Viral marketing is a low-cost way to get your message out to a large mass of people very quickly. Do everything within your power to get your link in front of many people, whether they are part of your social networks or merely interested Web surfers. Links to boring and useless content will not go viral regardless of your efforts to market them. Once you have found or created a link worthy of spreading, you must become an active participant in promoting the link to the world.
Find a link that has strong emotional content. If the content in the link does not draw out emotions, it will have no chance to go viral, according to Dan and Chip Heath, co-authors of the book “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.” People will share their emotional experiences with other people, whether they are positive or negative experiences. The Heaths stated a simple rule: The more intense the emotion, the more likely people are to talk about it. You cannot promote boring content and expect people to spread it to their friends.
Encourage your current readers or customers to spread the link. Make sure that your webpage or blog post includes a “Share This” application that allows the viewer to spread the link with the push of a button. Share It buttons are available for every social networking site, including Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon. In addition, place an “Email This” button next to your link to allow people to spread it without having to be part of any social networking site.
Ask your Twitter followers to “ReTweet” your message to their social networks. Dan Zarrella, author of “The Social Media Marketing Book,” says that nearly 70 percent of ReTweets contain a link. This means that ReTweeting is a popular and acceptable way to spread your off-Twitter content, your link, to other people on Twitter. Zarrella says that the most ReTweeted Tweets in his extensive experience include freebies, contests, news, warnings and instructional content.
Promote your link on StumbleUpon. This webpage-sharing website is an extremely powerful tool for spreading a link and helping it go viral. Users simply choose to “Like” a webpage and then it is shown to other people with similar interests. All you have to do is “Like” the link you want to go viral, and it will be in the StumbleUpon system available for other people to “stumble” upon, or find.
- Copy Blogger: "5 Steps to Going Viral on Twitter"; Dan Zarrella
- Fast Company: "Three Secrets to Make a Message Go Viral"; Dan & Chip Heath; May 2009
- Smartbloggerz: How to Make a Blog Post Go Viral in StumbleUpon
- Aussie Internet Marketing Blog: "How to Make Your Content Go Viral – With Help From Your Customers"; Sean Rasmussen; June 2010
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images