With the rise of social media, marketing has continued to evolve and new types of marketing have emerged.

Essentially viral marketing uses an existing network or group to promote a piece of content quickly. Social media allows content to be liked, shared, commented upon or viewed many, many times by a large number of people in a short amount of time.

Just like the name implies – viral marketing is like a virus multiplying.

One of the biggest pain points of viral marketing is that there is no way of knowing what content will go viral. Viral marketing is powered by the people and adding people into the equation causes uncertainty. What was viral one day could be completely irrelevant the next.

However, never fear, there are certain strategies that you can use to take advantage of viral marketing.

There are some common traits in viral marketing content:

  • It’s useful – there’s a reason that how-to and “DIY” videos are so popular. If you’re in a pinch and need to learn how to fry an egg, most likely you’re going to do a quick search and click on the first video you see.
  • It’s emotional – connecting with as many people as possible is at the core of viral marketing. Content that connects with the audience is the most engaging viral content. The emotion the content provokes can be anything; humor, joy, anger, fear, or surprise.
  • It’s shareable – this is probably the most important aspect of a piece of viral content. Ask yourself – is this something that my audience is going to want to share with their friends? If yes, you might be on to something. Content only goes viral if someone sees it and is immediately compelled to share it with their social circles.

Many times, the viral marketing that you hear about is user-generated. Think of how many times a video of a cute kid, heartwarming story, or funny fumble has ended up on the news. It’s a lot more common than you think!

The key here is, how do you take advantage of viral marketing as a business. Realistically, you aren’t going to create content that ends up on the news but that doesn’t mean you can’t create viral content for your audience.

Viral marketing needs one vital thing – it needs to resonate with your target audience. In order to do that, you need to understand the ins and outs of your customers – what are their likes, dislikes, interests, annoyances?

If you are able to create a piece of content that is seeing early engagement, the next thing that you should be doing is promoting it as much as possible on all of your social channels. Utilize your audience, tag people who are engaging with the content and respond to their comments.

Remember, getting viral content doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in followers or sales. Not everyone is going to research your company, but for those who do make sure that your website clearly communicates your mission and vision. Your business is about connecting with your target audience, not everyone.