Monday, September 16, 2013

Going Viral – Taking Your Information to the Next Level

If you haven’t noticed, social networks are the way news is spread. From protests in Egypt and breaking news of chemical warfare in Syria to videos that make us laugh so hard we have to share, online communities are the way messages pass most quickly to a global audience. Never before has it been so easy to find out what’s happening across the world; it just takes a few clicks.

It’s easy to see why. In a recent Social Media Today study it was revealed that social networking has overtaken porn as the number one activity on the web. In fact, Pew Research Center’s most recent published social media study claims that over 72 percent of online adults regularly use at least one social network.

If there’s something that could spread your brand’s message quickly, it’s through your social network community, or the one you should start creating now. Viral marketing is defined as “a method of product promotion that relies on getting customers to market an idea, product or service on their own by telling their connections about it.” This can happen through e-mail, through posts, through Tweets or even through texted communications.

If your brand has information to share and you’re hoping to reach the largest possible audience, the key is to have a viral marketing strategy that is targeted and specific. In some cases a little luck is required as well. When thinking through your strategy, keep the following tactics in mind.

Know Your Market

If you don’t know your market and what’s important to them, your plan will fail before it can even be implemented. For instance, if you want to reach out to York web design companies but your marketing strategy would be found more appropriate for teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 16, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Any successful marketing strategy – especially those designed for the Internet – depend upon knowing your target demographic inside and out. Understand what activities that they take interest in. Know how they’re likely to access your information or to even hear about your company in the first place. Look into what networks they’re logging into; if you’re targeting professionals looking for networking opportunities, LinkedIn is probably the most appropriate network to get started with. If you’re looking to spread news about current events and happenings, Twitter’s a great avenue. If you have a photo you’re hoping to take viral – that links back to your company site or sales page – Pinterest or Facebook will serve your needs.

Make Sure Your Information Works

By understanding your market, you’ll be able to create posts that are likely to be shared…to make an impact. In order for a post to go viral, it must consist of the following:

·         It must be unique. If it’s been shared already, it won’t help you.
·         It must cause thought. If a user has to think about what you’ve posted, he or she is more likely to retain the information for sharing, even if that share is not immediate.
·         It must be relevant to the masses. If you’re targeting a small niche, virility could be next to impossible.
·         It must have a message. Your information must carry a message that matters to your brand and that you promote regularly. If not, there’s no way to link it back to your company – which should be your intent.

Additionally, your message must be properly formatted. If it’s a photo in a flash format, viewers could encounter issues on smart phones and other devices. If it’s a Tweet over 100-120 characters, your link could be cut off during the Retweeting process. Your intended viral marketing piece of material should not create any roadblocks.

Try, Try, then Try Again

Remember, even if your strategy covers all the bases, a truly viral piece of marketing can be difficult to come by. In fact, to many companies, that viral tweet that got them started – turning them into a multi-million dollar corporation – was a one-time thing. But, that’s all that it took, making it well worth the effort.

It may not happen on your first try. It may not happen on your hundredth try. However, if you keep at it, your brand could create a viral post that puts you on the map.

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