Marketing is a crucial factor in every successful business. High-quality, engaging marketing campaigns can help you generate new leads while strengthening the loyalty of your current customers.
The impact of such campaigns can be exponentially greater if your marketing content goes viral. While there’s no “magic formula” for creating a surefire viral marketing campaign, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.
Below, a panel of Ad Age Collective members shared their tips for building a viral marketing campaign.
1. Make it an entertaining ‘gift.’
Consumer social campaigns often work better when they sell less like an ad and entertain well. Unless the product itself is unbelievably compelling (and most aren't) it’s better to create a gift -- an entertaining object, story or game that's human, or fun, or horrifying, or hilarious or ridiculous. Make it niche-relatable and, therefore, irresistible within the club of those who discover and share it. - Scott Montgomery, Bradley and Montgomery (BaM)
2. Be hyperbolically authentic.
Once a brand is confident in who they are and can authentically live up to the most extreme version of what they aspire to be in the world, then their mission and purpose are poised to catch on. People need to care about what they stand for, and the message must fill a void and touch a cultural nerve. Then, people are likely to pass it along. - Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive
3. Give people a reason to share.
The key premise behind virality is shareability. People need a reason and a desire to share whatever you're marketing, so it's very important to ensure there is an inherently shareable component in your campaign. That shareable component may be an emotion, a fact, a feeling, etc. Determine the core driver of virality in the campaign and make sure it's highlighted throughout. - Michael Lisovetsky, JUICE
4. Focus on the visuals.
When Kathleen Hessert devised “The Pope is Hope” campaign, language was an obvious barrier. Images versus words became the drivers of virality. A social command center of millennials also carried the message to younger and older audiences. The result? One of the most shared campaigns of all time. The key is playful images versus words. - Lana McGilvray, Purpose Worldwide
5. Make it real and raw.
I once had a CEO ask me, "Can't you create one of those viral videos that costs nothing but gets millions of hits?" Yeah, that didn't last long. The reality is, viral marketing campaigns don't just spark, but the ones that have a greater chance are steeped in authenticity. They are real, raw, often unpolished. They invite comment and engagement. They have something to say, a story to tell! - Rich Honiball, Navy Exchange Service Command
6. Ensure that your content is relevant to your audience and fits your brand.
We get this question all the time, and we always have the same answer: There is no magic solution. However, creating content that is authentic and relevant to your core audience and fits your brand DNA is the first step to building a campaign with viral potential. Understanding what your specific audience wants is also key. If it resonates and they share it to a broader audience, you have a win. - Issa Sawabini, Fuse
7. Join a cultural conversation.
Try to strategically find an interesting cultural tension people are paying attention to and find a creative, consistent and meaningful way to join your brand to the conversation. It's all keeping one fingerprint in the culture and the other in what the brand stands for. And if it goes viral, try not to drive or control it. - Marcello Magalhaes, Speakeasy - Knowledge Brokers
8. Ask yourself if it passes the ‘sneeze test.’
The key to virality is shares -- not likes or comments, but shares. You need your content to be picked up by “sneezers” -- people who can't help but share your content with their network. Try asking co-workers outside your department for feedback. You need your content to be so compelling that anyone, regardless of who they are, can't share your campaign soon enough with all their friends. - Patrick Ward, Rootstrap