Going Viral – A Tip on Getting People to Share

Tue, Oct 19, 2010

Marketing, Social Media

Going Viral – A Tip on Getting People to Share

“How do I make ___ go viral?” It’s a common question out there in the land of marketing.

Let me first tell you that NO ONE has the answer 100% figured out and if they tell you they do, run away because they are lying to you. Sure, there are fundamentals that work across the board but different things go viral for different reasons that are very hard to replicate.

Oh, and if you don’t know what “Going Viral” means… it’s simply when a product, idea or promotion kind of takes on a life of its own with people sharing it, forwarding it, telling friends about it, etc but doing so in a narrowed window of time that creates a tipping point of exponential exposure. It’s the power of word of mouth.

It’s when 2 people share with 4 people who share with 8 people who then share and reach 200 people. Started with 2, went viral to 200 (or 2 million, etc). Youtube is a great example of this in effect every day.

So how do you do it? How do you get people to share so your ____ can go viral? Well, one way that will help is simply to ask and offer an incentive as a reward. First and foremost you have to have something worth sharing… something that solves a need, entertains or otherwise has value. Assuming you have that, next you make the ask. You equip people with the right tools to share (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn links… email a friend, etc) but consider taking it even further.

Here’s a practical example:

I’m putting on The Leadership and Influence Summit with around 30 leading authorities sharing 6-20 minute video message on maximizing leadership and influence effectiveness. We have a site up at www.LeadershipAndInfluenceSummit.com for people to register (for free). So the value is there in that it’s a free online event offering access to 30 thought leaders.

But here’s where the viral part comes in. Once someone signs up they get an automatic email reply with a note not only thanking them for registering BUT also encouraging them to share the event info with friends, colleagues, etc. Standard stuff right?

I didn’t stop with the “encouragement” to share though, I added in an incentive to reward the response to the ask. The email tells people that IF they share the event link and let us know that we’ll enter them into a drawing for a Free Leadership Resource Kit complete with a few books and downloads from select speakers.

That one extra incentive has been like gold. I’m getting tons of emails in from people saying they’ve forwarded the link to dozens within their organizations, posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. It’s in part why the event drew in over 1000 registrations just yesterday alone (in one day) and is pacing to do the same today.

But for you… the incentive doesn’t have to just be a giveaway or some free add-on… it can be a story, a vision or a compelling reason why sharing will make a difference. Get creative but above all, get them to engage.

The takeaway here is this. If you want to go viral, have something worth sharing, make the ask of people but consider adding a little extra incentive to reward their efforts. People like stuff and even though they may be willing to promote your ___ just because, a little extra nudge can be the difference between them thinking about it and actually taking the initiative to do it.

BTW… you can also win one of the free Leadership Resource Kits that I mentioned above. Just go to www.LeadershipAndInfluenceSummit.com, register and then follow the instructions in the email you’ll receive.

See how this works? : )

Have you had any experience with going viral? Any tips, issues, questions, advice? Share and ask away.


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    About Daniel Decker:

    Daniel Decker is President of Higher Level Group, Inc., a strategic marketing and development firm that helps authors, professional speakers, and organizations who are doing good to expand their influence. LINKS: Follow @DanielDecker on Twitter | Visit the "About" Page | Subscribe to the Blog and get updates via RSS or Email.

    Contact Daniel