Viral Marketing Initiatives

What exactly is viral marketing you ask??  “Viral marketing is a style of product promotion that relies on an audience to generate the message of a product or service to point where it rapidly breaches out to friends and family in a short period of time. If achieved, your specific message will be in nearly everyone’s social media feed.” (York, 2016)  These days, social media plays a major role in taking the old “word of mouth” to a whole new level.  Before Facebook and Twitter came along, you would usually express your like or dislike for a product or service to your friends and family and maybe they might share your sentiment with others, but it would pretty much end there. Fast forward to today and that has completely changed!  You can very easily share your sentiment through social media where it can be seen by hundreds or even thousands, depending on who sees it, re-tweets it or shares it, and in some cases it can make or break a campaign.

So what makes a marketing initiative go viral?  Personally, I think there are a number of factors that influence viral activity.

  1. Relatable to a large audience: You want to grab the attention of the intended recipients and hope that they feel a personal interest, which directly relates to them.  Then they feel the need to share it or like it with their group of friends.
  2. Generate emotion: Make the content something that reaches out to them to the point where they feel something about the content.
  3. Compelling: Provide something that someone can’t walk away from and that they just have to watch the video or click on the link to see what it’s all about.
  4. Make it easily shared: Everything that you post needs to be shareable.  You never know when you might hit that one topic, video or picture, good or bad, which makes people want to share it.
  5. Have a purpose: You don’t want to just post any old random thing; it needs to have a purpose.  What are you trying to get out of this campaign – brand awareness, increase sales or just getting potential customers more involved?

I think some of the greatest campaigns went viral and exceeded expectations from what was originally anticipated for response.  One of them would be the ad by Always to change the way girls think of themselves.


“Our original #LikeAGirl social experiment was the start of an epic battle. See how we changed the meaning of “like a girl” from an insult to the ultimate compliment it really is!” (Our, n.d.)  When the campaign was initially released in 2014, Always incorporated the hashtag #LikeAGirl, which got a little play on Twitter.  The campaign really took off once a portion of the video was aired during the “big football game” held in February 2015 and the video went viral across social media.  The hashtag was a great addition, as it continues to be used regularly even today. Using Facebook and YouTube allowed for massive sharing by women (and men) across their own social media platforms to aid in the success of this campaign.

Video from

As a results from this campaign; “According to P&G, 76% of women aged 16 to 24-years-old said that the #LikeAGirl video changed their perception of the phrase ‘like a girl’ and they no longer saw it as an insult. Meanwhile, two out of the three men said that the video had made them think twice about using ‘like a girl’ as an insult.” (News, 2015)


News & Views. (2015, May 21). Retrieved from

OUR EPIC BATTLE #LIKEAGIRL. (n.d.). Retrieved from

York, A. (2016, March 16). What Is Viral Marketing & Does It Actually Work? Retrieved from


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