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Viral Engagement

Viral advertising is popular, and with good reason. But to be truly viral isn't just to advertise, which implies one-directional communication, but to engage. To react as the audience does, evolving as they receive your information and react to it.

Just what is "viral?"

To define something that has gone viral is to look for the stage when information self-replicates, or spreads from one person to another without the involvement of the initial progenitor. Like the flu virus that spreads far and away from its first host, a viral campaign trickles through an audience by the people themselves. Individuals want to share the viral entity (be it an ad, video, picture, website, or otherwise) because they feel compelled to.

So what makes something sharable? Usually it is something entertaining, but other times it can be something thought-provoking, useful, informative, or emotionally provocative.

Exponential Spread

Pandemic Power

The power of viral marketing is exponential. If a person sees your viral content and shares it with two friends, and if those two friends share it with two of their friends, and so on...that viral content has expanded its exposure incredibly fast and more importantly to a receptive audience. People don't share something to their friends if they knew they wouldn't enjoy it. It is an easy way to reach those targeted demographics.

Engage, don't just broadcast

But despite this relative ease of letting the audience do the heavy work of sharing for you, true viral marketing requires interaction on both sides. The audience shares, but in order to keep that audience hooked you must keep them engaged. This can either come from a carefully controlled stream of released content, answering questions, holding physical events, using multiple mediums (radio, TV, QR codes, print), or other strategies.

The key is to keep the audience mesmerized and following along as you discreetly leave the planned out breadcrumbs. This mystery can become viral in and of itself, as other people join into the following simply because they're intrigued by what everyone else is doing.

Viral engagement is storytelling; with pacing, upturns, and downturns. With a good sense of campaign leadership this form of marketing can accomplish huge things with far greater return on investment than simply broadcasting an ad across the globe.

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