Viral Marketing in Social Media


It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million listeners.

Pre-Cable TV took 13 years to reach 50 million users..

The internet took four years to reach 50 million people…

In less than nine months Facebook added 100 million users.

For less than a $1,000 you can launch a viral marketing campaign with the potential to reach thousands of people, if not millions quickly and almost effortlessly.

Take for example the Blendtec Company, a maker of food processors and blenders, who placed a series of YouTube videos called “Will It Blend?” Arising our curiosity and sense of dark humor Blendtec blended golf balls, an iPhone, and even a bag of marbles. It was fascinating to watch a glowing iPhone being reduced to black powder and shredded plastic. In a short matter of time Blendtec logged 8 million visitors while sales increased over 800%. Don’t we just enjoy watching things being destroyed?

Burger King launched an interactive video on their micro website with a man dressed as a chicken. In the message bar you can insert a command and the chicken-man would jump, run, dance, and play dead. You get the picture. People loved the creativity, fun, and sense of control. Within 24 hours the site received 1 million hits and by the end of the week eight million. Not bad for a chicken man.

Down in Orlando Florida, Universal Studios launched a new attraction based on the Harry Potter series. Instead of deploying expensive advertising through mass media, Universal teamed up with the author J.K. Rowling, to give a special webinar to the top seven Harry Potter maven fans. Afterwards, the seven maven fans shared their news on blogs and forums with great energy and enthusiasm. The media picked it up and ran with the story. Meanwhile, Universal setup a micro site for bloggers and the media to ascertain more information on the park’s new attraction. In just a few weeks this viral marketing tactic spread the news from seven people to over 300 Million. Of course, it helps when you have an established base of loyal Harry Potter fans.

TRUST: Content Democratization: We are migrating from push advertising to pull; allowing users greater access, participation, and control based on trust.

In the last ten years both the media and information technology industries have been migrating from a traditional push advertising environment (TV & newspaper ads) to interactive (pull) advertising using interactive content. The days of advertiser content dominance is being transformed into a democratization process whereby quality content is interacted, shared, and rated. The democratization process allows the consumer greater control and influence to recommend products and services to their peers. In the end, it’s creating trust between the buyer and the seller. Trust builds loyalty and repeat business. Trust is the glue that will cement the relationship and it’s done by allowing an interactive participation in the communication and collaboration process. There’s nothing more powerful and trustworthy than when a good friend makes a recommendation.

Using a combination of our imagination and creativity one can use viral marketing tactics within social media channels to capture the attention of millions. Of course, getting their attention is only half the battle. The other half is harder. The real challenge is converting their attention into sales or a call-to-action, and to sustain that effort over a period of time. This is what separates the amateurs from the professionals. As my mom use to say to me, “You get what you pay for.”


Social Media on Web 2.0 is simply the ability to have conversations with people through a variety of communication tools and communities. By nature people are tribal and we seek to converse and share with other like minded people.

According to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, 62% of users polled believe they can influence business decisions by voicing opinions via new media channels. About a quarter have contributed their point-of-view on an issue (24%) or contacted a company directly (23%). 74% expect companies to join conversations about their corporate responsibility practices happening on new media. MediaPost January 22, 2010

Social media platforms can leverage the collective wisdom of the community to collaborate on a given objective, such as; to increase sales, create content, engage customer feedback, nurture a community, amplify your marketing message, and to develop peer relationships between manufacturer-distributor-retailer-partner-customer. Typically, the social media conversation is uncontrolled, unorganized, nor always on target with the message. Web 2.0 has become a democracy of information usage with a bit of anarchy thrown in.

The power of Web 2.0 allows the individual to spread their conversations or word-of-mouth in multiple formats; image, video, text, and audio. Individuals can leverage their social media communities, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, MetaCafe, SocialText and a host of others platforms. The most popular social media network activities ranged from posting messages, downloading and uploading music, videos and images. These communities and tools allow photo sharing, videos, communities, blogs, forums, articles, news, entertainment, news, and tutorials. They also allow individuals to use their collective intelligence to collaborate on online projects. The power of these tools is the ability share, create, and product from one-to-many quickly, effortlessly, and seamlessly. Good news can travel fast but with even greater trepidation; bad news can travel at light speed.


Scaling up your viral marketing campaign requires an environment of easy access and collaboration. Ross Mayfield, founder of Socialtext, coined the concept of the, “Power Law of Participation.” In it, he describes that social media portals should make it easy to access, to read, and to share content. The intent is to accelerate productivity and creativity by engaging participants to use their collective wisdom in sharing their knowledge and intelligence. It’s a well known fact that the wisdom of the tribe will exceed the wisdom of the individual.

In James Surowiecki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few, the author explained that the collective decisions of the group far exceeds the individual and the added dimension of social internet sites offers a diversity of ideas. It can easily be said the world is our village. We see this today on Wikipedia where a community of people collaborates to create and share its knowledge base. youtube live stream views buy

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