Viral marketing is the holy grail of social media publishing. In essence, a piece of content has “gone viral” when it moves past it’s originally intended audience. This could mean reaching one or two new people that don’t already follow your brand on Twitter, or it could mean reaching millions of people that have never heard of your company before.
Viral marketing is all about exponential exposure. One of your brand’s social media fans passes your content to their social network, who in turn pass it along to their social network and so on. Think Outbreak, only without the horrible diseases.
Now the hard truth: there is no secret sauce to viral marketing. You can’t go into a viral marketing campaign assuming that the video you have created is going to automatically “go viral” and generate a bazillion sales. You can, however, create an environment that promotes viral sharing. Start with your social media fans. After all, they have already chosen to receive your content and are probably sharing some of it already.
Turn your social media fans into viral marketing tools by concentrating your efforts on maximizing their share rate. So how do you encourage your social media fans to share more content? By following these three simple rules.
Three Simple Rules To Encouraging Viral Marketing Content
1) Make It Easy
If you want your fans to become viral marketing tools, your first step is to create a system (or use a platform like SocialToaster) that makes it incredibly easy for your fans to share your content. Keep in mind that your fans are busy people with their own lives. They don’t have time to sift through your website or social platforms to “figure out” how to share your content. Respect your fan’s time, give them crystal clear direction on what action you are asking them to take (Share this!) and make it incredibly easy for them to take that action (Click here!). The easier it is to share your content, the more likely it is that your content will go viral.
2) Make It Awesome
Repeat after me: no one cares about your company’s new TPS reports. If you want your posts to go viral, then they have to be something special. Don’t expect your brand’s fans to share your boring, everyday, superfluous content with the same enthusiasm that they share your entertaining, smart, valuable content. In order for your social media fans to be effective viral marketing tools, they need to feel that they are providing value to their social media network. No one wants to be known as the lame kid on social media. Turn your social media fans into Facebook and Twitter heroes by giving them amazing content to publish.
If your company has trouble producing great content, take a good hard look at your current publishing strategies and marketing initiatives. Opportunities exist to produce great content in every industry. Even the most conservative B2B company can produce amazing content with a little forethought and some action. The only way you are going to turn your customers into fans into viral marketing tools is by giving them content that deserves to go viral.
3) Make It Worthwhile
We all want to think that our social media fans are amazing people that will simply share our content “just because.” However, that’s not always the case. If you want your company’s fans to truly become viral marketing tools, you’ll need to incentivize their efforts. Show your appreciation to fans that share your content by offering discounts/coupons or by giving them public recognition. With social sharing platforms like SocialToaster, you can even hold regular contests and award prizes to the fans that share the most content in a given month. Tap into the competitive nature of your fans and watch your viral marketing initiatives take off.
While We Can’t Guarantee Every Video Will Go Viral…
Viral marketing is not something that can be guaranteed; however, it is something that can be encouraged. By producing great content, making it easy to share and rewarding your fans, you can transform your social media fanbase into a powerful viral marketing tool.
How does your brand promote viral marketing? Let us know by sharing a comment below. For even more great tips on social media and content marketing be sure to follow us on Twitter @socialtoaster.
Sarah McNew Razzaque Twitter
Chief Product Officer – SocialToaster
Fun fact: Loves coney dogs!