Recipe: Viral Marketing

2 teaspoons timing

3 cups context

5 grams humour

a dash of luck

Wouldn’t it be great if it were oh-so-simple to get a campaign go viral?

Well, this article called Viral Marketing Ingredients on The Social Media Guide sure seems to say so…

The author tweeted about facebook, and his tweet inadvertantly went viral, which , we marketers tend to spend a lot of money in trying to achieve.

So the author got thinking about what exactly made it happen?

Apart from the vital ingredients listed above, other things mentioned by the author include the necessity of your campaign being identifiable and relevant to your target audience. Also, the platform needs to be suitable for the campaign to go viral. For example, sharing a video on facebook, would in my opinion cause to go viral faster than if its simply put up on youtube. A friend recently had a facebook status as “Fb’s becoming a video sharing site” and yes, I think he’s right. People are sharing a LOT of videos, and with people having over 300 friends (from what I’ve seen), that is a lot of eyeballs! For one well made video…Food for thought indeed…

One more ingredient listed here would be the need for unique content to make people want to share it in the first place. The OldSpice ads are a good example of how something weird and funny can simply take off.

Thinking about this article, it seems to me that a lot of these ingredients are similar to that of pretty much any good and successful marketing campaign, except that its online, and viewers have the ability to make it massive. Any ad campaign needs to be creative, have good content, be relevant and identifiable for the target audience. Context and timing are equally important, and humour is definitely the best way of getting any message across.

The only difference here is that for an online viral campaign, there needs to be a bit more of everything… Not just merely to generate a chuckle, but incite that feeling which says, “wow, people have GOT to see this, now!”. Its getting that WOW effect thats so important in a viral campaign, and I think this is a concentration of all the ingredients mentioned.

Apart from these factors, some other things that would matter is having the right contacts in the first place. It would also help to see exactly which people are responding and sharing your campaign, because that may very well be your target audience, and may denote that you are doing something right. But of course, you need to look closely and see if the target market and the people retweeting/sharing your campaign are the same people.  If your campaign for high end luxury cars goes viral among 18yr olds, you need to rethink your campaign, as I seriously doubt that this would lead to a lot of bottom line sales at the end of the day.

All in all, a good article and a handy little checklist for an ad campaign to work with.



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