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The Nature Of Viral Phenomena


As a marketer, it is our dream to create something viral. Viral marketing is simply someone telling someone about something. Because we are so well connected, if someone likes something, they can pass it on to a lot of people very quickly. When all those people pass it on, in no time the whole world knows about it. Wouldn’t you love to have your message passed on like that?

It is almost impossible to control and predict viral marketing but here are 6 factors that most have in common.



Not only does it need to be unique and original but it needs to be easily identified as to what it is all about and it must be very entertaining. Simply stated, it needs to be something that you would tell your friends and family about and it needs to be compelling enough that you do it right away. As more and more things go viral, the bar gets raised higher and higher.


Easily Shared

What ever you do needs to be shared. This is everything from talking around the water cooler to forwarding in emails. It also needs to be linked on blogs, social media and websites. This is why videos work so well. They are easily forwarded and linked and embedded.



This can often be overlooked but lists of links or blogs or other information on your website makes it easy for people to find things and pass them along.


Contests or Giveaways

Our never ending desire to get neat stuff for nothing will drive us to register on websites, take surveys and lots of other things. In this case the viral campaign is not about passing something on, it is about driving a lot of people to your organization’s website. Quizzes and contests can also be effective ways of having users win something they would like to have.



This is obvious but very important. People will forward something that will make their friends and family laugh, much faster and more thoroughly than if they just think that what you are offering is useful.


We all would love to take our message to the whole world very quickly. Successful viral campaigns have been done at the cost of millions and at hardly any cost at all. When something goes viral, it can make perfect sense or no sense at all. We humans are a fickle bunch and what creates a compelling need in us to share something with others is almost impossible to predict.


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