It can be a very delicate dance trying to manufacture “viral” marketing. Kaplan and Haenlein’s 2011 article explores the intricate relationship between social media and viral marketing. The “social media/viral marketing waltz” is described through six concepts executives and marketers can utilize to achieve success. The following is a summary of the article.
1. Viral marketing through social media works quickly
- “Viral marketing allows firms to promote their products and services with very low budgets and still reach the same levels of awareness that are usually only achievable with high-frequency TV advertising (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2011).
2. Word of mouth influences behavior
- Digital word-of-mouth spreads quicker than tradition WOM and is more easily measured through data analytics and netnogarphy (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2011).
3. The messengers, the message and environment all align
- The right people, need to spread the right message in the right place (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2011).
4. Viral marketing campaigns represent an exchange between consumers and a firm (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2011):
- Such interactions between customers and brands can be positive or negative, and usually take the form of one of four outcomes:
- Stroke of luck
- Homemade issues
- Triumphs (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2011)
5. Follow the basic marketing rules:
- marketing mix is important, sell good products with appropriate pricing and quantities to keep up with demand;
- support exciting viral media with traditional marketing forms for longevity, like television ads, radio spots and press releases;
- let the campaign ride and don’t intercede;
- check for appropriateness, don’t be too edgy/provocative and cross the line;
- know that everything doesn’t always work; and
- concentrate on getting the right message to the right people, as the “small world” theory rings true (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2011).
Viral marketing isn’t easy, but it has many benefits if done correctly. Following these steps can ease the pain of difficulty and bring a firm closer to its desired success. Might you have the next viral video or viral challenge idea? Give it a try and find out!
American Psychological Association. (2019). Bulleted lists. American Psychological Association. Retrieved November 5, 2021, from https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/lists/bulleted.
Kaplan, A. M., and Haenlein, M. (2011). Two hearts in three-quarter time: How to waltz the Social Media/viral marketing dance. Business Horizons, 54(3), 253–263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2011.01.006