Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Building Viral Social Media Campaigns

Every day social media marketing stories are launched and published on various social networks but the most successful campaigns are the one's that "go viral" and repeatedly get shared by your followers with their friends and followers. And that begs the question; "Is there a way to influence the outcome and get your post shared again and again"? The short answer is YES but not many businesses focus on this aspect. It's called social media influence marketing.

You can read a definition of influencer marketing on Wikipedia but for the purposes of social media marketing, it's about understanding who has the greatest influence within your networks, building a relationship with them over time and seeking their assistance in the formulation and dissemination of your campaign posts. And if you get the relationship right (online and also offline) you may be able to turn these key influencers into your greatest brand ambassadors.

There are websites that attempt to help you understand your level of influence and those of your social media networks but many marketing people don't like being "ranked" or scored down to a single number. I don't think it's something to be afraid of - to me it's just a tool within the marketing arsenal. 

The current top two influence marketing scoring systems being used today are Klout which measures your network and personal influence and Kred which also measures and scores the success of your influence within vertical marketplaces based on the campaigns that you produce. Once we understand who has the greatest influence, we can ask them for assistance in sharing the campaign posts - thus avoiding paying for placement ads on the social network to promote your story.

It's the obvious cost benefit that drives a good marketing person towards influence marketing activity - because sometimes, a zero-cost (organic) approach to your marketing effort is what is required. I've been using both scoring systems for about two years now and I'm personally ranked in the top 10% of all influencers online. Scores rise and fall as your campaign intensity rises and falls.

I recently conducted an organic social media marketing campaign for a client. Trent Ellis was desperate to appear on the Ellen DeGeneres TV Show when it comes to Australia and they had a competition to find an underwear model - asking people to send in photos of themselves in their underwear. It was called the #EllenUndies campaign.

After building the photo (content) and posting it on the Ellen website and Facebook page, as well as on my own social networking pages, twelve major influencers within my network were asked if they might be able to share the image with their networks, to help the photo go viral. Within 48 hours, and after spending not one cent, the photo had been shared a total of 65 times, with an audience reach of well over 75,000 and thousands of stories being created. It even got picked up by digital media outlets.

We're yet to see if the #Trent4Ellen campaign is yet to result in a positive outcome for Trent but for a campaign that didn't spend any money to promote it, everyone is very happy at the outcomes already achieved. 

If you're looking for some assistance in your next social media marketing campaign, contact +Markham Lane  via Google+ or else call him directly on +61414446660 - he's located in Sydney, Australia.