Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you have probably been using (or at the very least heard of) Pinterest.  It has seen substantial growth and is becoming a serious way for marketers to get content to go viral.  Having your content go viral is one of the most important things marketers strive for.  It’s also our biggest challenge.  In this week’s blog I’m going to teach you all about the art of viral marketing and how that can apply to Pinterest.  While there are many outlets for making content go viral, Pinterest is by far the best for any company that sells actual physical products.

As I like to do each week, I’ll break everything down to the basics and rebuild your strategy so you get a fundamental understanding of how viral marketing works and how you can apply that understanding to your Pinterest marketing campaign.

Why should you choose viral marketing?

How to do viral marketing

Viral marketing has the potential to be the most beneficial marketing form that your business can invest its time in, yet it can be the most difficult to master.  To say something has gone viral generally means that a piece of your content has been well received and widely shared online.  For many marketers having their unique ideas and content go viral is the ultimate goal.  Truth is, the majority of content created on the internet will never be noticed, which is not a bad thing considering that the majority of such content is poorly put together and just clutters the pages of Google search results.  No one, not even the little old lady who is new to the internet, likes that.  Having your content go viral is the internet’s way of telling you that you have high-quality content that everyone is enjoying and wants to see.  It will not only increase traffic to your website, but increase your bottom line.

Understanding Viral Content

Understanding some of the key principles of what makes content go viral will enable you to do as much as you can to get your great content the attention it deserves.

Viral marketing means extracting value from your marketing plan that goes beyond the initial cost.  By zeroing in on the power of social networks, marketers find far more value than cost due to the fact that the cost of the content stays the same while the value grows exponentially based on how many users view your viral content.

Allow me to bore you for a few minutes.  I promise it will be worth it!  Let’s talk about Metcalf’s Law.  Metcalf’s Law is a way to calculate the value of a network.  It simply says that the value of each potential sharer is proportional to the number of other individuals the user can connect to.  For marketers, Metcalf’s Law is why the internet and social networking sites provide the greatest opportunity for marketers to create fantastic value and ROI through viral marketing.  The more connections and outlets from which people can directly share information correlates to how quickly and widely that content will be shared.

We obviously understand that not everything can go viral.  Pictures of little kittens are more likely to go viral than an infographic on how paint dries.  Viral content relies heavily on two factors:

  1. Is the content worthy of being shared over and over?  Is it something that will be so well received that two months down the road people will still be sharing it?
  2. Is the content being shared widely enough to reap the benefits of the social networks over which it appears?

Four Types of Viral Content

  1. Vlogs and podcasts
  2. Interactive content which includes games and quizzes
  3. Infographics– a great way to visually present information
  4. Blog post and articles

Reasons People Share Your Content:

viral marketing help

Your Content Makes People Laugh

Everyone needs a good laugh.  We all need a break from the hum-drum of the daily grind.  Make your content funny and people will be more inclined to share it.

Your Content is Emotional

Content that strikes an emotional nerve, whether good or bad, creates more of a desire for users to want to share.  They want to connect with others over the emotion they felt even if it is over the internet.

Your Content Makes the User Stop and Think

When something makes us stop and think we often want to share that with other people.

Your Content Makes People Happy

Everyone needs a reminder to stop and enjoy life.  Content that is light- hearted, fun, or silly will have a fantastic chance of being shared again and again.

Your Content is Edgy

Users can’t resist adding something a little risqué to our lives, but not so risqué that it is offensive and/or can’t be openly shared on social networking sites.

Your Content is Absolutely Incredible

Does your content makes peoples’ jaws drop?  People can not resist sharing this kind of content.

Your Content Agrees With the Users Political or World View

Everyone has an opinion these days and we like trying to convince our friends and family to think like us, so it’s only logical that we would share this type of content.

Your Content Has Things That Mainstream Media Doesn’t

According to a recent Pew survey, 75% of internet users get their news through direct email or social media posts.  This gives you a great opportunity to provide content that the mainstream media won’t cover.  This can ultimately draw a huge crowd.

Your Content is Dramatic

Facebook profiles are filled with drama.  Our culture loves it.  Certainly content with some drama is going to be shared by people.

A Few Tips for Your Viral Marketing

While great content is absolutely vital for a successful viral marketing campaign, the initial promotion is just as, if not more important.  Spend time developing a strong presence on social media networks, or develop a strong relationship with someone who does.  The more respected you are on social networking sites, the more people will trust that the content you post is of the highest quality.

Having a relation with the movers and shakers of the blogosphere and twittersphere can be extremely important.  Having a tweeter of authority tweet your content it will have a snowball effect, reaching thousands of people and eventually spilling over on to other sites on the internet.  By the same token, having a blogger of authority mention your content in a high traffic blog will give you another channel for success as you’re reaching directly into a community.

There are some other social networking sites that are worth mentioning.  These include Digg, Reddit, and Stumbleupon.  If your content goes viral on one of these sites it will get viewed by thousands of people on these networks alone.  In many cases this is more than enough to get your content to go viral because these sites are often the connectors to everything else on the internet.

The last little secret I have for you is to enable and encourage sharing.  Include clearly visible social sharing buttons on your content.  Have embed codes for images, calls to action prompting people to share your content, and incentives for sharing.

 

PIN ALL THE THINGS!

This brings us back to Pinterest. What is Pinterest? Let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, or at least the horse’s website:  “Pintrest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.  Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” It’s the single best way for a marketer to share their content and have the best chance of having it go viral.

How can your business use Pinterest?

There are multiple ways your business can use Pinterest.  It will allow you to get real-time feedback on new products that you are launching.  It’s also a fantastic way to generate buzz.  Big corporations that have multiple lines of product are also finding ways to educate and connect with consumers.  You can use Pinterest for special offers, Pinterest-specific coupons, or conceptualize a contest or challenge.  It will allow you to express your brand’s or product’s uses and personalities.  I would personally recommend embedding a “Follow Us On Pinterest” button or a “Pin This” button on your website.  Doing so seriously ups your chances of your content going viral.

Pinterest wasn’t created for businesses, but it’s been widely accepted by both users and businesses.  It will also allow you to get creative with how you set up your Pinterest profile.

What are the benefits of Pinterest?

There are three main benefits:

1.Driving Traffic

It’s of the utmost importance that your business gets as much traffic as it can via the internet.  When you post a pin, encourage users to not just like or re-pin your content, but to visit your site.  You can actually embed a link into the pin you are posting so when a user clicks on the pin it automatically sends them to your website.  This can directly translate into sales for your business.  Make sure your pin has an incentive for users to actually click through to your site.  Pinners are an interesting breed of web users.  They will re-pin, but they also love seeing the source for the original information.

how can I make my content go viral

2.Building Your Brand

Using Pinterest will help your existing and new customers get to know what your brand is and what you represent on a more personal level, even more than Facebook can.  It also gives you the opportunity to let your customers view a side of your business that they would perhaps not have seen otherwise.  Focus on the lifestyle of your brand

3.Allows You to Advertise Services and Products

Pinterest is a great way to promote your products and services, but never take it overboard.  Over-promotion can and will turn Pinners off to anything you have to say.  Let’s say you own a catering company.  Create a board that has a few of your products, and then create boards that spread ideas about catering.  These could include recipes, wedding ideas, and food ideas.  The whole idea is to not shoot yourself in the foot by becoming the company that advertises too much.  A quick look at Southwest Airlines will give you an idea of how to accomplish this.

How to make my stuff go viral

One of the best ways to learn about Pinterest is to just dive in and look around.  Look at how competitors are using the social networking site.  It may or may not benefit your social media strategy, but I hope I have given you the tools to make an educated decision about Pinterest and how to start your own viral marketing campaign.

As the fight to get noticed on the internet intensifies, the content we get to see and create will be hilarious and mind blowing. In the words of Michael Scott, “Better buckle up.  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!”

Good luck with all your viral marketing efforts and above all, have some fun with it!

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