Viral marketing uses people’s electronic connectivity to increase the velocity of word of mouth. People with similar interests, needs and lifestyles tend to pass on and share interesting and entertaining content.

When sponsored by a brand, the message builds awareness of a product or service and can provide qualified prospects for the organisation to pursue.

Viral marketing campaigns can be unpredictable, but careful planning can go a long way to ensuring success.

1- Define the aims of the campaign and determine how success will be measured.
2- Create something that people want to share.
3- Use social media to ensure that content is easy to share.
4- Remove all barriers to participation.
5- Be authentic.
6- Provide incentives.
7- Make the message available.
8- Use a strong call to action.
9- Track, analyse and optimise.
10- Get a little lucky.

Campaigns that experience rapid exponential growth (go viral) can reach a large audience in a short space of time at a very low cost, making viral marketing very attractive.

Successful viral marketing relies on a solid understanding of social media. Most viral marketing messages are hosted, shared and even created with the tools of social media.

Viral marketing campaigns can increase the links to a web site, and can therefore be a valuable SEO resource and tactic. Using SEO knowledge, the campaign can be created so as to maximise the value of those links.

Email marketing can be turned into potential viral marketing with the simple addition of a “forward to a friend” instruction and link in an email newsletter.

Viral campaigns can be seeded in a number of ways, including online advertising, to ensure maximum audience.

ORM provides plenty of tools for establishing the success and reach of viral campaigns.