How does viral marketing work, though?
The popularity of social media memes or trendy TikTok sounds exemplifies modern viral marketing on social media. Consider how seemingly random phenomena such as Baby Yoda, the Milky Way meme, or the “It’s Corn” craze appear out of nowhere on your social feeds. Memes are widely shared and promoted because they strike a chord with people.
The same principles apply to viral marketing, which occurs when followers and customers share a brand’s content because it is trending. However, while platforms like TikTok and formats like Instagram Reels have simplified viral marketing for marketers, not all firms will attain the ubiquitous reach they seek.
There are two main types of viral marketing campaigns: amplified (or controlled) and organic (or in the wild).
- Viral marketing efforts that have been amplified are those that are intended to spread quickly. To get people talking, they frequently employ humor, shock factor, or other attention-grabbing strategies. For instance, the “Old Spice Guy” advertisements were a fruitful viral marketing campaign.
- Organic viral marketing efforts are those that spread widely on their own, without the marketer’s deliberate design. These initiatives frequently rely on social media sharing or word-of-mouth advertising. For instance, the Ice Bucket Challenge was a natural viral marketing initiative that helped fund ALS research by raising millions of dollars.
The benefits of viral
Increased brand recognition: When your average engagements increase from 10-1,000 to 10,000,000, you’ve officially supercharged your brand awareness and perhaps gained thousands of new fans or customers.
Increased audience: More eyes on your brand means more fans and followers. For example, the Shedd Aquarium’s viral ‘penguin field tours’ campaign resulted in thousands of new followers in just a few days.
Increased sales: As there are more fans and brand awareness, there are more potential sales.
Making an “it” brand: Your name in Adweek, your posts in publications like this; viral marketing establishes your company and marketing team as industry leaders. The aforementioned Shedd Aquarium is a popular local attraction. However, they reached people on all seven continents, including Antarctica.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Viral Marketing
- Viral marketing allows companies to better market their products by reaching consumers that ordinarily would not be targeted by traditional Marketing campaigns This expanded reach allows the company to enter new markets and potentially expand its customer base.
- When done creatively, companies can trigger viral responses. For example, Burger King created a buzz when it posted pictures of its month-old, moldy Whopper in response to McDonald’s claim that its burgers don’t decompose. Burger King asserts that it uses only fresh ingredients and no preservatives, which should provide a better and healthier outcome for its customers. Its unappealing-looking burger was visible proof of that claim.
- Viral marketing costs are a fraction of traditional advertising campaigns. And advertising is essentially free when consumers infectiously share their positive experiences with a company’s products and services with others.
- Because the Internet allows content to be shared easily and quickly, viral marketing can also trigger exponential and rapid growth however, it is important to note that how quickly and easily content is shared is largely dependent on whether the company uses the right tools that make this possible.
- Sometimes, viral marketing sparks a response counter to what was intended. Customers tend to share negative news more often than positive news, and studies show that people have a stronger emotional response to negative news. A negative buzz can be detrimental to business and sometimes hard to recover from.
- The effects of viral marketing are hard to measure as it is difficult to determine if a lead or sale resulted from it. And there is no consensus among businesses on how to measure its success.
- If customers believe the viral campaign will compromise their privacy and security, they will likely not share. As a result, the company’s marketing mission fails, and its reputation may be tarnished. Future viral marketing campaigns may be adversely affected by previous unsuccessful attempts.
- Wider reach
- Faster and exponential growth
- Lower costs
- Negative word-of-mouth
- Hard to measure
- Low virality
What Are Good Tools for Viral Marketing Campaigns?
Businesses can employ a variety of methods in their viral marketing initiatives. Communities that businesses can build and fund can be used to advertise your goods or services. To create excitement and draw a sizable audience, create and advertise sweepstakes, competitions, and prizes. Sponsoring messages and chat blasts are some other tools.
Here are a few examples of viral marketing efforts that were successful:
The “Old Spice Guy” advertisements: Former NFL player Isaiah Mustafa starred in a series of amusing commercials as the “Old Spice Guy.” The advertisements were a great hit and contributed to Old Spice becoming well-known.
The Ice Bucket Challenge required participants to pour a bucket of ice water over their heads and nominate others to follow suit. In 2014, the challenge went viral and helped ALS research raise millions of dollars.
the film “Kony 2012” This video featured a documentary about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. In 2012, the video went viral, which aided in raising awareness of Kony and his crimes against humanity.
These are but a few instances of effective viral marketing initiatives. If you’re thinking about launching a viral marketing campaign for your company, you need properly plan the campaign and conduct thorough research to increase the likelihood of success.