SES New York: Igniting Viral Campaigns

    March 17, 2008

At the SES New York Session "Igniting Viral Campaigns" Bill Hanekamp, CEO, The Well talked about what to do to start a viral campaign.

SES New York is here again, and WebProNews is there to bring you reports and videos from the Big Apple. Enjoy our coverage this week.

Hanekamp said to give something to people that they can talk about. Build a microsite with content that entertains, is relevant, timely and exclusive. Get people to engage and get them involved.

In the old days you had to spend so much money on media, now you can pour it into content for people to pass along. He pointed out that viral is not predictable but to keep trying.

Ed Kim CEO, Red Bricks Media, spoke about identifying influencers in your community. You can identify influencers by using blogs, message boards, Wikipedia, video ads, podcasting and social networking.

Fionn Downhill, CEO and President, Exlir Systems, said companies want to use viral because people trust recommendations from consumers. The basic elements for success include giving away products or services, utilizing existing communications networks and using the resources of others.

Downhill said,"You cannot control viral marketing, but you can enable it and you need to enable it." Strategies for viral marketing include: blogs
-rss feeds-single most important thing you can do to enable your viral campaigns
-social bookmarking
-press releases-great way to get information out there (make sure its news, something people are interested in
-photo directories/images
-article marketing
-ezines-have subscribers on there and pass on to a friend
-white papers
-Wikipedia- is a great place to put your name and brand

If you use blogging, have a strategy for how you are going to update and how you are going to link it to your viral campaign.

You can use YouTube to create simple, fun and quirky videos. Tell clients and friends and link from your Web site. You can also set up your own branded channel and optimize it. YouTube is easy and powerful.

Ways to measure your success include: RSS/newsletter subscriber’s
-social bookmarks
-comments on your blog
-links to your site by social media

-what blogs, forums etc are saying about you
-monitor referring links
-monitor brand/search saturation
-mood of conversation marketing
-tracking email usage
-Google and Yahoo alerts works for free

Conn Fishburn, Director of Social Media Strategy, Yahoo, said marketing today is a social dialogue. Brands and companies are part of the cultural fabric. Listen to you audience and become part of the story.

Always bring something of value, be good to your consumers and don’t take advantage of them. Think holistically, viral is here to stay.