How To Use Viral Marketing To Obtain Viral Success
Thinking of going viral?
That’s understandable, considering how many benefits viral marketing can bring you. Also known as word-of-mouth marketing, this strategy can do wonders to brand awareness and sales. Just take a look at the statistics by Review24:
- 86% of consumers name word-of-mouth marketing the most trusted channel that impacts their decision-making
- viral marketing brings 5 times more sales than paid media
- consumers are 4 times more likely to buy from a business referred by friends and acquaintances
- customers acquired through word-of-mouth spend 200% more than other customers
- 85% of small businesses are discovered by consumers thanks to viral marketing
As you can see, viral marketing can be a powerful tool for brand exposure and successful sales. But this is just theory.
In practice, however, there is a relentless amount of work going into a viral marketing campaign. And a lot of its success depends on factors that you cannot control.
But luckily, there’s something you can do to stir your viral marketing campaign in the right direction.
Let’s take a look.
1. Focus on a Very Niche Audience First
It might seem a bit counterproductive – why should you concentrate on a small group of people when you want to reach out to millions?
That’s the thing about viral marketing – you need to start small. It’s very unlikely that you will instantly get the attention of a larger group of people simply because this group is very diverse. These people live in different parts of the world, time zones, speak different languages, etc.
So, your task is to attract the attention of a very niche group of people, who then will share your content with others, which will spark a chain reaction.
Of course, to achieve that, you need to define your niche audience first.
How can you do that?
Try taking advantage of social data – the information shared by social media users. Since you most likely will be promoting your content through social media, knowing who your followers are can help you target them the right way.
In the Analytics tab, you can find the information on your followers’ demographics:
You can also track your audience’s activity:
This data can help you create a more precise target audience persona. Besides using audience activity data, you can schedule your post to reach your followers at the right time. This way, they will be more likely to notice and share your post with others, contributing to its virality.
2. Consider the Characteristics of Viral Content
Not all content can go viral. There are certain characteristics that define viral content, which you need to take into account before you start the creative process.
Here are the top 3 characteristics you need to consider.
Viral content is always relatable, which is the reason why people want to share it in the first place. And storytelling is the best way to make your story relatable.
The good thing is that you can connect almost every topic with a story. For example, if you want to help people learn English idioms and their origin, why not turn this content into a series of videos where people use these expressions in real-life situations?
Storytelling is very powerful, as it can even start social movements. For example, a viral story by Alyssa Milano created the famous Me Too movement condemning sexual harassment and violence against women:
Alyssa Milano’s tweet got tens of thousands of responses from women who have experienced different forms of violence, which quickly turned into the viral campaign that’s still active now.
2) Emotional appeal
Viral content always provokes strong emotions. So, if you want your content to go viral, choose the topic that your audience feels a deep emotional connection to.
A very good example of a viral campaign targeting the right emotion is One Direction’s documentary:
This tweet seems like a simple caption with an image promoting the documentary. However, the caption is using the lyrics from a song by One Direction History, which made fans very emotional and excited to learn more about their favorite brand. As a result, the tweet got 1.8 million likes and almost one million re-tweets.
Lastly, viral content should be easy to distribute. It means that you need to choose a platform that would help you spread the word using like and share buttons.
On top of that, the content you create should show up the same in every re-tweet or share. So, do some testing before uploading your content.
3. Go for High-Performance Hashtags
It’s the right choice to employ hashtags to increase the visibility of the content you’ll use for your viral campaign.
That being said, not every hashtag is born equal. Different hashtags have different performance rates, which can impact the discoverability of your content.
To give you a bit more content, take a look at the performance of two related hashtags – #realestate and #property:
As you can see, both hashtags have quite similar performance and, from the first look, can both be used in a viral campaign. However, the graphs also indicate that #property started losing its Weekly Trend popularity, which might show that people are not as interested in it anymore.
So, to make sure you use the right hashtags to boost your campaign’s visibility, use the ones that have steady performance and increasing popularity.
Over to You
For sure, going viral is not an overnight success. There’s a lot of work going into a successful viral marketing campaign, and even that can’t guarantee that your campaign will reach millions of people.
However, there are a few things you can do to push your campaign in the right direction.
First of all, focus on a niche audience. If you target the right people, the chances will be higher that they will see and share your content.
Next, create content with viral characteristics in mind. Viral content should be relatable, shareable, and appeal to certain emotions.
And lastly, you can use hashtags to improve the visibility of your content. But try to focus on hashtags that have steady performance are currently trending.