How to get your campaign to go viral

Posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018 by

Getting a campaign to go viral is often referred to as the ‘holy grail’ of digital and social marketing. It takes timing, skill and a bit of luck to create highly sharable content that gets people talking.

If you want to make the next big thing, check out our top tips and picks for the best campaigns that hit that sweet spot.

1. Create unique content that stands out

Avoid doing what people have seen before, both from you or someone else.

Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128k (Red Bull)
Live-streamed on YouTube, this momentous event gained over 9.5 million viewers. Although this isn’t a traditional advert, this campaign reinforced Red Bull’s brand identity –adventurous, fun and thrill-seeking.

2. Be brave

Sometimes you need to step out if your comfort zone and be provocative. But you should be true to your values – don’t do something that damages your reputation for short-term fame.

Campaign for Real Beauty (Dove)
For over 10 years, Dove’s campaign has asked people to reassess their perception of female beauty, sparking conversations on talk shows, in magazines and between people all over the world.

3. Be focused

Target an audience and build your campaign around their motivations. Think about investing in paid social and influencer campaigns.

The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (Old Spice)
After the success of their unforgettable TV campaign, Old Spice launched their response campaign where the Old Spice character interacted with fans via Twitter.

4. Invest in the presentation

Whether you’re using video, animation or motion graphics, your campaign need remain focused. Be sure to include subtitles for when the sound is off.

Dumb Ways to Die (Metro Trains Melbourne)
Australia’s most talked about campaign combines the serious message of railway safety with an entertaining animation to create an unstoppable viral hit. The agency even later released a karaoke version and mobile game to extend audience interactivity and shareability.

5. Encourage audience generated content

Create a hashtag for fan contributions to extend your campaign’s digital engagement.

#ALSIceBucketChallenge (multiple ALS organisations)
Summer 2014 was dominated by all your Facebook friends sharing videos of their ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. With its simple message and clear goal, the most important aspect of the challenge was to nominate three more people, creating a chain reaction that spread around the world with participation from big names such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah and Lady Gaga.

6. Make it visible

Think about where its hosted and how the journey progresses. Does it need a website? Does it need influencer support?

ASOS Insiders (ASOS)
Following from their successful ASOS Magazine, the online retail giant uses next-level marketing through popular social media influencers called ‘Insiders’. Each Insider promotes ASOS clothes, accessories and/or beauty products, providing product codes and direct links to the online store.

Going viral generates a huge amount of engagement, but has some downsides that you need to think about:

  • You’ve created something that you can no longer control.
  • The people engaging with it may not be the audience you intended.
  • Do you have the capacity to handle the enquiries, comments and publicity?

We’re experts in building ideas that people can connect to. Talk to us today about how we can help take your next campaign to a new level.