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.
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.
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.
American Prospect | The Vineyard of the Saker thesaker.is – Today[…] of drilling on Federal lands, will increase the cost of energy which will act as a regressive tax on those who can least afford it […]N/A
Newest Books, Movies & Music – Top Choices in the Elmont Memorial Library for January 27, 2021 wowbrary.org – Today[…] New tax laws and changes in the marketplace offer challenges to the financial landscape that investors have […]0
Redemptions From Equity Funds Suggests Greater Investor Awareness: PGIM India MF http://www.moneycontrol.com – Today[…] For example, all retirement products offered by mutual funds should get tax benefits as are enjoyed by other products […] A BAF helps investors buy low and sell high in a tax-efficient manner and achieve a smoother experience of earning better risk-adjusted return compare […]N/A
Fire services align across Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay | District of Saanich http://www.saanich.ca – Today[…] and leveraging economies of scale, resulting in cost effective service delivery and best use of tax dollars […]0
The Best 5 Brokers for Trading EUR/GBP http://www.wikijob.co.uk – Today[…] All you need is your name, address and tax number, and the system will automatically verify your identity […] WikiJob does not provide tax, investment or financial services and advice […]0
How to design an effective carbon tax http://www.hhs.se – TodayWatch the interview with Per Strömberg and Gustav Martinsson about their findings from a recent research project on the Swedish carbon dioxide tax. Their project evaluates the effectiveness of the Swedish tax introduced in 1991. It also provides important lessons on the effects of taxation design, both in Sweden and internationally. How to design an effective carbon tax0
Investing in equities in 2021 http://www.canaccordgenuity.com – Today[…] the debt won’t be wealth taxes like CGT (although this could rise), it will more likely be income tax and VAT which have the biggest contributions […]N/A
Brenna – Fundraising For Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Dance Marathon events.dancemarathon.com – Today[…] can be a hero for sick and injured kids! We need you to be a hero For The Kids! Your donation is tax-deductible and will make miracles happen for families who desperately need them […]5
Afropages – Autoroutes à étages et relance du système de régulation du trafic : Des projets réalisables ou simple effet d’annonce http://www.afropages.fr – Today[…] Read more PIB: NUPENG, PENGASSAN fault proposed tax regime The unions say the 10 per cent proposed by the petroleum industry bill for deep offshor […]0
Data Scientist KTP Associate (RGU & AISUS Offshore Ltd) – | RGU | myjobscotland myjobscotland.gov.uk – Today[…] The KTP Associate will benefit from a tax free Personal Development Budget of £4,000 […]N/A
Hexitime- An Idea Worth Spreading – Hexitime hexitime.com – Today[…] If you then need help at a later date, say filling in your tax return, then you can ask for that help and someone else in the timebank with accounting knowledg […]0
HTC One mini 2 – 16GB – unlock (Unlocked) Smartphone GRADED – manortel.myshopify.com – Today[…] 00 Regular price Sale Sold out Unit price /per Tax included […]N/A
Nonprofits, Transparency, and Staff Support in 2020: Three Case Studies nonprofitquarterly.org – Today[…] social sector, because nonprofits are tax-exempt organizations with missions of public social trust […] with my husband, who took an Enterprise Rose Fellowship, and Casa was the LIHTC [Low-Income Housing Tax Credit] partner, the primary federal funding vehicle for subsidized rental housing […] and commercial] project, was in planning for eighteen years and our first NMTC [New Market Tax Credit, another federal funding vehicle] project […]
Take Five – Police Scotland http://www.scotland.police.uk – Today[…] These may include offering you or your business a government grant or a reduction in your council tax with links contained leading to fake websites designed to obtain your personal and financia […]1
Opinion: Meek Mill, Jay-Z and other big names in sports fight for criminal justice reform http://www.usatoday.com – Today[…] some people, really wealthy people, who give to causes because it looks good or because they get a tax break […]96
HOT JOBS & COOL JOBS: RESEARCH ASSOCIATE III CELL LINE GENERATION BOTHELL WA USA http://www.e-physician.info – Today[…] Apply Now>> 30 Work From Home – Tax Associate Seattle, WA, USA Overview Do you have a minimum of 3 season of paid Tax Preparation experience, with a minimum of 30 […]N/A
Covid-19 vaccination in India: Over 23 lakh healthcare workers immunized so far across country, says health ministry http://www.financialexpress.com – Today[…] NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds […]0
3 Pcs Luxury Patent Leather Handbags Women Bags Designer salestoreuk.com – Today[…] 99 Tax included […]N/A
How Do I Create a Letter of Last Instruction? blog.davidlefton.com – Today[…] Make sure your executor can find important legal documents, such as your will, tax returns, marriage license, Social Security card, birth certificates, trust documents, deeds […]2
Via to Provide On-Demand Rides in Arlington, Texas – Next City nextcity.org – Today[…] that the reason the city has no bus service is because the residents want it that way: Sales tax proposals to fund transit service have gone down to defeat repeatedly, losing in 1980, 1995 an […] when the city declined to renew its contract with DART after voters rejected yet another sales tax hike […]N/A
Maldives Meeru Island Package, Maldives http://www.africastay.com – Today[…] – USD 6 per person per day Green Tax if not indicated on your qoutation […]0Tax Outlook Through the Years http://www.bdo.com – TodayHome > Insights > Tax > Federal Tax > Tax Outlook Through the Years0
Invest in Startups | Equity Crowdfunding – CRYPTO CRYPTO NEWS cryptocryptonews.com – Today[…] it be construed or used as, comprehensive offering documentation for any security, investment, tax or legal advice, a recommendation, or an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, a […]