Are you confused about what ‘going viral’ means? No, it has nothing to do with coronavirus. Rather, the Collins dictionary says that ‘going viral’ refers to when a video, image or story “spreads quickly and widely on the Internet through social media or email.”

So, if you want your content to go viral online, it needs to be engaging and shareable. But how do you achieve this?

media update’s Taylor Goodman unpacks three tips for creating a viral marketing campaign. 

Let’s dive in: 

1. Appeal to the target audience 

To create a campaign that resonates with your audience, you need to understand their desires, needs and interests

You should be able to confidently answer the question, ‘What does my following want to see?’, and tailor your efforts accordingly. 

Additionally, you should consider the following when targeting your audience
  • personality traits
  • values, and
  • opinions.
It's a common misconception that viral content needs to be pleasing to the public at large, but this is not the case. After all, you can’t please everyone

If you create a campaign with your target audience in mind, it is more likely to pique their interest. They may feel more inclined to share it with friends, family or peers — others who will also resonate with the initiative. 

For example, San Francisco based retail store Lefty’s caters specifically to left-handed consumers. 

*Image courtesy of Alexa blog

Catering to this niche target market gives this brand an edge, as few other brands are doing what they’re doing. 

2. A viral campaign is all about the visuals

It's no surprise that humans are visual creatures. After all, 90% of information that is transmitted to the brain is visual.

By including images and videos in your campaigns, it is easier for your audience to consume your content. It is also more engaging than text-based content, easily evokes emotion and it tells a story through visuals. 

Because this content is easily digestible and enticing, it makes it more shareable to your audience. Hello, viral!

*Image courtesy of Ads of the World

For example, Apple’s ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign showed images that were captured on phones by everyday folk. 

For this campaign, the brand encouraged users to post their best images that were captured on the iPhone, alongside the hashtag ‘#ShotOniPhone’. A panel of judges would then pick the best images to appear on billboards, online and in Apple stores. 

This campaign combined the power of user-generated content with visuals to create one of the most authentic and popular campaigns of 2019. Talk about letting the visuals do the talking!

3. Tug on your audience’s heartstrings 

If you want your campaign to go viral, why not explore your softer side? From a psychological perspective, humans have been proven to “think second and feel first.” 

Consumers are inundated with content — if you are able to touch a soft spot or make someone laugh, you already have one foot in the door. 

Why? Well, according to The New York Times, if a campaign affects us positively, we are more likely to engage with it and share it with our peers. This is because it’s in our nature, as humans, to share good news. Think about how often you’ve seen something that made you smile and thought, ‘I need to share this!’

In the same breath, campaigns that strike up feelings of sadness could result in a higher click-through rate, according to Fabrik. This is because if you inspire feelings of woe in your consumer, and then offer them a solution to resolve this, they’re definitely going to want it. 

An example of an ad that struck up emotion with its audience was Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ campaign. 

This campaign addresses toxic masculinity and the ‘#MeToo’ movement, and the brand asks the question, ‘Is this the best a man can be?’ 

This was a powerful campaign because it encourages Gillette’s consumer base (which is predominantly male) to have difficult conversations. It also encourages them to work towards being better men. 

Although this campaign wasn't well-received by everyone, many applauded the brand for taking a risk and using its platform to make a difference. This also cast the brand in an empathetic and authentic light. 

What makes a marketing campaign stand out to you? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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For more on how to give your campaigns a boost, be sure to check out Identifying hashtags to use in your campaign.
*Image courtesy of Unsplash