Viral Marketing: How to Maximize Your Reach

viral marketing

From “Charlie bit my finger!” to the creepy dancing baby that inexplicably ended up on Ally McBeal to the “Leave Britney alone” superfan having an on-camera meltdown, videos have been going viral since the dawn of the internet.

These videos spread across the web like wildfire. They’re shared on social media, talked about in front of office watercoolers and shown to complete strangers on the train.

Marketing campaigns can go viral, too. Apple is famous for creating engaging ad spots that feel more like short films than commercials. Wendy’s is often the talk of the town for “beefing” with other restaurants on social media. And you simply can’t have a holiday season without an Amazon commercial or two stealing the spotlight.

Now, let’s be completely clear: There is no way to guarantee that your marketing campaign will go viral. Often, the charm of viral content is how organically it spreads.

You can, however, increase your chances of going viral by making your content more sharable and improving its ability to maximize your brand’s reach and impact.

Here are some of our best tips for doing so.

4 Tips for Creating Super Sharable Content

Play to Your Audience’s Emotions

Think about the last few things you shared on social media. What made you share them? Likely, it was because they made you feel some type of way.

Our emotions connect us on a primal level. When something makes us laugh, cry, experience anxiety or fear, get mad or say “aww,” we want to share that feeling with others. When you can make your audience feel something — positive or negative — your shareability skyrockets.

Strike When the Time is Right

Viral content is often timely content. If people are talking about a certain topic, it’s probably worth seeing if you can (tastefully) co-opt it into your marketing strategy to get your share of the airtime.

Capitalizing on social media trends can often get more eyes on your brand. Participating in online challenges, incorporating popular hashtags or sharing your unique opinion on current events can get you seen and shared.

Push the Envelope a Bit

Sometimes it’s OK to be a bit shocking.

(But a warning: If you don’t like shocking, we suggest you move on to the next section.)

Consider the recent promotion BarkBox emailed out to subscribers offering them a dual $69 credit when they referred a friend ($69 for the subscriber, and $69 for the friend). The tagline read “This Valentine’s Day, everyone should get to enjoy 69.”

The campaign (and the subsequent, hilarious “apology” from the brand’s head of HR) immediately went viral. In fact, plenty of people have speculated that the entire thing was a PR stunt from the beginning.

Either way, it certainly got people talking and sharing.

Let’s be clear: This is an admittedly extreme example that assuredly will not work for every brand. But it does illustrate the fact that, if your industry does allow you to be a little, ahem, aggressive, pushing the envelope can generate significant attention.

Make Your Content Simple to Share

Your content may be share-worthy, but if it’s not easily shareable, you’ve wasted a lot of time. Humans aren’t going to work any harder than they absolutely have to, so make sure that they can download, embed or share with as little fuss as possible.

There’s no harm in straight-up asking your audience to share, either. A little quid pro quo (“Like and share to be entered in our contest”) goes a long way.

Is Your Brand the Next Viral Sensation?

Not every marketing campaign is going to go viral. And quite honestly, if you’re aiming for “viral” from the get-go, you’re missing the forest for the trees.

Start by creating content that’s worth sharing and see where that takes you. You might not get a million hits, but you’ll be building a solid marketing strategy that will benefit your brand for years to come!

Whether you’re looking for someone to help you craft your content from scratch or perfect what you’ve already created, Mischa Communications is up for it! Let’s talk.