The Negative Side of Going Viral on Social Media for Businesses

on December 14 | in Social Media | by | with No Comments

Going viral is a phenomenon that fascinates many businesses because of the large benefits they get to reap. A viral image, song, video or advertisement instantly generates millions of viewers and the business can expect a boost in sales, exposure and more. In fact, even if they convert a quarter of those millions of views into sales, they get to earn a good amount.

On the other hand, going viral can also have a dark side that is not as popularly acknowledged. Going viral is seen in such a positive light that many might not even know about the negatives. The following are some of the major negatives about going viral:

Highlighting the Bad Stuff

The worst thing about going viral is that you cannot control it. You cannot know whether the business will go viral for something positive or negative. In the event that bad stuff went viral, there is little opportunity for damage control. A business could easily lose its credibility and a large portion of its target market. Similarly, the viral nature of the content means that it will be viewed by a target market that the business was hoping to reach out to. The effect is similar to signing your own death sentence. The good news though is that you can recover from it but it can take a lot of hard work.

Bad Reviews and Ratings

Sometimes, bad reviews and ratings can also go viral. Reviews can be posted on any platform, but if someone takes a screenshot of it and shares it on a social media platform, it can quickly spread like wildfire. A big example of this is the ridiculous Amazon reviews you can see on many products. While these are done only in good humor, they still grow viral and generate views from people. Similarly, bad reviews, as well as ratings, can impact a business. Considering that around 90% of people look up ratings and reviews before they make any purchase or work with a business, this can be a major blow to your product or business.

Losing the Goal

Since you cannot control the way a certain thing goes viral, it often means that the end result can be something that is missing some vital information. In fact, it often turns into a big game of virtual Chinese Whispers. A big example of this is the ASL Ice Bucket challenge. It went viral with a link that explained ASL, the organization and where participants can donate money to the patients. On the other hand, the viral nature of the challenge saw many people participating in the Ice Bucket challenge without any mention of ASL. Similarly, if the content being shared loses the call to action, it loses its potential to generate anything other than views.

While going viral doesn’t always have a downside, it is necessary to keep the negatives in mind. In this manner, you can be prepared and not be caught completely off-guard when your content generates negative attention.

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