Viruses have the ability to spread very quickly. Sometimes it is so fast that a very large segment of the population becomes infected, and an epidemic spreads. While this is very negative in the case of disease-causing viruses, viruses are positive in marketing. Viral marketing is often used by businesses looking to reach a wider range of customers in a creative way. This allows them to stay in their minds for longer, but it also gives them more brand ambassadors who are willing to talk about the brand. How does viral marketing work? How to use it in practice?
What is viral marketing?
It is a strategy that involves spreading a message by making it available to others through the public. Viral marketing is therefore characterized by content that attracts attention, sometimes intrigues, sometimes makes you laugh, and sometimes moves you, so it must arouse very strong emotions. Only then will it be passed on.
Most often, content is shared by social media users. It is in social media that “viruses” spread the fastest. Viral marketing also works very well on all kinds of forums and news portals. Users naturally become transmitters of advertising, they pass on the message to such a wide range of society.
A text, video or graphics can be a viral, the important thing is that it intrigues and arouses emotions. However, the main theme of the message should not be the name of the company or its logo, but the content, often referring to specific values, events taking place in the near future, or prevailing trends in society.
When to use viral marketing?
Viral marketing is an effective form of communication and advertising – regardless of the size of the company or industry. It works very well for small businesses that do not have a large budget for advertising activities. All you have to do is create an ad, and others will take care of spreading it. In large companies, it is a perfect complement to existing communication activities.
Viral marketing is often used before the introduction of a new product or also to promote it. A good example is the Old Spice company and a spot promoting shower gel with a black, well-built man. Many admired him when, instead of sitting on a yacht, he sat…on a horse.
Viral marketing in its campaigns was used in 2013 by Pepsi, which was then organizing events in several Polish cities.
It is also worth mentioning the famous Allegro Christmas commercial which proved that it is a good way to campaign before important events of the year. The protagonists of the advertising spot are grandmothers and grandfathers and their grandchildren.
Żywiec, a well-known beer brand, did extremely well with viral marketing. “You want a Ż…” can be heard today not only from the mouths of fans of the beverage.
Examples of successful viral campaigns very often relate strongly to advertising slogans that are repeated by people in many situations. Among them is “Good for Me” (Plus), “Let’s Frugo” (Frugo) or “Red Bull will give you wings” (Red Bull).
Viral marketing in practice. Some practical tips
You already know how viral marketing works and which campaigns produce the best results. However, it turns out that creating viral videos is a difficult task, because there must be something that captivates the community and encourages them to be active. There certainly has to be an idea that we sometimes wait several months for. However, the time is not always right, especially when we are about to launch a new product and we want to use viral marketing for it.
The content willingly published by the Internet users is the one they can identify with, referring to their lives, showing contemporary problems in an unusual way along with their solution. It’s material that is useful to them, which they can derive tangible benefits from, so a message, a tip or advice. Virals must affect emotions, they can, like the Allegro commercial, touch your soft spot or, like Old Spice, entertain. Your viral must be a surprise, stand out from the others, because there is no shortage of them in the virtual space.
Maybe engage influencers who have blogs or social media channels with topics that align with your business or just have a big social impact. They will be good first transmitters of your viral videos. Focus on what “catches your ear or eye”. It can be a catchy slogan or an image that can be easily reproduced. It’s great to engage audiences with games, such as Pepsi’s taste challenge campaign. Everyone knows someone who has conducted such a challenge at least once among their friends and family.
The Internet is full of viruses, which very often spread outside the virtual world zone. The Żywiec ad can be seen on banners in urban spaces, and Pepsi flavour challenges have appeared at events organised by the brand. Viral marketing is a powerful tool that allows content to spread sometimes at an unstoppable, rapid pace. However, you have to stand out, create something creative, so that it evokes such emotions in others that they want to share it with their friends.