The Secrets of Viral Marketing: Optimizing Your Content for Engagement

Also called buzz marketing, viral marketing gets its name because it spreads through a population much like a virus – from person to person. Viral marketing involves spreading your message quickly through your target market. Social media is considered a particularly fertile area for viral marketing because of the potential for engagement with your content to amplify your message. Viral marketing is basically WOM (Word of Mouth) on steroids that also increases the trustworthiness of your message when shared by friends.

However, viral marketing is a myth when it comes to building a sound digital marketing strategy. Yet, I hear this all the time from clients and prospects;

I want you to create a viral marketing campaign that’ll really send my brand over-the-top

The myth of viral marketing

OK, first, I can’t guarantee a post, white paper, image, infographic or another piece of content will go viral and no one else can either. Nobody can guarantee an action will generate viral marketing and, if they say they can, make them back it up with some money. In other words, require a substantial discount if their efforts don’t generate viral marketing results.

Of course, I can use elements “likely” to make a post go viral (and we’ll discuss these later in this post), but I wouldn’t want to bet real money on the whims of social media folks because any number of factors conspire to reduce the virality of your marketing strategy, including many that aren’t under your control.

A good example of a campaign that went viral is Roto Rooter’s Pimped Out John contest, depicted in the image below. The image is so outlandish, folks just HAD to talk about it. Users shared the heck out of the image, commented snarky things that generated more comments, and even the media picked up on the outlandish elements of this contest, garnering an estimated $1 million in free publicity according to the Marketing Director, who was surprised with the unexpectedly high results of the campaign.

Virality

Rather than perpetuating the viral marketing myth, let’s talk about virality — that’s the advice of successful journalist, Benny Johnson of Buzzfeed.

In his presentation, Benny said you can never predict which content will go viral (hence why I suggest the strategy of creating viral marketing is a myth). You can’t form a marketing plan around something so idiosyncratic.

Virality, to a large extent, is beyond your control because it depends a lot on serendipity, as I mentioned earlier. You might publish 100 pieces of really great content only to have some mediocre piece go viral, blowing all your notions that you control virality. Among the uncontrollable factors that contribute to virality, are:

  • It’s a slow news day. I often see some virality around the holidays, when fewer brands publish content.
  • Your post appeals to someone very influential. For instance, one of my posts caught the attention of Mari Smith, a Facebook influencer, for some unknown reason and she retweeted the content. Views of that piece of content when through the roof. The same thing happened recently when Google Analytics chose a post about their platform to retweet (see the Retweet below and pardon the bad crop job), despite ignoring numerous similar posts published before and after.
  • Your post gets featured on an important site or covered in the media. Whenever my post gets featured on the front page at Business 2 Community, website visits spikes.

Certainly, creating great content increases the chances that your content goes viral, but it’s no guarantee.

The ROI of viral marketing

But, the bigger question is: When content goes viral, does it HELP your brand?

And, too often, the answer is: NO!

This brings me to the topic of today’s post: Myths about social media.

Next to the definition of myth in the dictionary, you’re likely to find the viral marketing myth. The viral marketing myth, believed by most digital marketers is so pervasive, I’ve even seen marketing materials touting the firm’s viral marketing prowess. Well, let me say emphatically, viral marketing is a myth!

Now, that doesn’t mean that some content doesn’t go viral — it does. For instance, I published a post on a client’s blog, shared it on his Facebook wall, and got a 1000% increase in website views when the post when viral. Dissecting the success of this post, I found it contained both a provocative title and a captivating image. The post struck a chord that MADE readers want to know more.

Of course, views aren’t conversions so we didn’t see a big shift in that critical metric.

Read More…..

By Angela Hausman

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Social Media Worldwide

A viral campaign on social media is simply posts that have been shared many, many times from one social media user to another. And, the results of a viral campaign can be extraordinary in terms of increasing brand awareness, leads and sales. Although post engagement in terms of comments and likes is still very powerful, nothing on social media is as powerful as shares because it means that your post is potentially seen by the friends or followers of the person who has shared the post.

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Gather all of those posts, memes, and other viral elements in one place and share it with the world. Add a sprinkle of monetization and you’ve got a money making asset. And this my friend, is simpler than you think when you have the right tools.

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Simulate a messenger or text style conversation between multiple parties with this option. Allows you to add members, images, and more. Great for giving your visitors a way to ‘eavesdrop’ on whatever text you want to display on your site while pushing them towards any offer you want.

Create more helpful, useful posts that allow you to connect with the reader and offer true value. Or you can use it to base around any niche or topic such as celebrities, sports figures, or more! You can use these lists to create catchy viral content that attracts tons of viewers while using the same content to earn amazing affiliate income from Amazon!

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Regardless of what you do online, (or offline) having a tool like Retainio can help you create a publishing empire or help you bolster your own business that you might have currently. Just think about it. There’s nowhere you can go online without visiting a website first. And if you’re really honest, there’s really only a handful of sites that you continue to frequent every day that you’re online right? Now, take a closer look at those sites. You’ll notice they have monetization everywhere.

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You don’t always need to post to your WordPress site with Retainio. Nope. You can also create posts directly within Retainio that are hosted on our server. This way they’ll load fast without any hassle. From there, just share the url that Retainio gives and you’ve got dynamic posts ready to get all the traffic you can handle.

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