How to Create a Viral Social Media Marketing Campaign

Mark Xavier Quadros

Mark Quadros is a SaaS content marketer who helps brands create and distribute rad content. On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Foundr, etc.

Social media marketing has blown up in the last decade. With over 3.7 billion social media users, there is potential to reach a considerable amount of people with this form of marketing.

However, with so many people actively using social media, getting noticed can be challenging. 

That is why going viral can make or break a social media marketing campaign. 

When the content you created is getting a mad amount of attention, sales and brand awareness increase as well.

What Is a Viral Marketing Campaign

Content that goes viral has been accepted very well by the community and is shared millions of times. The shared content ‘spreads like wildfire’ and grabs a lot of attention.

It’s like a fun ad that one person sees, likes, and shares with a friend. The ad gets forwarded from one person to the next until it seems the whole social media world is talking about it.

A viral marketing campaign is created with the aim of spreading quickly, and a lot of planning goes into such a campaign.

It’s such a popular approach that it is often so difficult to really pull off that many companies have various campaigns planned. Typically, these campaigns are tracked with quality project management software to avoid confusion.

That’s not to say that you should plan several campaigns at one time — it’s just how bigger companies try to get better results.

Steps to Create a Viral Marketing Campaign

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to viral marketing, but there are standard steps that will lay a solid foundation.

The steps discussed here will guide you in the right direction and help you build a campaign with a good chance of going viral.

1. Know Your Target Audience

It is impossible to craft a campaign without knowing your target audience. How will you know what kind of content will resonate with them? 

To really speak to your audience and get them to talk about your campaign, you need to put in the work and get to know them.

It is recommended that you create at least one marketing persona for your marketing team to work with. This persona should represent all the important information relating to your audiences, such as demographics and social media behavior.

Get the data you need for your persona by talking to potential and current customers. Try to learn more about what matters to them and what problems they face relating to your industry.

Use interviews and surveys and get to know your audience inside and out. 

Then, use that information to build a campaign that truly resonates with them and spurs them into action: sharing your content until it becomes viral.

2. Choose the Right Social Media Platform

Every platform is different, and the kind of content that would perform well on one might completely fail on another.

It’s a good idea to choose one platform and work at getting your content perfectly crafted for it. 

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are typically great platforms for viral marketing campaigns. Still, the content you create will vary between them.

Keep your target audience in mind when choosing your platform; they may not be active on all of the most popular options. 

For example, according to recent social media statistics, Millennials and Gen Z tend to favor Facebook and Instagram. If that’s where your audience is, those are your best bets.

If you think you don’t have enough followers on your ideal platform, consider inviting your email list followers to check out your brand on social media.

Integrating email marketing with other marketing strategies is a great way to engage with your audience and improve relationships. 

3. Create Engaging Content For Optimum Reach

Viral campaigns are all different and unique, but they have one fundamental thing in common: engagement.

Engaging content has a much higher chance of hitting your audience on an emotional level.

It’s not always easy to create engaging content, but it’s not impossible, or something that only big brands can do.

Social media giveaways are a great example of engaging content. You are giving your audience something that will pull them in and get them personally involved. 

For this purpose, put on your thinking cap and think of as many giveaway ideas as you can. They might not all be feasible, but you’ll have something to build on.

Engaging Content Ideas: Giveaway on Instagram
Source: Instagram

Hashtags are also a good way to add value to your content as well as boost visibility. Just be sure to use the most relevant hashtags that make sense in the context of your content. Simply adding random, trending hashtags won’t have the desired effects.

Pro Tip. Knowing the platform you’re using very well will increase your success. For example, Twitter and Facebook use meta tags, and knowing what these tags are is important for marketers.

4. Use Advertising to Boost Your Visibility

Although organic reach is deemed the best way to get your content noticed, using paid advertising is effective too.

Facebook, in particular, is a popular platform for social media advertising, and Facebook Ads aren’t too tricky to manage. 

You should consider creating ads focused on a specific group of users, preferably with some influence. If they share your ad, it will reach more people, and you’ll enjoy better results.

Advertising on social media is usually affordable and easy, and an excellent way to supplement your campaign. Even if your budget is limited, you should be able to use some form of advertising to boost visibility.

5. Partner with Social Media Influencers

Influencer marketing is a popular strategy, and for good reason. Brands and businesses that work with influencers make more than $5 for every $1 spent on this marketing tactic. 

That’s an impressive return on investment that shows the efficiency of influencer marketing strategies. 

Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand? Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 23M+ account database.

Partnering with influencers is amazing for improving brand reach and even gaining social proof. Their followers tend to be very loyal and trust them and their recommendations.

A viral marketing campaign that doesn’t include collaborating with an influencer is missing out on a great opportunity.

Working with influencers can involve many different things. You can opt for endorsements and product mentions or even account takeovers. The strategy you choose will depend on the influencer and your marketing approach.

Social Media Strategies: Partnering with Influencers
Source: Instagram

You don’t even have to spend a lot of money on influencers. Many brands prefer to pay their partners in discounts or free products, and that’s acceptable for most of them.

It might seem like you need to work only with influencers with millions of followers, but that’s not necessarily the case. Micro-influencers tend to have better engagement than their mega counterparts.

As long as the influencer you want to work with has a solid and engaging followership, a partnership with them should be highly beneficial.

6. Measure Your Campaign Performance

Of course, all the hard work you put into your viral campaign will be wasted if you don’t keep track of how it’s performing.

It’s very important that you measure your campaign’s performance so that you’ll learn from the experience. You should also make these metrics platform-specific. For example, if you’re launching a campaign on Instagram, focus on top Instagram metrics you can measure.

That way, you can build more successful campaigns in the future or use the knowledge gained on any other campaigns you’re currently building or running.

It’s highly unlikely that your first campaign will go viral or even your second or third one. This kind of marketing may take a few tries to get right. 

As long as you continue to learn from your campaigns and get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t, no campaign is a waste of time or effort.

Viral Campaigns to Inspire You

Now that you know what viral social media campaigns are and how they’re created let’s check out some stellar examples. These campaigns really took the world by storm, and they’re pretty inspiring.

1. British Red Cross

TikTok is very popular with youngsters and the social media marketing team at British Red Cross decided to focus on that. They created a campaign that introduces first aid to school students. 

It was their starting point, and the team was able to test out various types of content from that initial idea.

Although it took some experimentation to get the right kind of content that really resonated with users, British Red Cross was consistent and got there in the end.

The team was able to show how relevant the charity and its work are and showed of the society’s personality as well.

By keeping their target audience in mind and focusing on creating fresh content, British Red Cross was able to grow their TikTok following very effectively.

In just six months, British Red Cross had more than 380,000 followers on TikTok that saw value in the brand and the content it was sharing.

Working with educational institutions, professional experts, and public figures also helped create impressive content that TikTok users could enjoy and learn from.

The account is also a lot of fun, which is important on a platform like this. Adding a bit of fun to content will make it a lot more popular and shareable.

Viral Social Media Campaigns: British Red Cross
Source: TikTok

2. Ryanair

There are many trends on a platform as popular as TikTok, and turning them into viral content takes precise planning. It also requires quick thinking, which is exactly what Ryanair seems to be good at.

The airline’s account hasn’t been around very long but already has over 700,000 followers. Since May 2020, Ryanair has been sharing content that appeals to users of the platform, and it is reflected by how popular the account is.

Ryanair even has a branded hashtag, #ryanair, which has accumulated more than 90 million views.

So, just how did Ryanair manage to become so popular?

By using trends and creating relevant content around them. For example, the account takes a song that is being used a lot and creates a video featuring the song, using it to promote the airline.

Because the team managing the account is creative and quick-thinking, the content is relevant and fun. Ryanair has managed to make something as ‘boring’ as an airline interesting and even funny.

Paying attention to the latest trends can help a brand create viral content that will be enjoyed by TikTok users. It’s a great way to attract attention and grow a loyal following.

Viral Social Media Campaigns: Ryanair
Source: TikTok

3. Gushers

Gushers’ TikTok account has proven that it’s not only influencers and big brands that can be successful on the platform.

They create funny content that is so good that users share it, which drives brand reach and visibility.

Although some of their content might be more on the weird side, that actually works in their favor. On TikTok, weird can be good, if it’s done well.

Their posts often get up to 5 million views, sometimes more, because the content is something that followers can enjoy and share. It also shows off the brand’s products, which is ideal from a marketing perspective.

Gushers also make use of trending formats and memes when creating new content. This keeps the posts relevant and popular and is what makes the account so successful.

Viral Social Media Campaigns: Gushers
Source: TikTok

Over To You — Create Your Own Viral Campaign

You’ve been shown a few viral social media marketing campaigns with reasons why it performed so well. You’ve also learned how to build a viral campaign of your own. 

Now, the ball is in your court. 

It’s time to make a viral campaign that will blow your competition away and drive sales through the roof!

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