Viral Marketing Initiatives

“Viral marketing is the rapid sharing of an idea, a portion of this idea contains a marketing message about buying a product of service”

Creating viral content is a marketing dream come true.  Sometimes it feels as though the stars need aligned on a clear day to achieve this level of exposure, likes, follows, and shares.  Taking your brand or self to the next level to gain a farther reach takes minimal effort and costs next to nothing, if implemented correctly.  Below are five common characteristics of a viral marketing campaign that have been shown to spread like wildfire;

Common interests Everyone knows the movie series Twilight and if not, then you’ve happily spent a significant time under that rock you call home-no offense.  President Trump was die-hard Team Edward. Staying true to form took to Twitter to express his thoughts on Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson’s breakup stating that Robert was too good to take Kristin back, etc.  Why he was so obsessed with Robert Pattinson and Kristin’s relationship escapes everyone but sure enough, the tweets went viral. 

Donald Trump Tweets

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Emotional connections- Using emotion in marketing is nothing new, but why does that increase the chances of something going viral?  To sum it up, content triggers an emotional connection, thus more likely to be shared because it elicits emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, fear, etc.  The more emotions felt, the better chance it will be shared.  The group P.E.T.A., or People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, uses tactics such as these when sending videos to their members.  Videos of slaughter houses, cruel and unethical treatments of animals, and cultural dietary preferences (such as China eating dogs and Spain’s eating of horses).  Their Tofucken video went viral, reminding members during the Thanksgiving season to eat tofurkey.  Click here to view the edited viral video on YouTube.  

News worthy/relevancy- can you relate to it? Is it prudent and you can’t escape the headlines?  Now is the time to share content and videos that are news worthy and relevant to the event.  Studies in web analytics have found that people are sharing content without fully reading it”, thus uses captivating headlines.  With IWD (international women’s day) recently behind us, headlines such as The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits of Women fits the bill.  See what author did there?  Used not only news worthy information but at a time when it is prudent in the minds of readers, with a catchy headline no less.

Sentiment- Exploring how sentiment can make something go viral can best be demonstrated with the positive sentiment created in the ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge.  Through social sharing on Facebook, three individual families were responsible for ultimately changing history for social shares through a friend inviting a friend, who then invites another friend, then another, until, well, you know.  Through viral videos, ALS ultimately was able to fund research to find a connecting gene.


Image retrieved from


Controversy No one wants to be bored.  Don’t use boring as a tactic to move your piece into a viral sensation.  Below is the UNHATE campaign from known controversial brand Benneton, featuring highly controversial pictures politics kissing.  Captivating, yes.  Controversial, absolutely!  That is what is so beautiful about this campaign and why it makes a great example of controversial viral marketing.


Image retrieved from

Visit more from the UNHATE campaign by clicking here

“Most viral content has a very short shelf life.  Don’t let that deter you.  Focus on creating something that is captivating and emotionally connects individuals by including news worthy, relevant or sentimental themes.  If a picture speaks louder than words than consider including a GIF to convey your message.  “If your idea isn’t viral success, then you’ve lost nothing because no one saw it”.  So what do you have to loose.  Go ahead and give it a go…


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