The Rules of Viral Marketing

The Rules of Viral Marketing


Viral marketing is the holy grail of marketing. It exponentially increases the reach of your message. Simply put, the lifecycle of a viral item is: somebody sees your content, they engage with it, like it enough to share it with their contacts, those contacts can then see your content and then hopefully repeat.

Clearly, somebody liking your content enough to share it with their contacts is a very positive outcome as it expands your reach to an audience you might not have had contact with otherwise.

Here are some simple tips to help achieve that virality.

Create an Emotion

People share things that stir emotions within them; if content makes them feel an emotion, it makes them care.

Nostalgia, humour, anger, happiness and more can be created by appealing to those emotions. If your content makes someone remember the good old days, they may feel their contacts will enjoy that experience too.

Don’t Worry About Originality

Coming up with something brand new can be very difficult. If you can switch off your worries about plagiarism you can pick up a great deal by studying what is already popular and tweaking it to your ends, or by just taking previously successful messages and exposing them to new audiences. Remember: the cornerstone of most invention is improving on what has gone before!

Understand Viral Clusters

Different groups of your audience communicate in different ways and use the internet at different times. Play around with your posts to find out what works for which cluster, and when this happens and post accordingly.

Be Cool

People won’t share things that might put their credibility at risk, so your content has to appeal to their sense of identity. Equally, if someone thinks that by sharing your content it will enhance their reputation, that will increase the likelihood of that all important share.

Make Lists

Don’t be scared to use simple techniques such as top ten lists. The human brain is hardwired to be attracted to information it can assimilate quickly and easily – lists appeal to that.

Learn from Experience (and data)

Learn how to identify popular pieces through things such as likes, shares and views. This will help you know what elements – such as headlines, images and subjects – are most important to your target audience

Content, Content, Content

It is vital to produce a high quantity of content. The more you put out there, the more you can learn from as you see what proves popular. The other big advantage of amassing lots of data is that if people like your output they will have more to see and therefore share!

Massage People’s Egos

People are by and large selfish and are looking out for themselves. By appealing to their ego, you can instantly tap into their sense of self, subtly letting them know that there is something in this for them.

Sharing is Caring

Finally and perhaps most importantly, is the share button itself. This has got to be easy to see and in an appealing location. There is nothing more frustrating than enjoying some online content then having the share button not work, or worse, not even being able to find it! The share function needs to be quick and painless, and needs to be in an optimum position on whatever hardware people are viewing content.

… by the way, don’t be afraid to share this post!