==== ====Grab Your Free eBook - The greatest ever viral marketing idea of all timehttp://bit.ly/zGHnrk==== ====Three deadly myths of viral marketing"Viral" is a term thats thrown around very loosely by marketers these days, which has muddledthe true meaning of the term.Here are three common misconceptions about viral marketing that will doom any campaign tofailure from the start:Myth #1: Viral marketing = Share buttonsMaking content sharable is not the same as making it viral. Viral marketing is not as simple asadding social sharing badges to your website. Likewise, extending your content to socialnetworking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will not make it viral.These are merely vehicles that make it easier for people to pass your content along to others intheir network. Theres no guarantee that whatever is being shared will have life beyond the initialposting.Myth #2: Viral = Video"Viral" and "video" are uttered in the same breath so often that it seems as thought they areinextricably linked.In fact, this is not the case at all. Theres nothing about videos that makes them inherently moreviral than any other kind of content.Viral videos may get a lot of hype, but in reality, any kind of content can go viral - a photo, anarticle, a fundraising campaign, even an entire website.The potential of something to go viral has nothing to do with the medium and everything to do withthe content and its ability to motivate a continuous chain of sharing.Myth #3: Viral = 1,000,000 million hitsGoing viral is not the web-equivalent of a record going platinum. Theres no arbitrary number thatcertifies something as having gone viral.The primary goal of viral marketing should not be to achieve a pre-determined number of hits,views or retweets but to create something with nearly unlimited potential to resonate with people -
whether on an emotional, pragmatic or ideological level - so that its reach exceeds ordinaryexpectations.What is viral?To answer that question, forget marketing jargon and go back to biology class. What sets a virusapart from other organisms is that it has the ability to replicate itself when it finds the rightenvironment variables.The same quintessential elements apply to viral marketing. By definition, viral content is self-perpetuating and requires little or no additional investment in the act of moving it through the Webfrom one person to another. It is the very opposite of traditional advertisings pay-to-play model,which demands greater spending to buy greater exposure.The concept of viral marketing is nothing new, but it has exploded in the past decade because themechanisms for sharing have evolved and expanded as social media has permeated themainstream.The original form of viral content was the e-mail forward. When someone found somethingentertaining, informative or self-defining, theyd paste it into an e-mail message and send it toeveryone in their address book, and many of those recipients would likewise forward it along.Social sharing is todays version of the e-mail forward.On the surface, viral marketing seems easy because the most successful campaigns make it lookthat way. However, once you dig deeper into its anatomy, it becomes clear that there are a limitednumber of pathways through which a piece of web content can go viral.Its not enough for something just to be good. Theres too much good stuff on the Web for all of itto catch fire. If you want to create something that will grow and extend itself after you send it outinto the world, it must harness one of three fundamental elements of self-perpetuating content:entertainment, a giveaway or self-definition.The three channels of viral marketing1. EntertainmentThis category is probably what naturally springs to mind when you hear the word "viral." However,this is actually the most difficult route to take and demands a level creative resources that aretypically prohibitive for the average business.With the hype surrounding high-profile viral marketing campaigns like Old Spices "The Man YourMan Could Smell Like," its easy to oversimplify the formula for what it takes to pull this off.Everyone thinks their own stuff is entertaining, but in the eye of the beholder, this is rarely thecase.When you attempt to play in this space, youre going up against the big guns who have immenseresources to throw at superstar writers, artists, editors and producers. In the face of those odds,its very risky to hope that youll strike the magic combination of unique content and flawless
execution to win the jackpot.For every phenomenal success like Old Spice, there are plenty of embarrassing, high-dollar flops.And, yes, sometimes a kid with a webcam becomes an Internet sensation. But thats like capturinglightning in a bottle. Its nothing you can create artificially, and its very difficult to cultivateorganically.2. The giveawayIn stark contrast to viral entertainment, the viral giveaway is potentially attainable by any businesslarge or small, local or national.There are two ways to approach this type of campaign, depending on the nature of your business:If you deal in goods, you can give away free or discounted products to customers (think Groupon).If you deal in services, you can give away time or expertise (or both).In either case, there is heavy competition in the giveaway space, so its critical to ensure that thereis significant perceived value in your offering, typically in terms of time or money saved for yourcustomer.But the giveaway is not viral in and of itself. What creates the mechanism for self-perpetuation isframing it as a reward received in exchange for participation in spreading your message.This is something not all companies are prepared to do. The idea of creating something only togive it away seems ludicrous by conventional thinking.However, you cant look at the giveaway as a loss. The reality is that this is todays marketing.Instead of pouring tens of thousands of dollars into carpet-bombing advertising that no onebelieves in, youre investing in word of mouth - the most powerful form of trustcasting.The act of giving away your valuable goods or expertise creates trust among your customers, whopass your message along to their friends and followers, who then spread it through their networks.Suddenly hundreds of new potential customers suddenly know who you are and what you do, withthe added benefit of being recommended by someone they know and trust, and that trust isconveyed to you by association.3. Self-definitionA product, an idea or a concept that is new, innovative, unique or just plain awesome is sharable.But when it makes a bold statement - not about your company but about life, work or culture - thatstrikes a chord in the beholder, thats when it has the potential to go viral.When someone shares this type of content, theyre defining themselves through the act of sharing,attaching themselves to the history, the character or the lifestyle that exists around your brand.Theyre identifying themselves as belonging to your tribe.
When Nikes "Write the Future" debuted in May 2010, it set a new record for the most views of aviral video ad in its first week.Its popularity was undoubtedly due in part to the celebrity appeal of the soccer superstarsfeatured, but it also touches on a deeper love for the sport, for the World Cup and even for thefeeling of connection with others inspired by a shared passion for a certain team or player. Whensomeone shares this video with their friends, theyre attaching their identity to these broaderconcepts.But you dont have to be Nike to pull this off. If I post a link to your blog to my profile on LinkedIn,Im defining myself as a torchbearer for your ideas. If I take a take a quiz on your website andtweet my score, Im boasting about my intelligence. And if I make a donation to your nonprofitorganization and share it on Facebook, Im defining myself as an altruistic person who supports Ifyour cause. In each case, my act of sharing challenges other like-minded people within mynetwork to do the same, because they want to attach themselves to these ideas and qualities, too.ExecutionViral marketing cant be a one-off effort. You also cant come up with an idea and tack on elementsof viral marketing as an afterthought.If youre going to play in this space, it must permeate every aspect of your business model, fromyour R&D process to your pricing structure to your marketing strategy. Your website and yourpresence on social media networks must be built to be part of the viral mechanism. You mustfocus on creating a self-perpetuating engine of traffic, conversion and sales.To be successful, you must know your tribe and know it well. You must be realistic about what itsmembers like and what they will respond to.You must also be willing to take risks. Behind every successful viral campaign is trial and error,careful tracking of metrics and fine-tuning of the approach.Are the risks worthwhile? In a word, yes. Todays most powerful business growth platforms arebuilt on trustcasting and permission marketing. Theres no more direct route to owning your marketthan having a tribe of brand evangelists who carry your message for you, and viral marketingtransforms the spark of word of mouth into an inferno that propels you ahead of your competition.Based in Charlotte, N.C., Fame Foundry is the trustcasting agency specializing in driving businessgrowth through marketing, website design and development, traffic building, public relations andsocial media, creative design, media and software and information technology. The firm publishesThe Fame Foundry Magazine at http://www.famefoundry.com and produces two podcasts -Â TheFame Foundry Podcast and The Fame Foundry Marketing Minute -Â all focused on helpingowners and marketers overcome the challenges of doing business in todays marketplace.
Article Source:http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sharon_Lane==== ====Grab Your Free eBook - The greatest ever viral marketing idea of all timehttp://bit.ly/zGHnrk==== ====