominant audience is 25 to 33 years old.
  •   Instagram. Instagram’s main audience is predominantly female, but the difference between female and male audiences is insignificant (50.9% to 49.1). As for the age, the majority of Instagram users are 18 to 34 years old.
  • Twitter. Similar to Facebook, Twitter’s audience is dominated by males (62% to 38% of females). Twitter also has the biggest age span, as the majority of its users are 18-49 years old.
  • YouTube. Like in Instagram’s case, there is no significant spread in the percentage of male and female audiences on YouTube (68% to 67%). As for the age, the majority of YouTube users are 15 to 25 years old. However, there is also a considerable percentage of older users on this platform.

By all means, spend some time and analyze the platforms you will be using in your viral marketing campaign. This will help you create a viral marketing campaign that is in sync with the audience that uses the platform of your choice.

2. Determine What Your Viral Content Will Be

To help you with ideas, you can go to the Analytics tab of the social network of your choice and take a look at how your audience’s content preferences.

Here’s how it looks on Facebook:

On the analytics above, you can see how the Facebook audience responds to content. Their feedback is measured with reach (organic and paid) and engagement rates (post clicks, reactions, comments, shares).

Apart from that, you can also view the main content preferences of your followers (video, photo, content with links).

On Twitter, to give you one extra source of content ideas, you can take a look at the analytics of your followers’ interests:

This social data is collected from your followers and updated several times a day.

How can it help?

Your followers will be the primary recipients of your viral content. If the content resonates with their preferences and interests, they will be more likely to share it, thus, contributing to the success of your viral marketing campaign.

3. Leverage a Trend

We already mentioned that one of the main features of viral content is relatability. And the degree of relatability of your content largely depends on how you leverage current trends.

Ice Bucket Challenge is a good example of content that leveraged a popular trend and combined both relatability and value.

The challenge facilitated the donations to research and treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and united hundreds of celebrities, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Donald Trump.

Where should you look for content marketing trends in 2020?

You can follow the hashtags, which are the indicators of current trends on social media. Apart from that, personalization and interactivity will remain the main trends in content marketing for the foreseeable future, as they have a big impact on engagement rates.

Your main goal, however, should be to create the content that resonates with your target audience, to which they can relate, and in which they can recognize a certain value.

Wrapping Up

It’s hard to make your brand go viral quickly. Overnight success is a rare thing, and it usually preceded by a lot of research and well-planned content development.

So, if you choose to employ viral marketing as one of your strategies, make sure you choose the right platform and the right content to match your target audience’s interests. Don’t forget that your content should be relatable, valuable, digestible, and easy to distribute. This will increase the chances that your brand will go viral.