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Viral Marketing: Main elements and strategies

It is increasingly common to hear about viral marketingThe company's products, as well as elements and viral videos on the Internet that are shared all the time on digital platforms, reach millions of people and create a collective awareness among users.
All these Marketing and Advertising techniques and strategies receive their name due to the great capacity of diffusion that the created contents and messages have. They spread uncontrollably, like a virus, from user to user and very quickly.
Its main objective is to reach as many people as possible in a short period of time. To this end, they try to exploit social networks and other digital platforms, thus trying to achieve brand recognition.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Viral Marketing

It is important to know the benefits and drawbacks of this discipline.


  • Low cost: It is a content that is shared by itself, so users do the work of the MKT campaign.
  • Massive reach: The message is able to reach a large audience in a matter of minutes.
  • Non-invasive: It is a type of content that people decide whether to interact with or not.
  • Brand recognition: It will favor the increase of ROI, but above all it will emphasize brand recognition and reputation.


  • The message can be misinterpreted if it is not told in the right way.
  • Time consuming: the creation and development of a Viral MKT strategy is time consuming.

Key elements and points 

Within viral marketing we have four common and important elements in any strategy or campaign:

  • Viral Element: What makes the message spread?
  • Message: It must be clear and concise. In many occasions a catchy and easy to remember claim is used.
  • Media: Choosing the right media is as important as a good message. Twitter is a great example of viral media
  • Sneezer or "Heart of the virus": in Social Networks it is closely related to influencers.

In addition, all viral plannings follow some key points when developing the viral marketing strategy:

  • Finding the opportunityIf you find it, don't let it slip away. Two elements play an important role here: timing and crafting. Firstly, the use of the right resources at the right time and, secondly, the fact that any Internet user can get ahead of your planning and leave you without resources for your campaign.
  • Research the audience: sometimes what we think our audiences are looking for is something totally different from what they really want to see.
  • A good product: in addition to the fact that the product must be extraordinary, it is important to take into account that the presentation of the product must be optimal.
  • Follow-up: Mainly the results are usually reflected in the increase of visits to your website or increase in sales. However, other questions can be taken into account, such as: has the message spread through the relevant channels, how many times the content has been shared, etc.  All the information obtained will be of value to the brand and will help you to know the tastes and trends of the target audience and the market for future campaigns.

Social networks, main strategies and types of content

In this type of marketing strategies, Social Networks are of great importance. Through this type of channels our message will be shared in a much faster and more effective way. In addition, it allows us to know our audience to transmit the right message and reduce the cost.
Among the main strategies, the combination of Micro - videos and RRSS is that it generates a greater virality of the content. But this is not the only effective one, we can also find:

  • GamificationGames are elements that engage the audience and take the message to an interactive virality.
  • GiftsThe word FREE is something that works really well in this type of campaign. Giving away a product in exchange for social interactions is a very popular strategy in recent times. This is where the use of the Hashtag takes on great importance.
  • InteractionPerform actions, rather simple, that facilitate user interaction in social networks.
  • UncertaintyCreate uncertainty towards our product and expectations to users is another of the most viral strategies.

Subsequently, within these strategies we find different types of content to attract the user's attention and promote the virality of the campaign:

  • Pass it on: content that itself encourages sharing. Very common in messaging channels.
  • Incentivizedis linked to the gift-based strategy. Sharing is incentivized through some reward.
  • Undercover: the viral message is displayed as an activity or page without any clear reference.
  • Rumor: The dissemination of this type of content is characterized by controversy and its transmission through rumors.
  • Fan club effect: is the effect of social media and communities.

Some examples

Starbucks gives away a free coffee on Social Networks - Starbucks Cup Magic

The Starbucks coffee company proposed on Valentine's Day, through Twitter and Facebook, to give a coffee to a friend. This campaign, which was carried out in the U.S., was repeated at Christmas thanks to its great reception and results.

Cocacola - The Happiness Cashier

Cocacola installed an ATM where you could withdraw €100 without a card, only if you committed to share it. With their usual claim "Uncover happiness" they managed to bring the pleasure of sharing to millions of people.

Oreo - #WonderVault 

Oreo carried out this campaign to stimulate user interaction and participation on social media, in which Oreo consumers were asked to share original images of the cookies on Instagram.

Where does your success lie?

It is more than clear that not all content and not all campaigns have the ability to go viral, so what are the tips to achieve this?
First, the creativity The content is essential, it must be both eye-catching and of high quality in order to make an impact on the user and make him/her feel the need to share it. Secondly, we have the planningWe have to be very clear about the first actions, the dissemination platforms and the way in which we are going to promote interaction. Lastly, we come to the most abstract element, the good luckThe virality does not always go hand in hand with the most creative and planned campaigns.

With these first hints about Viral Marketing strategies, do you dare to give it a try?

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