What is viral marketing?
Have you ever seen something so interesting on the internet while browsing your social media apps, and you wanted your family and friends to see it as well? This is the main gist of viral marketing. The information spreads rapidly, and it most likely does not even cost a lot. It only uses word of mouth. It can also be through our earlier example, the use of the internet and social media apps. Viral marketing aims to encourage people to share marketing content with anyone and create exponential growth in the number of people who receive the message.
How did it start?
Before the term viral marketing started, people thought about viruses and infections when one says the word “viral.” In short, it’s more of a medical condition that a virus causes. Today, this might not be the first thought anymore when you say viral, although it is somehow related. It was coined because viral marketing spreads the word fast, just like how viruses spread fast. It is a deliberate enterprise even when the mode of delivery happens organically. The perfect ecosystem for viral marketing before was word of mouth, as we mentioned. But today, it might be safe to say that social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter have become the most suitable ecosystems. They proved to be efficient for companies and businesses. However, we do not entirely remove the fact that word of mouth still helps spread the marketing content.
What are the characteristics of viral marketing?
What makes something viral? We can always find three things in common with all the viral marketing examples that we can think of. We have the messenger, the message, and the environment. Every one of them plays a significant role in creating a viral marketing campaign. Any business can do it. It does not matter if it is small or big, individual or a more extensive traditional campaign. Many tools can be used. For example, we have images, games, texts, free products, videos, and more. They should appeal to the viewers who will spread the awareness. Influencers also play a significant role in viral marketing. They are people who own social media accounts with many followers. Hence, their reach to the mass is wider.
Viral marketing vs. traditional marketing campaigns
People gave flyers, wore mascots, and paid big money to make commercials aired on televisions. Some people still do this today, but more and more companies and businesses rely on viral marketing and the internet. Social networks became force multipliers. It is undeniably quicker and cheaper. The reach is far, even for a short period. These marketing stunts can even be subject to mainstream media attention sometimes. On the other hand, the original message can be altered, misunderstood, or even called out if it misses the mark. So how can one tell if viral marketing is successful?
Is viral marketing ideal for my business?
Most people own smartphones and are on social media. Viral marketing can reach consumers that traditional marketing would not usually reach. This also allows entry to new markets and even customer base expansion. The only condition it asks for is for it to be done creatively. If it is done right, people will massively react. It is cheaper, and if you’re lucky, some delighted customers can start a thread about the experience that will trigger many more people to purchase as well.
On the other hand, a customer who is not satisfied may also post about the bad experience. People tend to be more responsive and emotional when it comes to negative issues. This can break a company or business, even when it is only fake news.