Viral marketing has become a popular buzzword in the era of YouTube videos and social networking. It has also become the desirable object of businesses looking to capitalize on the benefits that accompany word of mouth advertising, sharing, and brand evangelism. Whether it’s a video or another piece of content, creating the next viral sensation isn’t easy. But those who have made such an impact have done so by putting the right tools to use.
1. Free Content
The power of free stuff can never be underestimated, especially when it’s something people want. If it’s worth the time, the white paper, podcast, or video you give away will result in a significant number of return visits. Why? Because some people will automatically associate you with great freebies. If it’s really something cool, then those people will start recommending you to others, which starts to get the ball moving faster, across more ground. When leveraging free content, the goal is to give a little, and get a lot in return for your efforts.
2. Good Software
The recent app explosion has reminded us just how useful software is in our daily lives. Whether it targets the smartphone, tablet, or desktop crowd, the word on a good app tends to travel fast. You can offer your software completely free, or free on a limited trial base. The most important thing is making sure the program not only works correctly, but actually provides value to the user. It is the user base that will make sure word gets around.
3. Monthly Newsletters
The newsletter is perhaps one of the most underrated tools available on the marketing circuit. When used in the email medium, it easily fits into the viral vehicle thanks to convenient features that allow it to easily be shared across multiple inboxes and social networks. The key to creating a viral newsletter is filling it with quality, actionable content that compels readers to move.
4. Community Forums
Many community forums across the web are sources of lively activity. This activity gives them uncapped potential as viral marketing tools. You can create a forum and build your very own community from scratch, or join one that already exists. Whatever you do, make sure you find a way to get those community participants buzzing about the topic you want to make a viral splash.
It would be easier to recommend video as a viral marketing tool. But we think you’d get more value out knowing more about this specific service. Tout allows you to create short 15-second videos and share them as status updates on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Combined with the social component, the brief aspect enables this tool to make a huge impact with the short attention spanners who’d rather view video in a few seconds, opposed to a few minutes.
Visual content is more powerful than ever on today’s World Wide Web. This gives tremendous value to platforms that support such content, and if you don’t already know, I’m here to tell you that the value of Instagram is off the charts. Instagram blew up by allowing users to engage, share, and tell stories through images. Facebook found it so valuable, that it cooly shelled out $1 billion to buy the image-sharing service.
Tumblr is perhaps best described as a hybrid platform that combines the attributes of blogging and social networking. A rabid fan base and the passion those fans share for engaging content gives this platform the potential to be one of the most effective tools in your viral marketing strategy. From well written, image-rich blog posts to videos and animated GIFs, new Tumblr content is exploding to popularity on a regular basis. Take note that the two of the biggest parts of Tumblr success are making the right connections and staying consistently active.
Viral marketing isn’t necessarily about making an impact on a worldwide scale. Your free reporting software doesn’t have to catch the attention of a global audience. The video demonstration you put together could be a grand success if it gets deep penetration through your target audience, even if your efforts are exclusively limited to one specific region. It’s all about giving your content the maximum mileage, so it can make the biggest impact where that impact is needed most.
What viral marketing tools do you see flying under the radar? Feel free to let us know in a comment.