Last week, I was invited to speak at an interdepartmental off-site. People from product, IT, marketing, sales, research, design, and PR were involved. The SVP who designed the event set up the room in teams in which one person from each department was represented. She arranged the day to be filled with interactive information and conversation so that ideas could grow.
The week before the event, I’d had lunch with that SVP to talk about what her goals were for my presentation. She talked about how rumors spread and how people connect. She also used the word “viral” in the proposed title of my talk. I asked if she minded if we edited that word out.
Communicating the nature of viral marketing, was going to be an important goal of my day.
What Is Viral Marketing?
The morning of the off-site I checked into Twitter before I left and thought, Here’s an opportunity to bring social media in action and authority other than my own into the room.
So, I tweeted this question.
I favorited the responses, pulled them up in my @mentions list, took two screen shots, and made a two-page handout to share. The folks who responded are people I follow on Twitter and after you read what they said I’m betting you’ll want to follow them too, so I’m including links to their Twitter accounts. Top down the tweets are in the order I received them. [Thank you all for making my quest easier, faster, and more meaningful for me and the folks I’d soon be talking to.]
- @michaelport I’d say if I knew the “secret” I wouldn’t be here today.
- @steveplunkett “being in the right place at the right time, with the right thought” or “controlled manipulation of people online”
- @shivya You can’t call it viral until it is viral. The secret is engaging, entertaining, informational, sharable content.
- @egculbertson be authentic, be humble, be relevant to your audience, and be funny or approachable. then, hope for a stroke of good luck.
- @ElysiaBrooker in the (paraphrased) words of
@unmarketing : MAKE AWESOME CONTENT and the rest will happen naturally.
- @RobPene a video of cute cats dancing to Snoop Dog lol 🙂
- @jenniferwindrum I would tell them the only thing that could potentially “go viral” is their stupidity. No secret there. 🙂
- @tbains That there’s no way to predict or manipulate what goes viral. Instead, focus on quality first. Lame but true
- @chris_c_lucas Do cool sh*t and do it consistently. Then let other people talk about it. It’s simple 🙂
- @TheStudioNH Viral marketing makes me get an anti-buy-otic.
- @_Signalfire_ like a virus spreading, the right conditions must exist with the right host. It’s all up to the community it’s introduced into.
- @DeniseWBarreto Be authentic and have a real desire to better the lives of your target otherwise clever, cool but false intentions #fail
- @EOC_jmello Viral Marketing does not actually exist. It’s about having the right content, right audience, at the right time.
It goes along with agencies that tell clients they can make something go viral. BS! Sometimes luck plays into it too.
- @katyboog123 humour is a good one, also shock value.
- @minormusic Viral mktg is not a substitute for quality face time w influential ppl in your market. Ur reputation still proceeds u.
- @mikecassidyAZ enlighten, enrage, engross, or make ’em smile.
- @scotmckee Secret to viral is remembering that the crowd decides what goes viral – not you. 🙂
- @DavidFord83 Absolutely true! RT @MinorMusic: @lizstrauss Viral mktg is not a substitute for quality face time w influential ppl in your market.
- @AWomansWork Forget viral & think what’s relevant & interesting to your audience. That, or leprechauns.
- @TourismCurrents Yesterday we tweeted that the term “viral campaign” needs to be taken out and shot. No change in our position. 🙂
- @jason_baker Is it just me or is “creating viral campaigns” in a job description a bit off?! 😉
The problem with viral marketing is that it focuses on the product and the message and not the people we want to share that message. If we want people to listen, engage, and share what we’re doing, we have to make it about them.
What invitation, reminder, or question might you offer to help us all stay focused more on the people and less on the message?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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