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Viral marketing strategy and its business implementation

Viral marketing strategy and its business implementation

Your creativity is not limited by the client's budget. Why not try to create something truly memorable and go viral?

5 min read
Oct 5, 2022

Increasing brand awareness is the number one priority among the top social media goals, and a viral marketing strategy can be an effective way to achieve it.

This strategy helps marketers gain more traffic quickly and spread their message faster than traditional marketing or paid advertising.

Lorene Suzan Mather is a content editor at PRable, a full-service digital and content agency. And in this article, she will explain the definition of viral marketing and how it can benefit your business.

She’ll also share five viral marketing techniques and examples from established companies.

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What Is viral marketing?

Viral marketing is a method that involves word-of-mouth marketing and relies on the audience to generate buzz.

It works best when the content is shareable and encourages audience participation.

As this type of marketing shifts most of the work to the audience, viral campaigns help increase engagement and reduce marketing costs compared to paid ad initiatives.

Successful viral campaigns can also offer greater visibility as trending content often gets featured on social platforms.

Some channels to perform this type of marketing campaign are video-sharing sites, social media networks, and even blogs.

Feel free to check this tutorial page if you want to start a viral campaign on a blog and produce shareable content.

Viral marketing strategies and implementations

Now, let’s cover five ways to launch viral marketing campaigns to help you get started.

Make an Emotional Appeal

Emotional advertising tends to be memorable, leading to more social shares and possibly increasing sales. In fact, 70% of people watching an advertisement with intense emotions are more likely to buy the product.

Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches is among the most viral marketing campaigns using this practice. This viral content captured a social experiment where women share what they think they look like to a sketch artist who can't see them, while also describing other women’s physical traits.

This video spreads the message that people are more beautiful than they think. It resonates with Dove’s target audience, who may struggle with insecurities.

To apply this viral marketing technique, conduct market research to find your audience’s pain points and personal goals. Then, tell a relatable story and tap into a specific emotion, like happiness, anger, sadness, or fear.

Offer a valuable product for free

The word “free” is a powerful, irresistible trigger. It can be in the form of Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO) deals, free trials or samples, or giveaways. Consumers like free items because they decrease the risk of dissatisfaction and eliminate value for money.

Girlfriend Collective had a successful viral marketing campaign involving this strategy. During its first launch, the brand gave away sustainable leggings to people who shared its social media post – all they had to pay for was the shipping fee. It was a successful launch resulting in 10,000 orders after they published the website.

A key takeaway from this example is that the free product’s quality should be able to make a positive first impression to positively impact sales. Then, maintain consistent quality and improve the product or service according to the feedback to retain customers.

Consider trendjacking

Trendjacking means basing your content and social media marketing strategies on current trends. It can be from a popular meme, event, or hashtag.

One of the most successful viral marketing campaigns for this category comes from Wendy’s. It jumped on the "she’s/he’s a 10” meme to jab at its competitor, McDonald’s. This brand is known for roasting its competitors and customers, so trendjacking this meme is relevant to its marketing image.

Wendy's "she’s/he’s a 10” meme campaign
Image source

Before trendjacking, ensure the trending content aligns with your brand image. It’s also important to avoid too serious or sensitive topics, such as politics. Also, be timely as social media trends quickly come in and out of style.

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Create a Branded Hashtag Challenge

A branded hashtag challenge is a social media marketing strategy where a brand invites people to film themselves performing a specific action, like dancing, and tag the brand using a hashtag.

This can drive engagement and build a broader audience base.

Look at Pepsi’s #pepsicanbalance campaign as a reference. This viral campaign challenged people to arrange Pepsi cans and make TikTok videos of it.

To make the challenge appeal to a large audience, think of a fun, achievable action and use trending filters when possible. We recommend creating a simple yet catchy hashtag to help it go viral. You can also offer prizes to encourage people to join, but this is optional.

It’s also a good idea to collaborate with influencers or celebrities to expand your reach. For example, Pepsi featured Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah on their official account for the #pepsicanbalance campaign and asked their fans to join the challenge.

Personalize Your Brand Experience

Personalized marketing uses customer data to deliver unique messages or product offerings to individual customers. Over 85% of consumers agree that personalization influences their purchase decisions. It also can help foster brand loyalty and increase revenue.

Spotify’s Wrapped campaign is an excellent example of this strategy. It gives users an in-depth look at their year or month in music, such as their most-streamed artists and songs. The brand also makes the content shareable by providing a Share this story button.

Image source

Delivering an experience based on consumer behavior doesn’t have to involve complex or sensitive data. Encourage customers to share their experience with your brand by giving them a simple thank you gesture or offering a personalized product.


Viral marketing is a method where brands encourage customers to share their content to enhance the visibility of their products or services. It aims to spread the marketing message organically and rapidly.

Five ways to implement viral marketing for your business are:

  1. Creating emotional content.
  2. Offering free products or services.
  3. Joining trends on social media sites.
  4. Encouraging customers to take action through a branded hashtag challenge.
  5. Delivering a personalized experience.

We hope these tips and examples will help you create your own viral campaigns and increase brand awareness rapidly. Good luck!

Key Insights

  • Increasing brand awareness is the primary focus among social media goals, and viral marketing is an effective strategy to achieve this goal.
  • Viral marketing relies on word-of-mouth marketing and audience participation. It works best when content is shareable and encourages engagement.
  • Viral campaigns shift work to the audience, reducing marketing costs compared to paid advertising initiatives.
  • The five ways to implement viral marketing include creating emotional content, offering free products, joining social media trends, using branded hashtag challenges, and delivering personalized experiences.

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