In marketing, we all dream about achieving viral success and receiving an exponential amount of “buzz” for our individual campaigns. From time to time we hear about creative successes, such as the Moonfruit “win a MacBook” campaign on Twitter. What does it take to go viral and is it even something you can plan for, or does it just happen?
Fundamentally you need to be able to create a passion, a reaction or a significant feeling in your target audience to act as a catalyst. This means that you have to create anger, laughter, concern, surprise, need or a combination of these to ensure that your couple of seconds of product fame will turn into a focus of attention. Remember that it has to be all about arousing emotions.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make, however, is to start off by coming up with a weird and wacky idea and by focusing too much on the bizarre or the extreme. It is important to focus on emotions, but not fundamentally good for long-term image to shock, scare, repel or repulse potential clients! It is true to say that “shocking” almost always means viral exposure, as in the “guy who miraculously avoided being squashed by the out-of-control bus” video, but you want to be able to portray your business in an always powerful and positive light.
Remember that viral campaigns need not be restricted to one medium. Indeed as we know, social marketing is most effective when several different platforms are interconnected. While you may be focusing on social marketing to get your ball rolling, don’t be afraid to plan press release campaigns or other off-line initiatives to enhance and to back up.
If you believe that you have come up with a neat angle for your product, service or brand, don’t be ready to rush it out to the waiting world. Ask yourself the question – are you really ready for a viral explosion. You must prepare as if this campaign will really take off. The very objective is to make sure that you get a lasting benefit from what will effectively be a shorter term spike. As such, will you be able to capture the contact details for everyone who visits your primary website or social media sites as a consequence of this buzz? Moonfruit estimated that their US traffic (they are a UK based company) increased over 1000% as a result of their viral campaign success.
How do you plan to “go viral?”