What is Viral Marketing?
Viral Marketing is a business strategy that uses existing social networks to promote a
product. Its name refers to how customers spread information about a product with other people in their social networks.The basis of viral marketing is in the spread of information by word-of-mouth, but modern technology has allowed the viral effect to include many Internet-based platforms as well (Marketing, n/d).

Are there commercials or other campaigns that always stick with you even after you’ve viewed them? There are reasons why! Marketers have different types of content that will help the viewer relate or remember the product in some form of way. Here are what I consider to be the top 5 best characteristics of what makes viral marketing (in no specific order!).

1. The content appeals to emotion:
Research shows that viral content appeals to our emotions, particularly positive emotions like amusement, joy, hope, surprise, nostalgia, affection and excitement. Content that surprises is particularly successful, especially among millennials who are constantly bombarded with digital content and are harder to impress (Reese, 2014). An example of content of a commercial that appeals to someone’s emotions are the Budweiser Super Bowl commercials, with the horses and yellow lab! Budweiser has seen the impact of peoples emotions when they see the bond between human and dogs as well as dogs and horses. Tell me you don’t get teary eyed watching this?! Fine, I just might be the only one! 😉

Video retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otCxSnu_HXA

screen-shot-2014-05-19-at-3-13-59-pm

Photo Credit: New To Social Media

2. Wanna Share It, See It, Do It:
#urbanselfie is a unique campaign where retailer Urban Hilton Weiner gave a $10 gift certificate to anyone who Tweeted a selfie while trying on Urban’s clothes. This spreads your brand, shows your clothing line and it attracts more people into your stores (CrossInto, 2014). Urban Hilton Weiner used a contest with hashtags to help promote their company and clothes and with giving away $10 gift cards they are encouraging shoppers to spend more. Great way to boost sales and get people into the store to try on their clothing!

3. Content that is Unique and Memorable:
Creating content can be easy but not everything you post will be read or shared. Making sure that you put content out that will be remembered for how you present it! Make a humorous video, an action video or even a short animated video to put out a new product. Take the company I personally work for, we sell Panasonic Rugged Toughbooks (laptops) and Toughpads (tablets). We can throw them, drag them, cover them in mud, you name it! Here’s a video of an ATV dragging them through a muddy terrain by a chain…tell me that isn’t memorable or even unique?!

Video retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n6mX8Q1waA

4. Content has Target Audience in Mind
Make sure you understand who your company’s target audience is. You don’t want to advertise to woman showing men’s clothing, you want to advertise to men with that information. Don’t try to push a product on the opposite sex when it is something that they wont use, you’ll end up losing viewers. The Dollar Shave Club advertisement did just that, targeting young men who value affordability, simplicity and profanity-laden humor. Would my mom approve? No. Would my bearded boyfriend like it? Definitely (Reese, 2014). The given example of The Dollar Shave Club gave a perfect YouTube video that shows they understand humor and their target audience, just see for yourself!

Video Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI

5. Provides for Effortless Transfer to Others
The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate: email, website, graphic, software download.

Photo Credit: Marketing Cloud

Photo Credit: Marketing Cloud

Viral marketing works famously on the Internet because instant communication is easy and inexpensive. The digital format makes copying simple (Wilson, 2012) A fun campaign because we are coming into the warmer months was Anthropologie’s DIY drink recipes! Anthropologie frequently features DIY cocktail recipes on their blog, like this one for a coconut cooler. The drink recipes work for two main reasons: they’re seasonal and timely (for example, summer refreshers or winter warmers) and they feature unique ingredients and flavors, mimicking the original style of Anthropologie’s fashions (Young, 2014). These recipes are easy to share among email and other social media platforms with friends who you think would enjoy them as well!

While these are not the only ways to have a viral marketing experience they will certainly help! All campaigns are going to be different depending on the content of your company and brand. Don’t hesitate to do something different that has not already been done. The more you experiment with your brand the better your marketing will get and the more you’ll see who catches on!

Don’t forget to comment below and share the information with friends!

References:
Cross, Scott (June 1, 2014). Top 5 Traits of Viral Marketing Initiatives. CrossInto. Retrieved on May 4, 2016. Retrieved from website: https://crossinto.com/2014/06/01/top-5-traits-of-viral-marketing-initiatives/

NewToSocailMedia (May 23, 2014). Pay Towards Your Purchase with a #Selfie: An Awesome Twitter Campaign. New To Social Media. Retrieved on May 4, 2016. Retrieved from website: https://newtosocialmedia.wordpress.com/tag/urbanselfie/

Reese, Laurel (October 9, 2014). Catching Content: Top 10 Attributes of Viral Marketing Campaigns. EnveritasGroup.  Retrieved on May 4, 2016. Retrieved from website: https://enveritasgroup.com/campfire/top-10-attributes-of-viral-marketing-campaigns/

Wilson, Dr. Ralph F (May 10, 2012). The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing. Practical E commerce. Retrieved on May 4, 2016. Retrieved from website: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/100366-viral-principles

Young, Heike (August 6, 2014). The 30 Most Genius Content Marketing Examples of 2014 (So Far)). Sales Force – Marketing Cloud. Retrieved on May 4, 2016. Retrieved from website: http://www.marketingcloud.com/blog/the-30-most-genius-content-marketing-examples-of-2014-so-far/

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Viral Marketing Initiatives

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