Viral marketing is an online marketing strategy that involves the creation of engaging and entertaining content with the intention of having it widely shared across the Internet. For example, a company might post a funny video on its YouTube page, which is then shared by viewers through email, blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
Viral marketing can have several different objectives, from boosting brand awareness to increasing sales. It can also take many forms: Videos, images, memes (a phrase or image, often humorous, that is frequently copied and spread on social media), eBooks, articles, lists and more.
One of the challenges of viral marketing is that marketers can’t entirely control what content goes viral and what doesn’t. To be successful, viral marketing campaigns need to employ the right social media channels to reach and be shared by the largest number of users. Appealing to individuals with high numbers of followers on social media can also be effective.
When properly executed, viral marketing can be very cost-effective as the content is distributed by the audience rather than the creator. A popular YouTube video, for example, can receive thousands or millions of views, connecting with a huge audience that would cost a considerable amount of money to reach through a more traditional medium like television.