The Viability of Viral Marketing

Going viral for marketersGoing viral seems like a marketer’s dream: thousands of views, increased brand awareness, and the public doing your advertising for you. With tons of new content circulating in widespread capacity on a daily basis, you may think to yourself, “why not mine?” In reality, very few marketing campaigns are shareable on a wide scale, and the ones that are don’t always generate the expected results.

Before you chase a viral marketing strategy, consider the following:

There’s no guarantee it will work.

For a piece of content to go viral, it needs to elicit strong emotion from viewers. Timing is also essential to a shareable marketing campaign’s success: the content must relate to current events to resonate with large audiences.

However, even if you create timely, emotion-driven material on a regular basis it doesn’t mean you’ll go viral. There’s no real formula or reasoning behind viral content, so if you aim to be a shareable sensation, be aware that it takes a lot of time and effort and the uncertainty of success results in low ROI.

You can’t control reception.

Let’s say your campaign does achieve widespread circulation. Once your content goes viral there’s no way to manage how your campaign will be received. Just because something elicits a strong emotional response, doesn’t mean that response is a positive one.

Many brands have attempted shareable marketing campaigns only to find once they’ve reached a large audience the response to their content was overwhelmingly negative. If your brand goes viral for the wrong reasons, it will be damaging to your reputation.

Not all brands are ‘relatable’.

Some industries and brands are just too specific for any related content to strike a chord with a large audience.

Have you ever seen any viral content about air conditioners or landscaping services? Viral marketing is better suited to certain trades; if yours isn’t one of them, you’d likely need to create content that’s unrelated to your business.

Creating irrelevant yet potentially shareable content dilutes brand association and lowers your chances increasing brand recognition, defeating the purpose of viral marketing altogether.

It won’t work long-term.

A viral campaign may temporarily achieve heightened brand awareness, but what happens when those 15 minutes of fame start to fade? With the nature of the Internet and the abundance of content published daily, every piece of content has a short shelf life.

Once your sharable content begins losing momentum, interest in your company will naturally diminish as well, as the Internet moves on to its next sensation. Because there is no formula to follow for ensuring a piece of content goes viral, it’s not a process that can be replicated for continued success.

The site traffic provided by shareable marketing efforts may not even lead to conversions if viewers are only brought to your page to view that one piece of content.

Your best bet for luring the right viewers to your website is consistently creating useful content specifically tailored to your target audience. You might not reach 5,000 hits in a day, but the hits you do receive will be much higher quality.

Looking for creative marketing ideas that go beyond temporary results and deliver long-term success instead? Reach out to us today!

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