Fanning the Flames of the Viral Marketing Fire

    August 12, 2009
    Chris Crum

Social news is the largest source for igniting campaigns, according to Greg Finn, Director of Internet Marketing at 10e20. This was discussed in a session called Igniting Viral Campaigns: Leveraging Consumer-Generated Content at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose.

Greg FinnSocial news can come from any social network really. It’s all about who’s using it, when they’re using it, and what they’re talking about. You never know when somebody’s update will really become news and go viral. That is what is so attractive about social media to marketers.

Finn says social news should be as non-corporate as possible, and you should make sure you are part of the community before trying to participate. He also says Digg is not just for video games and gadgets, StumbleUpon is a possibility for all viral content if you use proper categories, and with Reddit you should use subreddits for the best percentage.

With Twitter, you should make it easy to tweet your content, allow for easy retweets, and promote during peak hours. You should also leverage non-corporate Facebook pages according to Finn.

It’s more than just Twitter and Facebook though. It’s about "fanning the viral fire." It’s about execution. Provide alternate ways to share. It’s a no-brainer.

Matthew LiuMatthew Liu, YouTube Product Manager also spoke at this session. He says viral videos "just happen" sometimes. Some videos take off in the wild with no marketing involved. The original uploader probably did not think the video would go viral.

He says it’s a good idea to use subtle branding and stealth marketing efforts in guerilla marketing. Seed to news sites and blogs. Use YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to fan the flames. With explicit marketing, you should communicate directly with the YouTube community and use video responses, subscriptions, and comments to engage in dialogue.

Liu also discussed "putting gasoline on the fire" with viral videos through paid marketing. He says to use YouTube promoted videos to seed discovery, home page ads for massive reach, and other ad platforms to drive traffic to YouTube watch pages. Organic traffic often exceeds paid traffic after the initial burst though, he says.

As far as YouTube SEO basics, Liu says titles should be accurate and descriptive. Use keyword tags and avoid keyword stuffing. Community opinion, embeds, and YouTube Insight should all be utilized.