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How To Use Social Media For Viral Marketing

Viral marketing depends on word-of-mouth: the willingness people have to share the things they see and enjoy with their friends. Thanks to social media, sharing content has never been easier. Popular posts and pictures can spread around the internet like wildfire, gaining the person or company that posted it a lot of great publicity.

Frustratingly, however, viral marketing is very difficult: as much as you prepare your content and share it online, there’s no way to predict how well your posts will do. In order to be with any chance of your content going viral, preparation is key. Here are a few tips and hints on how to successfully implement social media in your viral marketing strategies.


If you’re creating content that you want to go viral, then you need to know your audience. There’s no point in creating content that will attract 18-25 year old, single men if you’re trying to promote a family car. You also need to work out what sort of content you want to use. Any type of content can go viral – tweets, images, infographics, articles – but videos go viral more frequently and in a bigger way than any other type of content. Choose a type of content that will work for what you’re trying to promote, will appeal to your audience and can be shared across numerous social media networks.

As I said earlier, preparation is key to viral marketing. You need to be prepared if your social content does go viral on social media. Even if you’re content goes viral, you might lose out if you can’t follow up on it. You need to make sure that you can engage with people who enjoy your content, and then follow it up with a campaign. Viral content rarely lasts very long, it’s more of a flash in the pan, but if you follow up successful viral content with a campaign you can keep it in the public eye for longer.

You also need to make sure that you maintain active social media accounts before you attempt viral marketing. If you just post something cold, it’s unlikely to do very well. Instead engage and interact online: share and comment on other people’s content and maybe they’ll share your content. Whatever content you post you also need to make sure that it’s mobile compatible – almost 30% of social media users access sites on their mobiles.

2. Make it Sharable

Content can only go viral if it’s easy to share and people will only share content that they find interesting. Make sure that your content is compelling and appealing and, very importantly, that it isn’t too long: people want content that gives them instant gratification. Also, the faster content can be enjoyed, the quicker it will get shared. Last month, Unruly released a white paper detailing how to make content sharable. They concluded that content has to elicit a strong emotional reaction in order to get shared. Create content that is funny or exciting: the more funny and exciting, the more likely it will be shared.

You also need to make sure that, if your content is posted on sites other then social media platforms, the share buttons are very obvious and easy to use. Put on a tally so that people can see how often your content gets shared on social media as an added incentive. Content with high share tallies persuade people that they are popular, and that sharing them is the usual thing to do.

You could even offer a reward to people who share your content: make a competition where the entry is dependent on sharing a photo or video, and then reward the winner with a prize. You also want to get the right people sharing your content. Try to publicise your content to people with large followings on social media. A celebrity endorsement can boost sharing and engagement massively.

3. Start a Conversation

When it comes to viral marketing, being controversial can be one of the best strategies to ensure success. It your content touches on a controversial subject, dividing opinion, you can start debates in the comments sections of social media sites. This will, in turn, draw more attention to your content as people will see their friends commenting on your content in their news feed on Facebook, or their Twitter/Google+ stream.

Often, topical content sparks the best conversations. Stay abreast of what’s happening in the world: a story or item of news that might be relevant to your industry can be leveraged to promote your business. Content centred on a popular news article can draw the attention of people checking it out.

Going viral is never assured, however much you prepare, and there really isn’t a sure fire way that you can make your content viral. However, by following these steps (and with a lot of luck), your content might well go viral on social media sites.

Has any of your content gone viral?

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Will Sigsworth

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How To Use Social Media For Viral Marketing Reviewed by Anonymous on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 Rating: 5
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