Viral marketing: a bunch of tips on how NOT to do it

Despite all the viral marketing success stories, there is still an embarrassing number of amateur mistakes made in the average viral marketing campaign.

From plans falling apart to downright terrible marketing messages, newbie viral marketers tend to walk along a risky path. While success is still waiting at the end, there are several no-nos that are there to catch up marketers along the way.

In this post you will find five anti-tips that will help you plan and execute a successful viral marketing campaign, without any potential hold-ups or failures.

1. Launch everything in a day

The most successful viral marketing campaigns do not release all of their information over the course of a day, but slowly develop consciousness amongst their audience.

Rather than trying to catch people off-guard with an exciting new product or event, build up to your product or service release strategically, crafting public influence and attention the entire time. This way, you will not catch people by surprise, but hit them with an enthusiastic and powerful message.

2. Make it too obvious

There is a fine line between edgy and clear, and when viral marketing campaigns try too hard to be ‘authentic,’ they quickly become transparent and clearly fake.

If you are trying to launch a viral marketing campaign with an edge of authenticity, try not to make things too obvious to your audience. Leave some questions unanswered, and get people curious and talking rather than certain and silent.

3. Go in without a backup plan

The Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie could have been a major viral marketing success, but instead it turned into a major PR meltdown and a could-be bomb threat in Boston.

Rather than thinking of the worst possible circumstances, these viral marketers went in without any idea of the situation. Plan for the worst and always have a backup plan, so that even if your marketing campaign fails initially, you have got something else to fall back on.

4. Neglect the power of word of mouth

Word of mouth drives viral marketing campaigns. Without great word of mouth marketing, a potentially great viral marketing campaign can quickly fizzle out and die.

However, there is a big difference between positive and negative word of mouth marketing. Create something that your audience loves and you’ll be showered with attention and business exposure; create something that people dislike, and you are in for a rainstorm of negative PR.

5. Treat all animals equal

All animals are equal but some animals… OK, citing George Orwell here is maybe not the best idea. But you get the picture. Although I like to think everyone deserves the same attention, space, freedom and whatever, viral marketing is business. As much as it may sound slightly discriminatory, it is unwise to give everyone the same level of access into your viral marketing campaigns.

If you have got access to influential people, why not give them extra information to help your marketing campaign become a success. Take a page from the Hollywood playbook, and use the influence of others to ignite and propel your viral marketing campaign. Read more about that in this post: ‘Viral marketing tips: starting with the fan base and the influencers’.

Agree? Disagree? More tips? Fire away!

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More viral marketing and word of mouth marketing in this section of the blog.

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