You’ve Got it Better Than Ever For Viral Marketing

    December 9, 2008
    Chris Crum

Nobody ever said that viral marketing is easy. Well, somebody probably said it, but if it were that easy, everybody’s viral campaigns would be wildly successful, and unfortunately, that is just not the case. For every successful one, there are probably thousands of campaigns that just don’t catch on.

Luckily for marketers, a fairly new (when compared to other traditional forms of marketing) marketing tool has become one of the most important ones in the box, and makes the concept of viral marketing far more doable than in the past. I’m talking of course about social media.

The fact that there are so many communities at your disposal that allow people to share content is just not something that marketers have not always had the luxury of. YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and many others (including countless forums and the entire Blogosphere) give you an unlimited potential audience for practically free. All you pay for is your time and effort, and the cost of putting together your marketing message.

There is a catch though. These communities are not built for marketing. The users don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches and advertising, which is where many people fail when they set out to market themselves on these networks. They just don’t understand, and end up looking like "asses" as Chris Winfield put it when speaking with Abby Johnson at Search Engine Strategies:

Those who do get it, use social media to their advantage by basically playing by the rules, and just caring about the communities they are involved with. They actually make friends and talk to them as friends would (just like how Arianna Huffington explains the concept of blogging to Jon Stewart). That’s how a good viral campaign using social media can really get going. Your friends are happy to watch your videos or read your articles or what have you. Then they turn around and share them with their other friends, and if you succeed, that’s where your campaign will start to snowball and really catch on.

That’s where the time and effort comes in, but ironically, the effort should really be effortless, because you should be engaging in a laid back, casual manner, and just enjoying the company of the community. That’s about as enjoyable as marketing gets.