Whilst we can’t make something ‘go viral’, the below tips can sure help aid viral marketing!

To increase the chance of viral marketing, splash in some originality.

As cliché as it sounds, originality is a vital part of viral marketing success. Our ability to be unique also adds to brand credibility and helps us stand out and be remembered.

Whisk in some storytelling

Stories have been told since the beginning of time. Why, you may ask? Because everybody loves a good story! Disrupting our audience to tell them a story increases the chance of them acting in a way that we desire than when compared to disrupting their life to tell them about the attributes and benefits of our product.

Stories that evoke emotion also evoke engagement, thus increasing the likelihood of them being retold. The chain reaction element of storytelling makes this a vital ingredient to jump start our viral marketing efforts. John Lewis doesn’t sell penguins (not real ones anyways), yet their Christmas ad tugged on the world’s heartstrings (over 23 million of them). When crafting viral marketing content, the audience’s heart is bullseye and the trick is having an understanding of which emotions best fit the campaign. Since Christmas is about friends, family and warm fuzzy feelings, John Lewis successfully plucked the correct heart cords with their adorable advert.

Content that is useful in making others lives’ easier also sees high levels of viral marketing success. For example tricks, tips and warnings are shared in thousands by the audience in the hope of helping peers; we only have to look at the shares from concerned mummies worrying about something or another to see this in action.

Add a handful of keywords

Ensure content is easily found by running a keyword search and tagging key phrases often. It’s also good to take on an integrated approach and make use of numerous platforms to promote content and capture a wider audience.

Add a sprinkle of good timing

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the best time to post on social media is when the target audience is most likely to respond, but of course the optimum time varies from brand to brand. There are a number of great tools out there that analyse the audience’s interests and optimum timing to help us understand what to send and when. If Facebook is the desired medium to roll out a potential viral marketing campaign then check out Likealyzer, the free Facebook performance search tool.

Top it all off with the secret ingredient…

Mamma used to say “patience is a virtue”, and although we may not want to hear it, this is actually the secret to viral marketing success. Not all content clocks up millions of views in the blink of an eye; some viral marketing campaigns gradually build traffic over a few months; some can take years! It’s also important to take into account the size of our target audience, if the message is niche then a million hits is probably a generous target compared to content centred around human interest that has a likelier chance of being shared and passed on to a wider audience.

And finally, serve to influencers

Hundreds of thousands of messages are uploaded online daily and only a small fraction are read, watched or shared. The essence of viral marketing rests on word of mouth and visibility, thus it’s helpful to use targeted influencers to distribute and amplify the message for us. However, if the influencers have a wide reach, chances are we’re a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of requests they receive to endorse messages. So how do we encourage them to share ours? Well, it’s good to start building a relationship with them before we ask for a favour. We can share and comment on their posts, introduce ourselves on LinkedIn or feature them on blogs. Finally, we need to make sure we offer them engaging material; if their followers are likely to react positively to posts then they will be more than happy to spread the content.

So there it is, mamma’s secret recipe for the best viral marketing campaign in town! If you have an additional secret ingredient that this recipe could benefit from then let us know in the comment box below or Tweet us @meltwater.