As a small or medium-sized business owner, standing out in a crowded market can be a daunting task. However, you can generate massive brand awareness and drive sales with the right marketing strategies.
A unique strategy you can use is viral marketing, where you generate contagious content that rapidly grows and spreads among your audience.
In this article, we’ll explore the key principles of viral marketing and provide actionable insights for crafting contagious content. By the end, you’ll know how to create content that helps your business succeed in the competitive digital landscape.
Let’s dive right in!
Understanding viral marketing
Viral marketing is a powerful marketing strategy that involves creating content that spreads rapidly and organically through different channels. It differs from traditional marketing, which relies on direct promotion and paid advertising.
For B2C businesses, viral marketing can be incredibly beneficial. By creating content that resonates with your target audience, you can generate massive brand awareness and drive engagement.
Some benefits of viral marketing for B2C businesses include:
- Wider reach
- Increased engagement
- Enhanced brand awareness
- Greater potential for customer acquisition and retention
However, it’s important to note that not all viral marketing campaigns are successful. In order to create content that truly resonates with your audience and goes viral, it’s essential to understand the key elements of viral content.
The psychology behind contagious content
The success of viral marketing depends on creating content that people want to share. To understand what makes content shareable, it’s important to dig into the psychology behind it.
One key concept on this is social currency, which refers to the value that people place on the information they share with others.
In any form of “marketing”, content that provides social currency gets more shares. This is because the content makes the sharer look smart or unique, or it reinforces their identity.
Key elements to crafting contagious content
Creating content that spreads like wildfire is every marketer’s dream. But as we have mentioned above, it takes more than a great idea to make things go viral.
Crafting contagious content requires an understanding of your audience, relevance, humor, storytelling, visuals, and emotions. By using these, you can better craft your brand message or campaign to attract more shares.
Check out the table below for a summary of each of these elements before we take a deeper look at each one:
|Understanding your Audience||Knowing your audience’s demographics, preferences, and values.|
|Creating relevance||Ensuring the timeliness and relevance of your content.|
|Crafting a narrative||Crafting a narrative that strikes a chord with your audience.|
|Creating visual appeal||Using visually appealing elements in your content.|
|Eliciting emotions||Creating an emotional connection with your audience.|
Let’s dive into each of these elements below and how to use them:
Understanding your audience
To craft contagious content, it’s crucial to understand your audience. Look at data such as social media metrics, customer feedback, and industry trends. Use this information to create content that speaks to your audience and satisfies their social currency.
A successful example of this is Nike’s “Dream Crazier” campaign that targeted women athletes. The campaign featured a video that celebrated female athletes who have defied male expectations. By targeting women athletes, Nike was able to connect with a specific demographic and create content that spoke directly to their values.
Another example is Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, which featured a series of ads and videos that celebrated women’s natural beauty. The campaign focused on real women with real bodies as opposed to models with great bodies. By targeting women of all sizes, Dove was able to connect with a broader demographic and create content that resonated with a wider range of women.
Make your content relevant by addressing current trends, events, or issues that are important to your audience. Tie your brand or product to these topics in a way that feels natural and authentic.
For example, Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign personalized their bottles with popular names. This created relevance and made people talk about it and share it all over social media.
Using humor effectively
Humor can be a powerful tool in creating contagious content, but it’s essential to use it appropriately for your brand and audience. Consider the tone and personality of your brand and make sure your humor aligns with it.
To see this in action, we have broken down two successful examples below:
- Snickers: Snickers has a long history of using humor in their marketing campaigns. Their “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign features people turning into different characters when they’re hungry, like a diva or a cranky toddler. This campaign worked marvelously because it made people think of Snickers every time they got hungry.
- Poo-Pourri: Poo-Pourri is a bathroom spray brand that has gained a cult following thanks to its funny advertising campaigns. One of their most famous ads, called “Even Santa Poops,” features a woman dressed as Mrs. Claus explaining how Poo-Pourri can help Santa have a stress-free bathroom experience on Christmas Eve. The ad uses humor to tackle the taboo topic of bathroom odor and has earned over 46 million views on YouTube. Poo-Pourri’s campaigns show that humor can be an effective tool for taking on sensitive topics and making them more approachable to audiences.
Crafting a narrative
Identify the core message or story you want to tell and use it to guide your content creation. The core message or story should be the central theme that ties together all your content and messaging. It should be authentic to your brand and speak to the values and beliefs of your target audience.
Apple’s “Think Different” campaign is a great example of a narrative that tells a story about innovation and creativity. The campaign featured ads with icons like Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., and John Lennon, with the tagline “Think Different.” The ads positioned Apple as a brand that valued creativity and individuality. And the campaign helped to cement Apple’s reputation as a leader in innovation.
Similarly, Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign used a narrative to challenge gender stereotypes and empower young girls. The campaign featured a video that asked people to show what it means to run, throw, and fight “like a girl.” The video showed that many people associate these actions with weakness or inferiority, but then challenged viewers to rethink their assumptions.
In both of these examples, the story guided the content creation to ensure that all messaging was consistent. By telling a compelling story that resonates with your audience, you can create content that is engaging, memorable, and impactful.
Creating visual appeal
Incorporating images, videos, live streams, or graphics can make your content more engaging and shareable. Videos provide more in-depth information and help connect with your audience on a personal level. Live streams are great for real-time interaction, while graphics can break up text-heavy content and make it more visually appealing.
The Red Bull Stratos campaign featured a live stream of a skydiver jumping from the edge of space. This conveyed their brand message and captured the attention of millions worldwide.
Eliciting emotions is essential in creating contagious content. Identify the emotions you want to elicit and use them effectively to create content that resonates with your audience. This will depend on the goals of your content and the message you want to convey.
Once you have identified the emotions, you can use various methods such as storytelling, imagery, and humor to create content that resonates with your audience. By tapping into emotions, you can create content that is more memorable and shareable, as people are more likely to engage with content that makes them feel something.
A successful campaign is Extra Gums’ “The Story of Sarah & Juan” campaign, which uses love and nostalgia to tell a heartwarming story.
Viral marketing strategies
When it comes to viral marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Each business will have more (or less) success with each different strategy. Therefore, it’s important to do some research before wasting money on strategies that don’t work.
The various types of viral marketing strategies, include:
- Video campaigns
- Social media challenges
- Meme marketing
- Influencer marketing
- User-generated content
In this table, you will find an actionable summary of each to help guide your decision:
|Video campaigns||Video campaigns can be a powerful way to capture attention and convey a message. Creating a shareable and entertaining video that resonates with the target audience can result in a viral hit.|
|Social media challenges||Social media challenges can be an effective way to engage with customers and create user-generated content. For example, a fitness brand might launch a challenge encouraging followers to post photos of themselves working out and using a branded hashtag.|
|Meme marketing||Meme marketing is another strategy that can be effective in capturing attention and driving engagement. Brands can create their own memes or tap into existing memes to create shareable content.|
|Influencer marketing||Collaborating with social media influencers to endorse a brand or product is the core of influencer marketing. It is a powerful strategy that can elevate brand recognition and establish credibility by leveraging the influencer’s loyal following.|
|User-generated content||User-generated content campaigns involve encouraging customers to create and share content related to the brand or product. This can be a powerful way to generate buzz and create a sense of community around the brand.|
We highly recommend that you do an industry analysis for your B2C business, and then apply the best method that matches this industry from the list above.
To find out more, read this blog about identifying your industry: How To Do Industry Analysis
Tracking viral marketing success
Once you’ve implemented your viral marketing strategy and created contagious content, it’s essential to track the success of the campaign.
Use analytics tools to monitor your content’s reach, engagement, and conversion rates. Track metrics like social media shares, comments, likes, and clicks to see how your content is performing.
Additionally, track how viral content impacts your business goals, such as increased website traffic, sales, or brand awareness.
By tracking your success, you can adjust your strategy, optimize your content, and maximize your ROI.
Going forward with contagious content
For B2C enterprises seeking to expand their audience and attract fresh customers, developing infectious content can be highly advantageous. By implementing viral marketing strategies, knowing your audience, and creating engaging content, you can increase your chances of going viral.
To learn more about growing your brand awareness, check out our blog here: Brand Awareness: A Powerful Concept That Builds Loyalty.