With the evolution of internet and social media, came one of the most powerful tools of marketing, Viral Marketing. The top position in the viral marketing done right list should undoubtedly go to the marketers of the Fidget spinner. The Fidget spinner is a trend that has taken the internet by storm. The origin of this obsession is unknown, but man, the craze for the spinner unfurled like a plague. It spread across the planet within days. You know things are heating up when you see these unremarkable things flying off the shelf in your local convenience store. Now, that’s the reach of viral marketing. One of the basic psychological traits of a consumer behavior can be explained with a quote of Christopher Poindexter.
“Sometimes, when chaos burns like wildfire around us: we have no choice but to fall in love with the warmth” – Christopher Poindexter
Whether you are yet to experience this fad in full or you are one among those unable to get rid of the newly found obsession, fidget spinners offer a great case study on how things go viral and how brands can explore viral marketing to reach more people. To understand viral marketing, let’s first analyze how and why the lamest and the most unremarkable things are going viral these days. After the advent of the social media, the news cycle has drastically come down. News cycle is the time between the breaking of a story, covering or broadcasting it on a media channel and the story going stale. Long before the Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, we had the 24-hour news cycles. Things are not the same now. The pace of news cycle has accelerated. In this digital world, we are no longer passive consumers of the media, but active participants in it. A Tweet or a YouTube video can go viral within seconds, while it would take hours for something to go viral on the traditional media.
The Fidget spinner was an invention of the early 90’s but it became a sensation only in 2017. The only reasonable explanation to this is, the evolution of social media. How does something go viral on social media? A person is exposed to an idea. This idea provokes a reaction in the person. By reacting to it, he unknowingly (knowingly in case of marketers) spreads the idea. Now, more people are exposed to the idea. They all react to the new idea and help it spread to others. This process repeats itself. It’s like a nuclear fission reaction. It’s easy to see how this growth can happen exponentially.
An important point to be noted here is that the idea won’t continue to spread from person to person unless it’s able to entice a reaction from people.
How can a marketer use Viral Marketing to advertise his product?
Timing is everything when it comes to starting a viral trend or seizing an existing one.
One of the basic prerequisites of viral marketing is to have creative and catchy content. Your content should be unusual and should come out at a completely unexpected time. Do not advertise your product as the best or the coolest product in the market. Every average marketer does that.
Remember the Yatra.com advertisement, which was launched during the JNU azadi protests and went viral in no time? The marketers made right use of the wave existing on the social media at that time. Similarly, many toy makers around the globe, made use of the Fidget spinner wave and now are richer by millions .
Another important thing is, make sequels. A fine example to this would be the Men will be men series of advertisements by Imperial blue. It had such a wide reach that many of their advertisements have more than a million views on YouTube! In case of the Fidget spinner, companies were quick to advertise new variants of the spinner from Led versions to spinners that had built-in speakers, just to keep the trend alive.
The final and most important step is promote sharing and never restrict access to your campaign. Viral marketing is all about the inclusiveness. There’s nothing wrong is promoting your ads initially, by sponsoring them on social media. Just like a wild fire, every viral trend will slow down and will go stale eventually. Not every piece of content you create will go viral. In fact, most content doesn’t. But by taking these tips into consideration and borrowing some ideas from the past viral trends, you can strategize your marketing plans and have a much better chance of going viral.