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Viral Marketing – An Inexplicable Phenomenon or a Conscious Attempt?

Viral Marketing

Something really interesting has happened in the Social Media space this long Diwali weekend in India.

A Bangalore based entrepreneur, Harsha Mv who’s serially used to creating communities on Facebook for fun creates a facebook page ‘1001 Things To Do In Bangalore’ and witnesses 61K+ likes in just about 3 days and is still counting!

While I see a lot of people commenting that even the best of best Marketers cannot predict what will go Viral; I certainly believe that it’s possible to quite an extent to consciously create stuff that has the potential to go Viral.

First of all, let me give you a bit of background on ‘1001 Things to do In Bangalore’ Facebook Page.

Harsha created this Facebook Page 3 days back. He added the first post and went out for the evening. When he came back, he was surprised to find 2000+ Likes on his page. He did not spend a penny on the Facebook Marketing campaign but started promoting it by just inviting his circle of friends to like the page.

While Harsha’s case study seems to be more of a serendipity, my motivation to write this post is that the Viral Phenomenon on the web is not really a matter of serendipity but it’s something that can be created consciously if we try and understand the fundamentals of ‘going viral’.

After talking to Harsha and understanding the dynamics of his page and few other examples of viral content, here’s my take on a few fundamental points that are crucial to creating Viral stuff on the web.

-          Resonation: The viral content needs to really strike a chord with people. The chord could be humor, a part of their lives, sentiments, something they experience or relate with. If we look at various examples of content that went viral, we will be able to spot a common pattern.

Think of Gangnam Style, Marina’s video quitting her job or 1001 Things to do in Bangalore. In Gangnam Style – there’s a catchy beat and signature dance moves. In Marina’s video, it’s the story of an ordinary employee who is frustrated with her job; it’s a feeling that most of us share but fail to express; 1001 Things to do in Bangalore – Bangalore is a city where loads of young professionals, expats and foreign students reside. On the surface, it’s not really a fun city. The page created something interesting “for the people, by the people”.

-          Attention Grabbing: Humans have a short attention span and it has worsened in this era of Social Media. We are overloaded with so much content all around us that if the content doesn’t catch our immediate attention in first few seconds, we would not bother to spend much time on it. In all of the examples mentioned above, the presentation of the content grabs one’s attention – be it through visuals, audio or photographs.

-          Strong Call to Action: A piece of content can really go Viral if a network effect is created. Even if one feels deeply thrilled and awed by the content, there has to be strong explicit call to action to encourage people to share.

-          Early Adopters & Influencers: For something to go viral, there always needs an initial push from a bunch of early adopters and some influencers. These are the people who will kick-start the process and then following these people will be more people which ends up creating a cascading effect. For startups, therefore early adopters are immensely crucial as they are the ones who will carry the baton of the brand and bring the needed popularity.

-          Engaging Fans:  Going Viral is one; but engaging your fans and involving them in your journey is a strong step in converting the newly acquired fans into a loyal customer base. Once the fans are on board (on social media channels), they need to be regularly engaged in conversations and responded well so they feel a personal connection with the company/brand.

If you like this article, don’t forget to share this on Facebook and Twitter and let others know about how great new entrepreneurs in India are doing!

Finally, while we all talk about viral, it’s great to see a case study coming up from next door. Thanks to Harsha for sharing his input for this post. 

So, do you hold the view that viral stuff can be created consciously? What do you think are other tenets of viral stuff? Do you have any examples of viral content? Do share your thoughts/comments below.

Pic Courtesy: www.masternewmedia.org

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

NIDHI KAPOOR - Nidhi is the co-founder of FounderMates.com. She holds an MBA in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Imperial College, London. Prior to starting FounderMates.com, she worked with 2 reputable startups in London. One of the startups was as young as a year old where she was the first hire while another was almost 5 years old. This has been an enriching experience for her in understanding the dynamics and needs of a startup across a broad spectrum.

Nidhi can be contacted at nidhi.kapoor@foundermates.com

You can read past articles by Nidhi Kapoor here: Link1 and Link2.

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Viral Marketing– An Inexplicable Phenomenon or a Conscious Attempt?
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What are the basic tenets of viral marketing? It is something that can be created consciously if we try and understand the fundamentals of ‘going viral’.

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