If you have a garden, then you know it when you see a dandelion.Your garden will be full of them in no time … The flower has been given a brilliant viral principle. Small seeds are easily spread by the wind or an enthusiastic child. About a successful viral talk … Every nonprofit dreams of it, a successful viral campaign that spreads like a virus from social media over the internet and that ignites the whole world.
But how do you do it? What is behind a viral campaign, video, photo or message? What works and what doesn’t? In this blog we give you 10 tips for creating a viral campaign, we discuss preserving and activating your audience and we give you three great examples of viral campaigns from non-profits.
What is the secret of a viral campaign?
Let’s start with a buyer: social media . A world without is now unthinkable. Twitter and Facebook are ubiquitous and much more important than we often think. It is also not for nothing that it is used at all levels, both in education to keep students (literally) at the lesson, and by companies to bring their products and services to the public. For example, who has not seen the infectious safety campaign ‘ Dumb ways to die ‘ from the Australian Metro?
Online success through offline connection!
How do you set up a successful cross-media campaign as a non-profit?
And think of charities! Do you still remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? People around the world were challenged by each other to throw ice cold water over them, asked to share this on social media and make a donation. Within a month many thousands of donations were made. Even Donald Trump still participated …
What is an agreement in any case in these examples? They inspired, amused or shocked and were ‘simply’ shared and once again shared and shared and shared …
Now your viral campaign! How are you shared?
How do you ensure that your story, your campaign goes viral? Is there a formula for virality? It sometimes seems like a complete mystery and a matter of luck and coincidence, but is that so? Looking at viral campaigns in the past, we have collected ten important elements to ensure that your campaign becomes a success and goes viral in no time.
We were inspired in this by Jonah Berger, author of the book ‘ Contagious: Why Things Catch On ‘. Recommended! According to him, there are six ‘ STEPPS ‘ that ensure that your campaign can (most likely) go viral:
- Social Currency: Make sure that people want to share your mail, because it looks good to their environment.
- Triggers: With an easy-to-remember message you stay ‘top of mind’.
- Emotion: Emotional Posts are generally shared a lot.
- Public: Your message was created for sharing.
- Practical Value: Does it benefit the public? Is your message relevant?
- Stories: A good story appeals to people and will be shared faster.
1. Choose one social media channel
Content created for sharing will be shared faster and more. Choose a channel and set up your campaign for that channel. Whether you prefer Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or other social media channels, the choice is yours. But it is better to have a well-developed strategy and a clear and strong profile via a consciously chosen channel, than to spread your campaign across different channels and to profile yourself unclearly. Determine what works best for your organization on the channel you have chosen. Think in quality, not quantity.
2. Focus on a clearly defined target group
If you write for a clearly defined target group, your campaign will be more focused and efficient. If you have a clear picture of who your target group is, it will also be easier to formulate a stimulating and more relevant message. People will appreciate it faster, get inspired and share it further.
3. Choose original or emotional content
Surprise and attract the attention of your audience by doing something unique or perhaps controversial. The point is that your post or comment evokes a strong emotional response from your audience, making them more likely to share it with their friends and network. People need to get excited about something you post and want to share it. Do something that has not been done before and do it creatively.
4. Respond to current trends and events
It seems like an open door, but if you respond to something current, people will end up on your website faster and share your posts. Simply because more is being searched for through Google. So keep an eye on Twitter and news websites, the latest messages arrive here.
And think of the practical value of your message! Does it benefit your audience? Posts like ‘ten tips for’, ‘how to’ and ‘Did you know that …’ do not do well for good reason.
5. Go for a short slogan and specific message
A short and speaking message is shared faster and more often than a longer explanation about a mission, this is partly because a shorter catchy text is easier to remember, so that it stays ‘top of mind’ longer and with more people.
Also make sure that the campaign is fun, attractive and exciting on its own. It also helps if it does not necessarily feel like an advertisement that you should see, but one that you want to see and one that you want to share in order to get across to others (social currency). Sharing information has a ‘social currency’ according to Jonah Berger: ‘it makes us look good to those around us.’
6. Make sure you are easy to find
Take findability seriously! Potential followers and supporters will search for you online following a message, viral video or photo, so make sure they can find you easily. Name your social networking site exactly as your organization or campaign. Again, choose one social network and focus on that.
7. Pay attention to keywords and hashtags
Speaking of which: keywords and hashtags are crucial if you want to be found. Have important words reflected in the title of your blog or page, in the description of the campaign and in articles about your campaign. For useful keywords and hashtags, you can use tools such as the Google Adwords keyword planner, and hashtagify.me. Pay attention to popular hashtags and trending keywords at Twitter.
8. Make a video
People are visually oriented by nature. Hence the well-known statement that image says more than words. We would rather watch a video than read a text. Moreover, we also remember the content better! It doesn’t matter what twist you put on it, videos do particularly well on social media, so use it for a viral campaign.
9. ‘Sneeze’, let your friends do the work for you
The ‘sneeze’ in this case is not a symptom of a cold, but the starting point of a possible ‘viral’. After all, the ‘virus’ of your intriguing blog spreads the fastest if it is preceded by a very powerful sneeze. So don’t sneeze alone! Ask colleagues, friends, family, supporters and followers to spread your message. What? Hell yes.
People are much more likely to be involved in a campaign from someone they know personally. Use your network well! And don’t forget to thank your network from time to time. Then people feel appreciated and you keep them involved.
10. Expand your network, choose ‘super sneezers’
Look for organizations or initiatives with the same mission or goals as your campaign, see which people they are following and invite those people or ‘sneezers’ to follow or ‘like’ your campaign. So a viral does not just happen out of the blue, a momentum is needed. A strong start is crucial. Your sneezers spread the virus further among their friends or followers and increase the reach exponentially.
High trees catch a lot of wind, so reach ‘super sneezers’ for a viral campaign. Make sure you have a well-known person who supports your campaign and distributes this news to his or her network. Back to the ice bucket challenge: because celebrities participated, this viral was spread further among the many followers they have.
Read more about virality?
We have written an ebook about setting up a (viral) campaign. In it we list the most important points for a viral campaign for you.
How do you ensure that the audience of your viral campaign also takes action?
Yes! You have set up a viral campaign! Now keep all that attention … Keep your influencers, your high and low trees, sneezers and super sneezers warm and involved in your mission:
Create a relevant landing page for your viral campaign
People see a video or message only briefly (depending on the social media channel you choose, but most of them are). Therefore, ensure that your audience can immediately click through to a webpage about that one mission, especially for your viral campaign. Here you can encourage visitors to take action with inspiring content and effective call to actions. Make this web or landing page recognizable. It must clearly belong to the campaign and your organization.
Keep your audience warm between viral campaigns or not
Develop your network and keep involving people. It is not just about an enormous amount of followers, but also about what they do. Make sure your followers stay involved and feel connected to your campaign. Call on them to take concrete actions and actions and let them know how important they are for the progress of your mission. The success of a campaign is not about the organization, it is about the collective supporters. Thank the people who have taken action, no matter how big or small that action may be, and share the results of your campaign on your website and social media.
And you can get a lot out of your thank you page after a donation! How much? You can read that in our blog about this thank you page.
Make sure that people want to participate with your ‘wave’.
Need more ideas? Unleash the Ideavirus!
The idea that something can go viral or viral has been around for a while. Around the turn of the century Seth Godin wrote his ‘Unleashing the Ideavirus’ an e-book in which he discussed the use of ‘sneezers’. The pdf is freely available and to share and you can find it here . Please note: this version is current up to and including September 2000 (useful nevertheless). For new updates and more, visit Godin’s website .
Three inspiring examples of a viral campaign
World Wildlife Fund with ‘ The Last Selfie ‘ on Snapchat
The WWF combined the endangered existence of animal species such as pandas and chimpanzees to the Snapchat concept, where photos are deleted after a few seconds. The animal species post as it were selfies that people then saw disappear before their eyes, just as the animals will no longer exist. This link caught on and within a short time the selfies were retweeted tens of thousands of times, reached half of all twitter users and in three days the nature organization raised a donation amount that they normally recruit in a month.
Safe the Children with ‘ Most Shocking Second a Day Video ‘ on Youtube
From 9 candles on a cake for a British girl to 1 candle for an injured homeless person in a refugee shelter. The message: “just because it isn’t happening here, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.” You may have seen the impressive video in less than two minutes. refugee has completely changed within a short time.The video has now been viewed almost 57 million times and rightly a viral campaign.
ActionAid with ‘ All I want for Christmas is a goat ‘
To attract more traffic to the website, the campaigners for a fair world came to ActionAid around Christmas time with the idea of mixing Christmas music with the viral phenomenon of bleating goats that sound like people. The result: a hilarious Christmas album that even ended up on large music streaming websites such as Spotify. The album was accompanied by a video that was viewed more than 2 million times on youtube. The website attracted a record number of visitors. ActionAid is a non-profit organization that operates internationally and supports people in developing countries to stand up for their rights.
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