Have you ever visited a restaurant or seen a movie because your friend recommended it? We all have, which proves that word of mouth is an extremely powerful marketing tool.
The Internet has made word of mouth marketing extremely easy, giving the ability for advertising campaigns to go global within a matter of hours. Viral marketing will help any business to be able to reach a wide audience in a fraction of the time and cost.
Viral marketing has allowed small businesses and corporate giants to reach a wide target audience faster than ever, and if you don’t tap into this online marketing phenomenon, you’ll be missing out and leaving tons of money on the table.
Let’s talk about some of the important aspects of viral marketing immediately!
Introduction To Viral Marketing
Viral Marketing is a term that has existed since the start of the web 2.0 era. It is the evolution of word of mouth marketing, because of the speed of which the Internet is growing and the emergence of social sharing tools.
Just a few years ago the Internet world was unidirectional. Basically, a website owner would put up a site, add some content and information about their business and visitors would read the information. There was little or no engagement or interaction. Today, there is a multi-dimensional interaction in web content between webmasters and their target audiences.
People can comment, share, “Like”(For Facebook) and suggest using the variety of sharing tools such as blogs, microblogging platforms (Twitter), Facebook and other social sharing websites such as Reddit and Digg.com
This eases and facilitates the growth of viral marketing and has made viral marketing the best way to grow someone’s business fast.
Let’s consider the basics of viral marketing and see how you can apply it to your business.
The Power Of Social Media
One of the biggest mistakes many marketers, old and new make is to underestimate the power of social media.
Just to give you an idea, Facebook is the largest online social networking website in the world and has over 1.5 billion active users.
Twitter has over 300 million active daily users and is a major contribution to news stories around the world.
Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat are now part of people’s daily lives and they are all actively involved throughout the day.
In addition, we can’t forget the world’s largest video sharing site – YouTube. YouTube has millions of views everyday and because of the viral nature of videos, your business stands to gain much by tapping into this viral video-sharing phenomenon. Ever watched a quirky, funny or informative video that made you so compelled to share it with your friends?
Social media has recently become the number one online activity in the world – surpassing email. This just shows how much time is spent in social media activities. What this means is there is immense potential for viral marketing to explode in the social media scene. Imagine if you could tap into this millions of users because your idea or brand can relate to them.
Basics Of Viral Marketing
So how can you start applying the power of viral marketing in your business?
The first thing to keep in mind is that viral marketing is simply the power of word of mouth. What this means is that you must give an avenue for people to share content with others.
For example, if you run a business blog, you can install social sharing plugins so that sharing tools will appear at the end of your blog posts. One of these tools is called ShareThis, which gives you to option to incorporate a wide variety of social sharing tools at the end of your blog posts, pages or even on the sidebars.
Once you’ve set up the viral marketing tools for your website or blog, you need to determine your viral marketing goals. Goals should be measurable so you can monitor your progress and work towards improvement.
This could be something like number of Facebook “Likes”, blog comments, visitors per week or sales per month. Once you’ve determined your goals you can set out your viral strategy to move you towards these goals.
As simple as it sounds, viral marketing requires some planning and know how to get it right. Here are a few simple techniques that you can use to promote your business using viral marketing.
Creating A Viral Report
Not so long ago, it wouldn’t make good business sense to give away free stuff away without asking for something in return. But savvy online businesses knew how to turn this to their advantage and build huge mailing lists of potential customers. They gave away freebies and incentives to grow their fan base so that when they released their actual paid product, their sales exploded because people knew how good their products and services were.
Downloadable Free Reports
A viral report can help generate buzz and hype about your business and products if you position it correctly. Here’s how you can create a viral report. First, think of a topic you want to write on. The report should ideally be something your niche market is interested in, or solves a problem for them. It needs to be related to a paid product or service that you provide or intend to provide.
Inside your viral report, mention that you are giving your readers exclusive “giveaway” rights to the report. This means that you are giving your readers permission to share your content with others as long as the viral book remains intact.
Inside the viral report, you’ll have to sprinkle your website links throughout or perhaps use them in the footer. That way, when your report is spread around, your links are retained and new readers will see your link and flock to it to find more good content!
Most importantly, remember to share your viral report with your followers so that they can help you do the spreading.
It doesn’t even have to be a report. All you need to do is offer something of value. Make it short. Make it easy to consume like a checklist, a resource guide or even a short 5-minute video.
Using Facebook As A Viral Tool
One of the reasons why Facebook has grown to be the largest and one of the fastest growing websites in the world is because it is viral in nature
Things spread easily via word of mouth with Facebook. That is why many big corporations have recognized this power and have been finding ways to tap into this power.
Whether you are a small business owner or own a huge chain of businesses, you have the potential to tap into the viral nature of Facebook to grow your business by leaps and bounds. One of the key viral components of Facebook is the Fan page.
What happens is you can create one page for your business and set up all the basic information about your business. From there, you can invite your customers to join you there by “Liking” your fan page.
Once you’ve got a budding community set up, get them interacting on the page and continue to provide content so as to set up a social “hub” for your business on Facebook.
The viral marketing nature comes in when every single interaction your fans make on the page gets displayed on their news feed. All of their friends will see their news feed and get curious about what is going on in the Fan page. From there, you will get more likes and your page will start to grow at an exponential pace. Think of it as passive, viral traffic with minimal work!
Using Twitter As A Viral Tool
As mentioned earlier, you can leverage on Twitter as a viral tool to reach out to your target audience.
Twitter is the world’s largest micro blogging platform, which boasts millions of users. Twitter allows you to post short updates to your followers so you can stay connected with them in real time.
You can create a viral buzz on Twitter simply by asking your followers to re-tweet or tweet about your web content such as blog posts if they like what you post. You can also offer incentives such as give a free report to the top tweeter follower who promotes your content.
The hashtag is often used in Twitter to denote certain events. Let’s say your business is having a launch or special event. You can get your loyal followers to tweet about your launch or event using the # tag so to build hype about your launch.
When others search Twitter cyberspace for your launch using the #tag, they will see the amount of buzz onto it and you’ve just made instant credibility for yourself. Furthermore, if you manage to become a trending topic, your business growth will explode!
Overall, Twitter can be used to build good rapport with your customers so that they will be more responsive to your content and more readily share your content with others because they like it so much.
Techniques For Creating Viral Buzz
Here are some simple techniques for creating viral buzz, which you can learn and apply immediately in your business:
- Organize competitions. See who can get the most Facebook “likes” and reward the person with a gift, discount voucher or report.
- Tweetathon – Organize a tweetathon for a common cause that is related to the business you are in.
- Always reply to comments. By replying and re-tweeting to people who share your content, you tell them that you are listening and that you are there for your customers.
- Include social sharing tools everywhere. You can use the Facebook Sharer link to allow people to share content with their friends on Facebook everywhere they go.
- Start a YouTube channel. Remember, videos are highly viral in nature and have the ability to reach a wide audience in a short time. Make some funny videos and share them with your followers, asking them to share it if they like it.
In short, content is king when it comes to viral marketing. The more engaging and viral your content is, the more people will be willing to share it with others.
Viral Marketing Mistakes To Avoid
Viral Marketing is definitely a great tool to utilize for marketing your business, but it is very easy to undo all your hard work by annoying your followers and fans. Here are some things to avoid:
- Not creating an incentive for users to pass it along – make the content itself engaging, informative and amusing. Your content needs to engage with your audience so that they will want to share your content. If it is boring, self-promoting or not consistent, they will drop you like a hot brick.
- Failing to capitalise on a campaign that proves successful. If your campaign starts to take off, ask yourself whether you can get any further publicity, monetize the incoming traffic or get more leads.
- Copying a viral campaign that does not suit your business. By doing so you will mess up the message you want to give your customers.
- Not combining your viral efforts with other marketing methods. You shouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket – It’s commercial suicide for your business.
- Not integrating SEO with your viral campaign. There is a synergistic effect of SEO and keywords with your viral efforts so don’t overlook it!
- Not making your stuff easy to share. Always give ample sharing tools for your followers to make things viral.
You Don’t Have To Do It Alone
There are no shortcuts to success. Proper planning should always precede a viral campaign, as well as getting the right people are resources followed by execution.
Your business stands to gain so much through the power of viral marketing. Even if you struggle with managing your viral campaign, sometimes, hiring people like us to do the job for you can give you more benefits and can easily cover your investment costs from the hype and buzz you will get.
We have a lot of knowledge and expertise and have helped many small businesses like yours to succeed online. Give us a call today to see how we can help you.