When looking at online content, even in terms of marketing, it is hard to ignore ‘viral’ content. This is content that has gained the attention of hundreds of thousands of people across the globe on the Internet. From a marketing point of view, this is the kind of exposure, outreach, and attention that any business or brand can hope for.
On the other hand, the ‘viral’ phenomenon is one that is extremely confusing. In fact, if you take a closer look, you will find that it isn’t an approach that you should be aiming for:
You Have No Control
When something goes viral in marketing, you don’t have any control over it. In fact, the viral content is shared from one user to another, at an exponential rate, until it is basically looking after itself. You have little to any control over the outcome and where the viral content will end up. This lack of control is often a big problem to focus on.
For example, when the Ice Bucket Challenge for the ASL Association became viral, it managed to help raise around $155 million for the ASL Association. On the other hand, there did come a point where the challenge was being shared without any links or information and people were indulging in it just for laughs or to get the oddest reactions.
There is No Knowing What Can Be Viral
Viral marketing makes you think that there is a formula for going viral but in all honesty, there really isn’t. It all depends on the whims of the audience. This is why there are viral challenges such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, the Mannequin Challenge, Old Spice advertisements and then there is other viral content such as Sponge Bob memes and videos like the panda who got scared when her cub sneezed.
Trying to find the middle ground here is troubling because there really is no knowing what will go viral. For this reason, designing your whole marketing scheme around the possibility of going viral is not a healthy approach. For starters, it will detract from your main marketing goals and it will also diminish the results you get.
The Results Are Not Always to Your Liking
Now let’s suppose that something does go viral and you’re enjoying the exposure you’re getting. However, there is an odd thing about going viral. Very few users, if any, care or want to know about the brand or company that made the viral content.
Their focus lies solely on the content that is shared and if it doesn’t have a unique selling point or a call to action, that is a giant missed opportunity. Given the fact that you have also little control in managing the direction the viral content will go in, this is a marketing tactic where you are literally hoping for the best.
On the other hand, a better way to approach viral marketing is in a hit-and-miss manner. The best thing to do is to make content that is relevant, that touches your target audience and that is able to produce the results you want. If that ends up going viral, it will be a by-product of your marketing and not vice versa.
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