Viral Marketing Techniques: The Steps to Viral Content

Every day when you wake up and check your cell phone you find millions of publications most of them created for viral marketing.

These contents, at a certain moment, acquire such a high significance, called by experts as “Viral Content” it can be in any format including memes, videos, or images.

Also, you realize that the content has been shared by millions of people and without a doubt, you say that it has gone viral. But do you know what it means and what are the ingredients for its creation?

If you don’t know, it doesn’t matter, in this post, I’m going to define the explain the concept of “viral marketing” and tell you what “viral content” is and how you can create it.

According to Wikipedia Viral Marketing refers to marketing techniques that are used to try to exploit social networks and other electronic media.

The purpose of this viral marketing strategy is to produce exponential increases in “brand awareness” through viral self-replication processes analogous to the spread of a computer virus.

For his part, Seth Godin describes Viral Marketing as “an idea that spreads, and while it spreads, it is helping you to promote your company or cause”.

Then we can describe Viral Content as that information, image, meme, video, or downloadable, which is massively disseminated through the web or social networks through an effective viral marketing strategy.

The way you see it, content is pretty much the cornerstone of developing a real and powerful viral marketing strategy. Without content, you honestly would not achieve anything.

Now that you know that it is viral content, have you ever wondered how to achieve this “virality” in your marketing campaigns?

I do, and that is why I decided to investigate the steps that must be followed to make a successful Viral Content.

Steps to Create Viral Content

Use Emotions

The writer of the book “Contagious”, Jonah Berger, indicates that one of the key factors for content to go viral is through the use of emotions.

The objective of this strategy is to generate a reaction in your audience that involves awakening their mostly positive feelings, beyond the negative ones.

It is known that positive emotions such as joy, inspiration, hope, sympathy, and love can provoke empathy in users to share your content. In this way, the different affective states and lived experiences can be identified.

A fantastic case of the power of emotions in viral content is the campaign carried out by Barbie in 2015.

In this campaign, the brand conveys a very clear message: “you can be whatever you want.”

This powerful campaign received 23,523,287 views on YouTube since it was published, and has been shared almost 3.6 million times as explained by the Washington Post.

Great right?

Without a doubt, it is an excellent example of viral content on the Internet and the great reach that this strategy can have in the public worldwide.

You wonder how they did it?

Well, in the campaign you can see how a group of girls assume the role of adults, working as veterinarians, teachers, executives, doctors, and even American football coaches.

Each strives to develop her occupation in a convincing and responsible way.

At the end of the video, you can see a girl playing with the brand’s products, letting her imagination fly. And the following text is read: “When a girl plays with Barbie she imagines everything she can become”

The piece reveals that all girls can achieve all their dreams if they put their minds to it. Clearly, they are encouraging you to play with their products.

In addition, they manage to awaken emotions such as empathy and inspiration, resulting in a total connection with their audience, which triggers virality and the identification of the female target.

Focus on the How

From Ancient Greece with poignant Greek Tragedies to the Hollywood film era, it is practically common to see similar stories, which are based on unforgettable plays by the acclaimed Shakespeare, or iconic books like Cervantes’s Don Quixote.

But what allows you to create viral content is the differentiating approach, which should not only focus on the what but also on the how.

Originality and simplicity are very flattering factors in promoting content that transcends views and recognition.

For this, it takes a group of creatives to spin around the issue and risk trying a different way to captivate the audience.

An example of this type of creativity and originality is the advertising campaign for the Cold Water Bucket Challenge or #IceBucketChallenge.

With this campaign, we sought to draw attention to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS.

For this, different artists, ordinary people, and even athletes threw a bucket of cold water on a video and challenged other people to do it by publishing it on their social networks.

The reason this campaign became so viral was that thousands of people joined in creating an awareness message about this type of degenerative disease.

In addition, money was donated to support the Association for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Both actions triggered the need for users to challenge their friends, family, and neighbors to take part in this campaign. Therefore, the effect was not only positive but also transcendent in the history of viral marketing.

The success of this campaign was its originality since the typical video was not made giving information about the disease, but people of all kinds were used to experience, live, the sensation that ALS creates in the body of the person. suffers.

With this example, what I want to emphasize is that although the content is very important, the way and the means used to promote it also directly intervenes in its popularity.

Viral Marketing and the use of Mouth to Mouth

Berger points out that Word of Mouth is one of the most powerful elements to drive viral content. He explains that people in general talk about what is relevant or what really caught their attention, to be intelligent or up-to-date in front of others.

In his case, he describes a very curious event that happened to him, and that is that many publishers sent him a copy of the book they promoted in order for him to assign them to their students, and thus increase sales.

However, the strategy of one publisher was different, as they sent him 2 books.

When he tried to contact them to report the bug, they immediately replied that one of the books was for him and the other for a colleague who might be interested.

The Ogilvy Agency explains that 74% of consumers identify “word of mouth” as a determining factor when buying a product.

Word of mouth is presented in many ways, from social networks, where a friend tags the other in a certain publication, to day-to-day work in an office, in which everyone comments on content that caught their attention and that it’s worth talking about.

Viral content gains significance and impacts people when it offers social value. This translates into advertising pieces that provide novelty, usefulness, controversy, or surprise.

It’s no wonder, then, that Buzzfeed has reached the popularity it has today through social media. In fact, they receive 200 million unique visits to their website every month, because all the content(news, quizzes, blog, memes) they publish has a social value and is also super practical for the community.

For example, Axe’s early campaigns intrigued audiences and encouraged word of mouth, because everyone wanted to know more about what was coming and what the advertising was about.

The “Axe Effect” kept many people interested in learning more about the product and of course the conversations about this topic and what was featured on billboards, traditional advertisements, on television, and even in the press increased.

A Trigger Element

A successful viral content has an element that is essential to detonate the memory of the brand in the memory of the audience.

The author of the book “Contagious” describes this element as a stimulant in the subconscious of the person.

As is the case with the Kit Kat chocolate bar with coffee, one is a consequence of the other and both are necessary for the consumer.

Another example is McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, both brands are extremely famous in the world and trigger in the audience the overwhelming desire to consume them at the same time.

McDonald’s and Coca-Cola strategic alliance

If you go to the closest McDonald’s in your area, you will see that the Coca-Cola advertising invites you to enjoy the hamburger with the bubbly soda. The two products together unleash that sensation of pleasure and taste.

This factor allows your brand or content to be remembered in a different way and to always be present in the mind of the consumer.

The idea is that the product or service you offer is accompanied by a trigger that can be natural or manufactured by you effectively.

The Perfect Potion to Boost Viral Content trough Viral Marketing

There are many strategies and they all depend on you and your marketing team. For example, with Inbound Marketing you can work in a methodological way, fulfilling each step until reaching the goal.

However, virality can depend on other factors such as the originality of your story, how you delve into it, and the added value you offer to your audience.

Of course, as I mentioned before, emotions are relevant and always cause an important impact on users, because it allows people to connect and identify more with your product or brand.

Viral Content Monitoring and Analysis

Neetzan Zimmerman is one of the creative minds responsible for the great viral content of our time. Her work is based on doing daily research on popular topics that people share and the impact they have on users.

He explains that the method he uses is daily monitoring on all social networks about the content that is shared, the interactions and reactions that they trigger in the public.

For Zimmerman, the most important thing is to study the traffic data that his publications get, the hours of visits, and how many times it was shared.

He considers that this helps to improve the possibility of improving the posts and of understanding the public more with their tastes and needs.

A key for viral content to have a significant impact is that it is published on social networks.

According to Zimmerman, when the audience has the possibility to share something that they liked or were surprised, their main source to communicate it will be their favorite social network, for example, Facebook or Twitter.

Adequate Hours

However, the time in which it is shared is essential. There is really the starting point of your strategy, since sharing an article, video or a post on social networks at a time where your audience is not connected can make your content go to the limbo of never seen or shared publications.

Viral Marketing requires prior and exhaustive knowledge of what your ideal client is looking for, doing, and needs. If you want them to share your content and be the promoters of your popularity, you must follow each of their steps.

Nor is it for you to become a detective, far from it, but it is for you to take into account the hours when they are most active on social networks, or how many times a day they take a break to read articles of interest to them.

This can help you increase your positioning on the web and create viral content.

Social Networks part of the Viral Phenomenon

Imagine for a moment that you are Ellen Degeneres and you are a host at the Oscars. Of course, you know that whatever you do in that “prime time” will be commented on, seen, and shared by millions of followers.

But, if you also add influencers as popular as you, the result will be from another planet.

As an example, the famous “selfie” that the host of the event captured with renowned film artists captivated more than 2 million people on Twitter.

Ellen DeGeneres Oscar Selfie 2016

And the fact is that the media factor increases the conversions of followers into loyal promoters of your content.

The reason is simple, people want to see live what you do and how you do it. This is why social networks are part of this potion to promote viral content.

There are 2.67 billion users who daily access social networks to find out, learn about new things, and connect with their favorite brands.

Comments and Testimonials as Symbols of Popularity in Viral Marketing

This is reflected in word of mouth, if you use testimonials and allow your audience to comment on your articles and content pieces, you can boost your popularity.

By creating controversy or inviting reflection, your leads can become larger and larger.

Also, the fact that what you offer is public, allows the audience to find out about your brand or product, and invite others to know it.

Another good idea is to use influencers or people in the environment who are already positioned, to share and comment on you.

This can be done through testimonials that generate emotions and are authentic. As is the case with Weight Watchers with the testimonial presented by Oprah Winfrey.

It is an emotional and inspiring experience, inviting its followers and users to try a weight-loss method designed for “normal” people, with blemishes and desires to get a slim body again.

For this matter, the journalist and writer Malcolm Gladwell indicates in his book The Key Point, that influencers can be divided into 3: experts, connectors, and salespeople.

Oprah Talks About Weight Watchers Results

These types of “witnesses” can be very influential when it comes to a person choosing a product.

For example, the famous yellow Nike bracelet with the message “Wear Yellow Live Strong”, whose main cause was to raise money for research, prevention, and support of people with cancer.

The alliance was made in conjunction with Lance Armstrong, who through his Foundation tried to send a positive message to raise awareness and awaken public interest in donating and helping people suffering from this disease.

Nike’s livestrong bands

His image at the time was very influential, as Armstrong stood out as one of the best cyclists in 1999. He was basically a role model and one of the best influencers for this campaign in conjunction with Nike.

Of course, the yellow silicone bracelet became part of viral content used by everyone who wanted to be part of a cause or “fashion” so to speak.

Public Strengthens Viral Content

Jonah Berger prioritizes the “public” factor in the growth and momentum of viral content. As he explains in his book, this is a fact that contributes to making a product famous, necessary and modern.

One of the examples that he places is the famous Apple logo on any Mac, the strategy of this logo located on the cover of the product allows the brand to be publicly identified without the need to read Mac anywhere.

The public in your product makes your audience understand your identity and your importance to society. In any case, it can offer status, display the purchasing power of the user who uses it, and also give it a free promotion.

This means that for viral content to position itself, the strategy must be based on an initiative that gives visibility to the product or service.

The public makes the brand “self-advertised” without having to pay too much for advertising or invest large sums of money in campaigns.

Your audience is your main ambassador, so think carefully about how your product can charge public space without such a high cost.

Conclusions on Viral Marketing

Creating Viral Content requires a lot of experience in marketing, to know closely the potential customers to whom each piece of material is intended to be directed.

But also, it takes cunning and creativity. Knowing the theory is not enough for content to fly and reach millions of visits and “shares”. It takes practice and constant research into what the greats do and how they do it.

Meet with experts who can advise you on creating viral content that lasts over time, that does not go out of style, and that people want to talk about it in a positive way.

It is true that some brands rely on negative facts to gain an advantage, but this ends quickly and loses momentum in a short time.

However, you can turn it around and make an event that seemed controversial to some, a funny and sympathetic fact.

For example, when the Miss Universe was held in 2015, presenter Steve Harvey made a big mistake by giving the crown of the kingdom to Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo, instead of giving it to the real winner Miss Philippine, Pia Alonzo Wurzbach.

The error occurred live while thousands of spectators watched as Miss Colombia’s crown was removed to place it on Filipina

Yes, the public derision did its thing and many people were shocked by the scandal and the tears that uncontrollably flowed from the face of Ariadna Gutiérrez Arevalo.

However, Burger King took advantage of this controversial moment to promote viral content on Twitter.

The effect of this type of content is funny and allows users to identify themselves, and want to share it on their social networks with all their friends and followers.

There is no exact science for Viral Content to be achieved and spread, but with these elements, an effective strategy can be developed that helps in strengthening popularity and being recognized everywhere.