Brand awareness, sales, and visibility can dramatically increase when a marketing campaign goes viral. That’s why going viral is so attractive to a business owner. So what does it take to make your content stand out in a big way?
By creating engaging, shareable, and emotionally resonant content, businesses can harness the power of social media to spread their message and build excitement around their brand.
Read on to see the top viral marketing campaigns of the last few decades, and learn how you can use the same strategies found in viral marketing for your own business.
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5 examples of successful viral marketing campaigns
These five examples illustrate how different types of campaigns can lead to viral success, from fundraising to humor to inclusion, and offer valuable lessons for marketers looking to create their own viral marketing campaigns.
Here are five real examples of viral marketing campaigns that have captured the attention of millions of people around the world.
1. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a social media phenomenon that took the world by storm in 2014. The campaign involved people dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads and challenging others to do the same, all to raise awareness and raise money. funds for the ALS Association. .
The campaign generated more than $115 million in donations and included the participation of celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey.
2. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” by Old Spice
Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign is a classic example of viral marketing done right. The campaign featured actor Isaiah Mustafa delivering a tongue-in-cheek monologue about what makes a man desirable, all while promoting Old Spice’s line of personal care products.
The ad went viral almost immediately, generating over 50 million views on YouTube alone.
3. Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” Campaign
In 2011, Coca-Cola launched its “Share a Coke” campaign, which involved printing popular names on Coca-Cola bottles and cans. The campaign encouraged people to shop for Coca-Cola products to find their own name or the name of a loved one, and then share a Coke with them.
The campaign was a huge success, with Coca-Cola reporting a 2.5% increase in sales and more than 1.2 million photos shared on social media using the #ShareACoke hashtag.
4. Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club is a subscription service that offers razors and other grooming products directly to consumers. The company’s viral marketing campaign featured a humorous video starring company founder Michael Dubin mocking the high prices of razors and touting the convenience and affordability of Dollar Shave Club.
The video went viral almost immediately, generating more than 26 million views and helping catapult the company to success.
5. Airbnb “We Are Here” Campaign
Airbnb’s “We Are Here” campaign aimed to promote diversity and inclusion by highlighting the stories of real people who use the platform to travel and connect with others. The campaign featured a series of videos and photos showcasing the diversity of the Airbnb community, along with the hashtag #WeAreHere.
The campaign was a huge success, generating more than 7 million views and garnering widespread praise for its message of unity and inclusion.
5 Common Components of Viral Marketing Campaigns
Viral marketing campaigns have the potential to be incredibly powerful tools for businesses looking to connect with the public and promote their brand. By creating content that is shareable, memorable, and emotionally resonant, companies can create a buzz that spreads like wildfire on social media and beyond.
Putting together a great marketing campaign is a skill, but there are no magic formulas behind it. Think about your favorite viral marketing campaigns and you’ll notice that they share some common characteristics. If you’re a seller who wants to reach a larger audience, keep these five things in mind.
1. Viral marketing targets a specific audience
The key to a successful viral marketing campaign is understanding your audience and their desires, fears, and pain points. The campaign must resonate and engage your audience. It should also be interesting enough that viewers want to share it with friends and family.
When you figure out how to speak to your audience, use these questions as a starting point.
How do you think? What challenges do they have? How does your offer help them overcome these challenges? Where do they hang out online?
Once you know who you’re talking to, it’s much easier to find a digital content strategy you can use to reach them and what marketing messages will resonate with them.
There are several tools available to help marketers research their target audience, but two of the best tools are your website and Google Analytics. The data provided by Google Analytics will allow you to extract detailed information about your audience, such as age, location, gender, interests, language, and more.
This information can guide you when planning marketing campaigns, ensuring that your audience is more likely to interact with and share your content.
2. Viral marketing campaigns evoke emotion
Viral marketing campaigns are highly effective when you deeply touch the emotions of your customers. You can achieve this same effect for your business when you understand your audience and how your product or service hits home with viewers.
He Dove Beauty Sketches campaign did just this. The campaign was incredibly moving, tapping into a range of emotions in just a few moments on screen. After seeing the ad, you may have experienced thoughts of frustration, insecurity, and trust.
Each commercial features a person describing their appearance to an artist who cannot see it. The artist then draws the portrait of her based on those details. After completing the first portrait, the artist draws a second portrait based on what she sees.
We realize that the second portrait where the artist draws what he sees is much more beautiful and realistic than the first portrait drawn based on the individual’s description of himself.
Dove’s message illustrates that our perception of ourselves can be worse than how others see us. This message inspired conversations about self-esteem and the beauty in all of us.
To date, Real Beauty Sketches has received nearly 180 million views and counting, most likely due to its relatability and emotional appeal.
3. Viral marketing campaigns don’t take themselves too seriously.
In 2017, carter wilkerson, a 16-year-old from Reno, Nevada, jokingly tweeted at fast food chain Wendy’s asking how many retweets he needed to get to get a free year’s worth of chicken nuggets. The network could have easily ignored the tweet, but was quick to reply instead: “18 million.”
Carter’s tweet was retweeted and shared, which ultimately helped him reach his goal. Although he only got 3 million retweets, the tweet became the most retweeted tweet at the time. Wendy’s also decided to reward his efforts despite not reaching the original goal of 18 million retweets.
Wendy’s probably didn’t expect this tweet to go anywhere, but when it started going viral, it encouraged other users to help Carter reach his goal.
This unlikely viral marketing campaign was not the result of planning months in advance. Instead, Wendy’s was able to attract positive attention and brand recognition by closely monitoring its social channels and seizing the moment.
Every day, consumers engage and post shareable content about the brands they love on social media. As a business owner, you can use social listening tools to stay on top of what your customers are saying about your brand. You never know when there’s a social media post that can help build marketing buzz for your business.
4. Viral marketing campaigns use eye-catching images
Twitter noticed a trend among users who use the social media platform to make their dreams come true: these posts exceeded 59 million tweets.
Capitalizing on this trend, Twitter launched a campaign in major North American cities called “Tweet It Into Existence.” Twitter shared success stories of celebrities like Demi Lovato, Megan Thee Stallion, Issa Rae and other big names who tweeted about their big goals in life. The hope was that users would tweet about their own dreams and see them come true. It worked.
Viral marketing campaigns require a visual strategy and eye-catching design. Your campaign should tell a story. The best stories use creative elements that resonate with your audience.
Although Twitter used its in-house team to execute the “Tweet It Into Existence” campaign, it may be worthwhile for you to work with a designer or contractor to execute your campaign imagery.
Remember, marketing campaigns don’t go viral unless they are unique, engaging, and innovative. Your campaign must engage your audience in a visual and creative way to capture their attention.
5. Viral marketing is timely
Remember the Zoom Virtual Fund Contest? In March 2020, during the start of a global pandemic, Zoom launched a viral marketing campaign that allowed users to share videos or images using Zoom’s virtual background feature.
If you participated in the virtual background competition, you probably felt a sense of community and resilience at an unprecedented time. The campaign was timely given current events and also kept the privacy of home-remote workers in mind.
It made what seemed like a bleak future an exciting experience, and people were looking forward to the monthly prizes and giveaways. More than 50,000 people participated in the contest. The campaign helped spread awareness of Zoom and even organic evangelism when users shared the contest on social media.
The Zoom virtual background competition showed that Zoom was relevant and aware of the times. You may think that Zoom’s success was luck of the draw, but it wasn’t the only online meeting software. Skype had been around long before Zoom.
The bottom line from Zoom’s viral marketing campaign is that any business can make it as long as it stays abreast of current events and anticipates new trends. You can take a page out of the Zoom book by planning a vacation challenge relevant to your industry or creating a marketing campaign that gets your audience sharing on social media.
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If you want to maximize your sales, implement these tips – you may find that your brand is the one everyone is talking about.
There is no exact formula for making viral content. You can review what has worked in the past and try to recreate it. Ultimately, it’s all about creating great content and ensuring that your eCommerce site performs at its best to handle traffic for your next viral marketing campaign.
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