Recently we have had a lot of interest in our Viral Campaigns, these can be used for link bait, brand awareness or data collection. These campaigns are called Viral from the way that they spread around the internet and can be any medium from Flash games, videos or even clever content. 100′s of Viral campaigns are being launched daily, but you rarely hear about them, due to the diversity of the internet, this does not mean they have flopped as they may have reached the target audience, collected thousands of email addresses, or increased visits and links to the main site proportionally enough to provide a return on investment (ROI).
Seeding Viral Campaigns
One aspect of a Viral campaign is seeding, and this is where many campaigns fall short. A lot of people assume that because their content is good that it will spread on its own, this is short-sightedness that causes clients to lose money in the creation of the content for it not to meet expectations. I have worked on a lot of Viral campaigns from concept to review, therefore, in my opinion, I have always included seeding as part of the original brief and only recently started seeing ‘seeding’ as a separate service.
Seeding is where you spread the word about your viral campaign and help it gain momentum until it takes off as a contagious viral. Viral Campaigns need to have a purpose, you need to identify the target audience and the reason for the Viral, such as data collection. By identifying the demographic, purpose and the content you can begin to look at mediums to release and publish the viral too.
The obvious start is to email the clients database, bit if it is a data collection or the purpose is to generate new interest there may not be targeted data. This does not mean it won’t get sent to the correct people at some point through ‘forward to a friend’ etc but you should never rely on this alone.
Leveraging Social Media for Viral Content Distribution
The other obvious medium is social media sites, this can target the correct people through Facebook PPC or be spread through posts. A recent clever campaign was an anti-facebook applications video that spread on Facebook. This is a good example of how the correct content can match up to the correct platform (in this case Facebook) to have an added impact. The irony of the video being shown on Facebook meant the campaign spread further and quicker.
The other popular medium is Twitter, the ability to retweet and post in a quick 140 characters means if the content is correct can speed up the momentum, I usually advise twitter as an extension to every viral campaign, however it can be the main seed and be very successful. A good example of this was the #moonfruit Mac giveaway where you were encouraged to include #moonfruit in your Tweets to be entered for the chance to win a Macbook. This spread awareness of the site very quickly, this concept has been replicated a few times but I would say #moonfruit was the simplest and most effective and qualified with public congratulations to the winners on a daily basis.
Depending on the Viral content, different seeding processes will apply, corporate videos often do much better on YouTube than if promoted from the site, this is because YouTube has a DIY quality that people respond better to. Videos that are placed on the website are immediately associated with professionalism and depending on the content may not be passed on in the same way.
These are just a few ways in which you can use sites for your seeding project, other ways are using publishing sites, forums, bloggers etc which I will discuss in more detail in another post, but you need to carefully manage and monitor the launch of a viral using analytics so it doesn’t lose momentum.