Two Hard Realities of Viral Marketing

Because social media is everywhere, social media marketing is suddenly for everyone. In particular, lots of companies are tripping over themselves trying to create the next “viral” marketing campaign that will be viewed and shared by tens of millions of people.

That’s not necessarily a terrible goal, but most fail to understand two hard realities of viral marketing…

#1: It Doesn’t Really Work the Way You (Probably) Think it Does

When was the last time you saw a viral video or image that was based around a product or company? That happens maybe two or three times a year, and is usually during the Super Bowl. Otherwise, most of viral content contributes nothing in the way of commercial value. In other words, getting views isn’t the same as getting sales.

#2: There is More Than One Way to go “Viral”

On the other hand, if you can get a thousand of your best potential customers to see your work, and maybe even click-through to your website, isn’t that more valuable than millions of views would be? Such a result might not fit your definition of “viral”, but it is more focused and effective.

The next time you start dreaming of a viral marketing campaign, stop and ask yourself what you’re really hoping to accomplish. Chances are, you can accomplish those bottom-line goals without incorporating videos or amassing millions of views.


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