Viral marketing techniques utilize existing social media networks to achieve other marketing objectives such as brand awareness and sales via self-replicating viral processes. The message can be delivered by word of mouth, but today the term viral marketing generally refers to the exponential network effects of the World Wide Web. Viral marketing campaigns wear many masks and can be the product of enticing video clips, interactive games, informative ebooks, quality images, text messaging, brandable software, or mobile apps.
How viral marketing techniques work
Many contend that when a particularly relevant advertisement reaches a “susceptible” user, they become “infected” and in turn share the concept with others; thereby “infecting” them. Things go “viral” so long as each “infected” user shares the idea with other susceptible users. It is due to this process that the spread of a message can happen at a rate that increases exponentially over time. Social media networks foster this process and bring it to a level never before achievable with print and broadcast media. With enough momentum and the use of viral marketing techniques a solid viral marketing campaign will begin feeding it self and burgeoning on its own.
What can viral marketing techniques achieve?
The primary goal of a viral marketing campaign is to develop viral messages that appeal to people or organizations with high social networking potential and have a high likelihood of being presented and spread by interested parties internally and to their competition. Viral marketing techniques can become very complex; there are even algorithms designed to identify individuals and organizations with high social networking potential.
There are 3 basic components required to create and perpetuate a successful viral marketing campaign. It is essential that the right message is given to the correct messengers in the appropriate environment.
The three types of messengers needed to make certain an ordinary message goes viral are market mavens, social hubs, and salespeople. The market mavens are always ‘on the pulse’ of things and consistently a step ahead of the curve; they are the tech-heads and jet-setters and are generally the first to get exposed to the message. Mavens will be quick to transmit news and innovations to their immediate social network but are not always the best at communication to the masses. The message of the maven often requires the help of sales people or pitch men. Salespeople have an intrinsic ability to amplify the message by making it more relevant and persuasive; and are capable of transmitting the message to social hubs for massive distribution. Social hubs are comprised of individuals with huge contact lists and vast arrays of social connections. Hubs know thousands of people and have the ability to serve as conduits between different web cultures and cliques.
Messengers are of little use with out a message. Messages need to be both memorable and interesting in order to be passed on to others. The more interesting and memorable the message the greater it’s potential to instigate a true viral marketing phenomenon. Where and when a message is given is as important as what it is and who it is being told to. Even the loudest warning is of little use after the storm.
The environment the message is disseminated in is a critical aspect of a successful viral marketing campaign. Research is needed to nail down the optimal environment but common sense can go a long way. Find out what regions are interested in your message and when the ideal time is to deliver it. A message about ice cream will fall on deaf ears if broadcasted to a group of lactose intolerant diabetics attempting to climb Everest during a blizzard. These viral marketing techniques will increase the rate of dissemination of your message.