Does your marketing message or social media share need to go viral to be effective? How much momentum needs to be behind it?

Viral Marketing; we see it fairly regularly — content goes “viral”. It captures people’s imagination and spreads rapidly. Sometimes it continues to spread long after it’s posted, even years after. If your content’s still being shared months and even years later it says a lot about your content’s relevancy.

“Viral” was a buzzword that appeared in the late 90s. It’s still a buzzword (although I’ve seen more than one post lamenting the overuse of buzzwords, including this one.) Let’s put the term in context. All content you send out through social networks is considered viral if it’s shared. You want content to be contagious. That’s the point. You want people to re-share it. That way your exposure grows exponentially. We all hope for viewing and sharing responses that send our brand soaring into the elite social stratosphere, but that’s rare atmosphere, on a scale that few posts achieve.

A little background on viral marketing

The emergence of “viral marketing” as an approach to advertisement, has been tied to the popularization of the notion that ideas spread like viruses. The field that developed around this notion, memetics, peaked in popularity in the 1990s.[7] As this then began to influence marketing gurus, it took on a life of its own in that new context.

That was years ago and still no one really knows for sure which content will “go viral”. But the common thread contained in all truly viral marketing is that it strikes a chord with people, sometimes universally.

Does the content you’re sharing need to go viral?

Here’s the kernel in this post — does the content you’re sharing need to “go viral”? It does only in the sense that you need to reach the people you want to reach while at the same time extending your reach in order to grow your business and promote your brand. If your content goes crazy, then fantastic, it means massive exposure for your brand. Well done. Rejoice. But your main objective should be to reach your current customers and expand your reach by attracting new customers. And you need to keep all of those people coming back to you for more.

Viral is as viral does. Who are you trying to reach? Are you reaching them? What’s your ultimate objective for your viral marketing? Are you achieving it? You need your message to go viral on a scale that meets your objective? You don’t need to reach the entire universe, you need to reach your universe. Having said that, there’s still lots we can learn from content that goes viral. There are takeaways for all of us in that success. What went viral in 2015? Here’s a post from AdWeek …

The most viral ads of 2015 (So Far)

Being in the right place is also important to your viral marketing success. Where do the people you want to reach hang out? Are you there with them? Check out this recent post from Social Media Today …

The World’s 21 Most Important Social Media Sites and Apps in 2015.