Content Virality: Principles of Viral Marketing
Those who specialize in Internet marketing have probably heard such a term as virality, aka virality. This parameter determines how much this or that content may be of interest to representatives of the target audience and quickly spread throughout the network. If you manage to create material that will be endowed with such qualities, then it will spread like a virus on the Internet, causing massive interest among users and a desire to share with others. Also, such a term as virality refers to situations when people actively share posts on social networks, blogs. It was their appearance that contributed to the accelerated development of such a concept as viral marketing.
Now let's dwell in more detail on the characteristics inherent in viral content, as well as on what principles it is built on. The information received will allow you to create material that will actively scatter over the network, causing a lot of response from representatives of the target audience, which will positively affect the development of your business. We will also suggest a number of points that will expand your opportunities when working on the network, will allow you to avoid a ban and other sanctions from anti-fraud systems.
Characteristics inherent in viral content
Viral content refers to all material that has the following features:
- Arouses increased interest among users. A viral post will never be boring. It is designed to attract the attention of a person, to evoke emotions in him. To accomplish the task, catchy headlines, photo or video accompaniment, and persuasive words are used. Often such content is already on the verge of provocation. The main thing here is not to overdo it and not cross this line.
- Uniqueness. A viral post should compare favorably with other content available on the network. This applies not only to the choice of topic, but also to the creative presentation of a completely familiar phenomenon. Add here the original style of presentation, facts that few people know about — and you will get what you want. That is, even if you cannot come up with unique content, then the emphasis must be placed on the features of presentation, design.
- Compliance with the public interest. Everything here is focused on ensuring that the target audience positively perceives the information provided. If the post is controversial, if it does not correspond to the general worldview of people, then the probability that it will reach a huge number of target audiences is close to zero. That is, even if you manage to develop a unique theme, design it correctly, such a publication will not become viral if the message embedded in it is not close to users. In addition, viral content must have positive publicity. Negativity will only harm your business.
- Relevance. This requirement is considered mandatory rather conditionally, because people are also interested in topics that are not on the agenda. Original photos with humorous or informative captions are always relevant. But still, more users will be attracted to the material that is currently being heard. This way you can easily engage people in a dialogue, make them send posts to all their friends.
More than 10 years ago, American marketers spoke about the reasons that encourage users to share content. They conducted a mass study that showed that people most often distribute material that causes them both positive and negative emotions, with the exception of oppression and sadness. But in any case, behind their actions lies their own benefit. So, as an example, by placing a post with a theater poster on his page, a person pursues the goal of showing the society that he is developing culturally by attending such an event. But the same post with a photo and a recipe for a dish carries the message “Look what a hostess I am.”
Predict in advance whether your content will go viral and cause users to actively share it — impossible. There are no recommendations regarding the length of the note, subject matter, or presentation features. Yes, in practice there have been cases when articles in a dozen pages scattered around the world in a matter of hours. But no less effect was caused by one picture with a caption in a few words. The important thing here is just to hit the target.
But still, experts have identified 6 key factors that viral content must comply with. Let's consider them in more detail.
TOP 6 Viral Marketing Principles
The laws of content virality were identified by marketer Jon Berger and outlined in his book “Contagious. Psychology of word of mouth. How, he argues, that content that combines the following factors can become viral:
- Social currency.
- Practical value.
Let's take a closer look at all these 6 components.
Most people would like to look more presentable in public than they actually are. So, in social networks (we select an image), eccentricity easily passes in steepness, the lack of material resources is presented as security, the lack of intelligence is covered with a set of standard smart phrases, etc. It often takes a lot of time and effort to impress the public. It is this principle that must be observed when creating viral content. It is important to present information about the product to users in such a way that they feel involved in something important, they can maintain their attractive image.
The term triggers hides under itself stimuli that awaken thoughts about related things. It is important to present information in such a way as to make people think as often as possible about this product or the idea itself, to find associations. That is, to do everything to ensure that this topic is securely entrenched in the mind of a person and actively developed, accompanied by the desire to share with others. At one time, an advertising campaign for KitKat bars in the USA was built on such associations. When developing an advertising campaign, marketers positioned this sweetness as an addition to coffee. It is for coffee, because in America this drink is in high demand among people of different ages. There are no such tea lovers as Britain. Thanks to a well-thought-out strategy, marketers managed to achieve their goal — coffee became associated with sweets and in itself there was a desire to make such a snack.
That is, it is important to develop an idea that combines both your product and the things that a person encounters every day in life. This symbiosis gives impressive results.
A person is arranged in such a way that simultaneously with the emergence of an emotion, he has a desire to share it with others. And if your product or product causes such a surge of feelings, then it is highly likely that information about it will be shared with other people, which will become the key to mass distribution. So, most people are touched by funny animals. Quotes of philosophers, relevant even at the present time, make you think. How easily some people break expensive equipment, cars, many are bewildered, and even furious. That is, all those phenomena that cause emotions in people will spread much more efficiently.
But it's not so simple here. It is also important to consider what emotions this or that product evokes. Conventionally, everything that a person feels can be divided into 2 separate categories:
- Positive emotions. Thus, inspiration, humor, reverence will contribute to high activation. But satisfaction, although it can be attributed to positive emotions, it will not particularly affect a person, will not make him want to immediately share the material with others.
- Negative emotions. Berger's research has shown that it is anger and fear that causes the greatest variability in people. But sadness generally suppresses the desire to convey information.
This principle is largely based on the policy followed by the media in their work. There is a lot of negativity, anger, fear in the materials provided. This is inherent in a person at the genetic level. What contributed to its survival in distant times has always been of interest. Despite the fact that modern society has gone much further socially, these fears still work on a conscious level.
The fact that negative emotions cause people to have an increased perception of — it is a fact. But still you can’t build your content marketing on them. Yes, such posts evoke a lively response from the audience, in fact traffic growth and number of comments, sharing. But still, this is clearly not worth abusing. The main thing is to set a line for yourself and not cross it. This is especially true when you offer any goods or services. All the negativity contained in the material on a subconscious level, users will transfer to your products. Yes, the likelihood that you will force users to share material is quite high. But this, alas, will not contribute to the growth of your profits. Therefore, the main emphasis should be placed on positive emotions, in particular, inspiration, fun, etc.
This principle can also be called social proof. We are talking about people's assessments, their personal opinions, behavioral principles that other users are guided by before making their own decision. As an example, if you are looking for a holiday hotel, then you will definitely study the reviews of people who have already visited it. Based on them, your perception will form a general picture, which can be either positive or negative. Based on this, you will decide whether to book a room in this hotel or whether it is better to look for other options.
If we switch to the topic of social networks, then posts that have received a lot of comments, likes, reposts will have more credibility. The more there are, the more actively users will share the material with their acquaintances, friends, etc. If you manage to evoke a positive response from one of the famous people, this will cause a serious resonance among the target audience. Agree, the level of perception will be much higher for the post under which David Craig leaves a comment than some Vasily Pupkin.
Along with the content of the entertainment plan, people are also attracted to everything that benefits them, that is, that has practical value. If you manage to present them with material that will help save money or time, improve health, then they will more actively share with others. But here it is important that the information be as truthful as possible, otherwise your idea will not work — hardly anyone will convey what is obviously a lie. Also, don't forget about presentation. So you can distinguish your product from the background of analogues. That is, the desire to share will arise if it seems to a person that he has made a discovery. Static, boring indicators are of no interest to anyone. It is on this principle that the increased popularity of life hacks is based.
If you manage to wrap your idea or product in some kind of fascinating story, then you can endow it with additional variable value. People will want to share exciting content with others, which will greatly facilitate the exchange of information. That is, contagious ideas, extraordinary products, packaged in a fascinating story, will work with greater efficiency.
Summing up everything we talked about in this material, it is worth highlighting a number of key points:
- Only that material and product that is endowed with at least one of the principles of variability that we talked about above can get mass distribution, that is, become viral content. The more of these points you manage to cover in your marketing idea, the more impressive the result will be.
- The greatest response from users of social networks will be the material that will allow a person to improve their own image. It should improve the value of a person in the eyes of others.
- Don't forget about associations. If you can link your product to the things that people encounter in their daily lives, your idea will give more impressive results.
- Anger and anger are very uplifting. But here it is important not to cross the line. otherwise, negative emotions will be transferred to your products and services, which will not cause the desired response from the target audience. Content that provokes anger and anger is only good if your goal is to increase traffic, but do not plan to convert leads into buyers.
- Present the value of the promoted product as if it were a discovery.
- Offer your target audience not the product itself, but a compelling story built around it. This will greatly increase engagement.
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