If you are a speaker, brand manager, politician, author, musician or artist, you are facing enormous hurdles in today’s marketing marketplace. Even if you are signed by a record label or publishing house, this is no time to rest on your previous accomplishments. But the good news is that I’m here to tell you that while you were watching, a few people created social media and it is increasingly becoming an effective marketing tool that is accessible to everyone.
This blog will layout a social media framework to help you build your brand and your tribe. I am not going to zero in on the typical tools such as Facebook, blogging, and Twitter.
The power of social marketing comes when you find a way to get your fan base to do your marketing for you, spreading your idea across the world like the best thing since slice bread. If you can make this happen, if you can get your idea to spread, it’s simple: You Win!
Real quick I want to discuss ways to create a viral marketing campaign using social media.
Viral marketing needs four things to work efficiently and properly:
- An offer (preferably free) that has value
- An easy way to distribute the offer
- An incentive to get tribe members to pass the offer along to their friends
- An economic model
To elaborate on each of these.
- An offer (preferably free) that has value. When thinking about viral campaigns, many people think of humorous videos. Humorous videos do have value, but I would encourage you to consider something different. There are just too many companies trying to do humorous videos and it is hard to stand out. Rather, come up with an offer that has more legitimate value. For example, offer free services or sample products. Also offered free downloads of worksheets and eBooks. The key is that whatever you offer has to have real value, and it probably needs to be free. People will not jeopardize their relationships by promoting an offer that has no value, and they will usually not promote offers that are not free (unless the brand is already very strong). Think hard about an offer you can make available that is inexpensive but has great perceived value to others. Be creative; there are numerous possibilities, particularly if you create digital media.
- An easy way to distribute the offer. You must provide an easy way for people to get your offer, and ideally, it should be delivered automatically without requiring your involvement. For many of us, our offers can be distributed digitally on our websites. If you can host your offer on your own website, that is the best scenario. If you cannot, there are other websites that allow you to do these kinds of campaigns.
- An incentive to get consumers to pass the offer along to their friends. It is critical that your consumers are “paid” to pass along your offer. Sometimes, their payment can be as simple as the thanks they get from their friends when they pass along funny videos. But, I would not count on that being enough. Try to find a way to offer something extra to people who will post your offer in places like their Facebook status or on their blogs. These are the people who are critical to your viral marketing success.
- A way to make the campaign profitable. Viral marketing is primarily about brand-building. But it is also a great way to sell other products, build a fan base, obtain concerts and speaking engagements, and much more. Don’t make your offer something that you can’t afford to give away. Also, set goals for what you hope to obtain from your campaign.
Execution is key to this type of marketing. Plan and test carefully before you launch. When you start something virally, there is no way to stop it and no way to fix mistakes. When you are ready to launch a campaign, you simply have to send out a short email to your tribe email list. After that, if it is going to work, you don’t have to lift a finger.