How to Create an Explosive Viral Marketing Campaign

How to attract the attention of the audience to your brand so that you will be remembered for a long time (or better forever 😁)? How to get new clients and fame as the most creative player in your niche? In this article, Experts share their viral marketing techniques. And, of course, cases – for example and inspiration!

If you do not use viral marketing techniques on the Internet or are not familiar with them at all, then you are putting your business at disadvantage by missing out on billions of potential visitors to your website and blog.

When people think about viral marketing, most of the time they think it’s almost impossible. It seems like it takes thousands of dollars and tons of time to create amazing content, and it takes a hell of a lot of luck too. 

But today, I’m going to share a few simple viral marketing tricks that will help you drive more traffic and sales. These techniques do not require a lot of time, do not involve spending large amounts of money and are absolutely not dependent on luck.

So let’s go!

1. Reach out to your target audience

A successful viral marketing campaign takes into account the target audience. For any campaign to go viral, it must resonate with the audience and make them feel strong enough about your content to want to share it with their family, friends, and followers.

Determine who your target audience is at the very early stages of creating a campaign. To do this, ask the following questions:

  • Who do I want to contact?
  • What content will the selected audience be passionate about?
  • What are her hopes, dreams and values?
  • Why would this audience be interested in my campaign?
  • What can I do to make the audience want to share my content on social networks?
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2. Create emotional attraction

Viral marketing is 100% emotion based. Your content simply can’t make a big impact if it doesn’t have a strong emotional appeal. That’s why you should strive to engage the emotions of the audience. This is the most important and effective technique among all viral marketing techniques.

The next question is, “How can you create a very strong emotion?”

Here are some points that must be observed to create emotions. You need:

– create something that is filled with love or hate;

– to be an idiot or a genius;

— to create something that will make people happy or insanely angry.

You also need to simplify your message as much as possible so that people can easily understand its meaning and want to share it with others.

3. Grab attention quickly

Consumers are surrounded by more content every second they spend online, whether on a computer or mobile device. To get them to pay attention to your campaign, and not just scroll through it, you need to grab their attention instantly.

Having a bright, unusual visual element in your content can help with this. In addition, you need to engage your target audience with a message that is perceived as bold, funny, wild, weird, etc.

For example, the 2019 campaign to make an egg the most shared photo on Instagram was wildly successful because of how weird and hilarious it turned out to be. 

It had no special meaning, no rhyme, no reason, and that’s what attracted people to “like” the photo. Just an egg. Let’s just make it popular and break the world record. Okay, 55 million likes 🙂

Viral Marketing Campaign
The same Instagram record-breaking egg

Your strategies must adapt to the ever-changing media consumption landscape. Recently, Instagram reels, TikTok videos and Clubhouse rooms have become increasingly popular. Tailoring your strategies to these channels will help your content go viral.

4. Allow Sharing, Embedding and Downloading Content

During flu season, doctors advise staying away from people who are coughing. The virus is easily transmitted, so it is extremely important to avoid contact with its carriers.

Likewise with marketing. If your message or content is easy to share, download from the Internet or embed on a website, repost in public on a social network, then it will spread as quickly as a virus. 

This means that you should make it easy for people to share your content or message. Make it easy to download and embed on websites or pages of social networks.

Cases from global brands

Old Spice “Be on horseback: in sports and beyond!”

With its out-of-the-box yet hilarious ad campaigns, Old Spice is rightfully the king of viral marketing. In 2010, the company introduced their brand figure, the Old Spice guy, who appeared in the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad.

Isaiah Mustafa, Old Spice’s boyfriend, made a splash. The ad was designed to appeal to female audiences while subtly encouraging men to buy Old Spice. The commercial has received a huge number of responses and views on YouTube, with over 54 million views to date.

A few months after the video was released, advertising firm Wieden + Kennedy created a series of more than 150 short videos featuring Isaiah Mustafa in response to comments and questions posted on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook. 

As a result of the campaign, the number of followers on Twitter increased by more than 1000%, and on Facebook ads were liked by 850,000 people!

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Battle of tastes from Pepsi

The Pepsi campaign, organized in many countries around the world, is one of the best examples in the field of viral marketing.

What is its meaning?

The brand invites passers-by to participate in a taste test. During it, you need to determine which drink – Coca Cola or Pepsi (recently Pepsi or Pepsi Max) – they like more. 

Of course, everything was organized as a test, in which the brand of the drink in question is not initially visible to the tester. The video of this event went viral, as did information about it. So Pepsi found a way to organize a viral online and offline campaign that proved successful.

Now Pepsi is actively promoting the same idea of ​​a viral campaign that once successfully captured the attention of consumers.

ALS Association: Ice Bucket Challenge

Some campaigns go viral because there is so much kindness and participation in them that people simply can’t remain indifferent. The ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” started in 2014 but has only recently begun to fall out of favor. The ALS has challenged celebrities and ordinary people to raise money for ALS awareness and research.

The company launched a challenge: the task was to pour a bucket of ice water on your head, challenge three other people to do the same, and then transfer the donation to a charitable foundation.

Simple enough, right? Perhaps it was this simplicity that contributed to the campaign’s rapid viral spread. Participants posted videos in which they massively doused themselves, friends, bosses and other people with ice water. These videos were all over the place.

Great fun for a good cause. 🙂

5 steps to launch a viral campaign

Ivanov Mikhail outlined 5 steps for creating a viral marketing campaign and shared his own cases.

  1. First of all, you need to decide on the goal. Why are we launching a viral campaign? The answers can be: increase brand awareness, increase audience loyalty, increase sales, etc.
  2. The second is a strong idea. You need to storm until your head boils. Come up with 30-50 ideas and weed out the unviable ones.
  3. Once you have chosen an idea, I highly recommend consulting with a lawyer. Because sometimes viral activities border on breaking the law. It is important for you to study all the possible consequences before taking action.
  4. Next, we prepare, look for performers, actors, stuntmen (if necessary), think over the location and describe the script and legend in detail in the text.
  5. An important stage is promotion and sowing. You need to prepare letters to journalists and news outlets in advance.

Here are useful services for mailing to journalists (yes, they are paid, but it’s worth it):

Cases!

Accident at the store to increase brand awareness

Legend: A girl in a sports car parked outside a store gets her pedals mixed up when she wants to leave. As a result, crashes into the store. They made stuff to journalists and gave comments from “eyewitnesses”. For greater resonance, everything was turned on the day of the city. 😁

To sell it, we bought a Subaru WRX, after the promotion we sold the car at a profit (the damage to the car was manageable). The news was quoted by more than fifty media outlets, including federal ones. 

We got 4 million reach and thousands of comments. We measured the effectiveness of the campaign through an increase in brand queries in the site metrics. For Novosibirsk, this is an excellent result. Photo with a store sign in the frame:

Viral Marketing Campaign

A man was set on fire to promote a chain of stores

Legend: Two promoters dressed in life-size puppets handed out flyers in the same area. And a conflict broke out between them. A fight has begun, and the winner of the fight is set on fire by the loser, while our hero is distracted, turning his back on the opponent.

In the frame, of course, the sign of the store, the location is not accidental. All local media eagerly picked up this informational occasion. The video has repeatedly found itself in the collection of funny videos on youtube. The resulting coverage is about 3 million. views.

Goals:

  1. Claim the brand.
  2. State what the brand is about.

Art object near the store

Viral Marketing Campaign

The idea: a car was parked at the entrance to the store, completely covered with bright yellow coupons for a -20% discount. Passers-by willingly tore off coupons, took selfies with the car and went to the store for shopping. 

Through coupons, the effectiveness of the action was calculated. The costs amounted to about 8 thousand rubles. to print coupons, friends gave the car for free. No one tried to evacuate the car, in the morning we glued the torn off coupons.

Two weeks that the car was standing, we observed an increase in revenue from 25 to 37%. Photos of the car got into local news portals and publics.

The conclusions that we made while organizing these and other viral campaigns: scary (especially for the first time 😄), but you do it! Then there is experience and a system for building a predictable viral effect.

Principles and complexities of viral marketing

Ekaterina Nesterova from Insight People spoke about the complexity of this type of marketing, what principles should be followed when launching it. And also when its use may be inappropriate and it is better to do with the good old contextual advertising.

Successful viral content is used everywhere: in blogs, digital marketing, video content. Most notably, the spread of viral information is carried out by social network users outside your company.

Viral marketing is one of the most effective advertising strategies. You do not pay for reposts and hashtags. The most important thing is to provide people with the right information.

What is the difficulty?

The difficulty is that there is no ready-made instruction for creating viral content. You can touch on current topics and issues, but ultimately do not influence the dissemination of information. 

However, if you’re lucky, viral marketing can be a great tool to increase brand awareness, expand your target audience, and cement the brand’s position in people’s minds.

Principles of creating a viral marketing campaign:

  • use the right platform;
  • choose a good time for this;
  • take care of easy ways of sharing;
  • influence people’s emotions;
  • bet on uniqueness.

When should you not use viral marketing?

  1. If the brand values ​​don’t really match the idea of ​​a viral ad campaign, it can lead to failure. The company will lose a loyal audience.
  2. You should not use sensitive social topics, since people’s opinions on this issue can vary dramatically.
  3. Another important point is your target audience. Viral marketing works effectively with young people, as they are used to such cases. Older consumers spend significantly less time on social media and will therefore be less interested in your product.

Not all marketers think about creating viral content. It seems that it is difficult, long and generally about some Apple or Coca Cola, but not about your company here and now. 

Nevertheless, the techniques that we talked about above, as well as cases from Novosibirsk, clearly demonstrate that everything is possible! You just need to really want and, of course, strain your brains in search of a cool idea. Or maybe not too hard (hello from the record-breaking egg 😉 😄).

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