Marketing Campaigns and What Does it Mean to Go Viral?

You may have heard the term to Go Viral, but what exactly does it mean?

The true definition of viral as it relates to social media is “relating to or involving an image, video, piece of information that is circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another.” IE. “a viral video ad”

Before we go into that, let’s explore the idea of a marketing campaign. To me this is the idea that a single (hopefully fantastic) idea, AKA message, is shared through a series of communication methods. Typically that involves email blasts (maybe PURL pages), social ads, social content distribution and some type of traditional media such as a direct mail campaign.

Let me say real quick that this idea that things ‘go viral’ all on their own because they are just AWESOME ideas – I don’t buy it. Never have. You have to Pay-to-Play my friends. But, back to my original thought – campaign marketing.

There are several ideas about creating viral campaigns, and this article does a great job of touching on the concept and the need to be compelling, emotional, unique, and relevant. It also dives into a larger idea that referral, word of mouth and social is as much of a personal thing as it is an online thing. I’m a big believer of that idea as well. The best experiences do not live only online – there’s a human and personal component that drives it home. A marketing strategy designed to capture this is not too hard to create, it follows standard marketing processes.

What’s great about this idea though, is that it really forces you to think of the concept in a very real way. So don’t just think of 2 friends on Facebook sharing an idea and commenting on it. Literally visualize 2 other friends standing by the single serve coffee dispenser discussing the same topic. This forces you to make the concept bigger and more personal. Which only leads to greater success once you reach the execution stage.

Since no blog is complete without a ‘here’s 3 things you should do’ list, here goes:

1. If you are latching on to an existing and trending topic, find your ‘point of difference’ with that idea. This could be a differing of opinion or a completely new angle/spin on the topic.
2. Try finding a way to make your message feel exclusive. Although this sounds contrary to a viral idea – it often has the desired impact because of its exclusive nature.
3. Test ideas. And lots of them! Sometimes a random factor is what pulls it all together – something you would have never been able to anticipate. Content is like that, you never know who’s going to read and ‘run with’ a specific angle of your concept. That’s why frequency and persistence can often be a great reward.

I hope you enjoyed this article, we’d love to hear about any campaign successes (or attempts) you’ve experienced first hand and your efforts to make them go viral.