Things Don’t Just Go Viral?

How did you hear about Ebola? The news, social media, the radio, word of mouth? Chances are you might not have cared about it until it was viral; all over the place digitally and a common topic of conversation.

Let’s consider getting the word out about your business and making it go viral.

Something people love about digital marketing is that it is measurable.

You can track how many people saw and interacted with your online content.  Is it accurate? That’s debatable. Many online tools only report a certain statistically significant portion of data, some privacy protections and lead generators hide user behavior, and many online reporting efforts have their own measurement titles. You could analyze data all day, everyday from your online marketing work, but is that an accurate portrayal of how people are interacting with your brand?

Consider this: People learn without interacting with your content.


Have you ever heard of “invisible fans.” 

Let’s take social media as an example. There are people, myself included, who follow a business online and see the content they are putting out there, but don’t engage with it. They are noticing your brand, seeing your posts, tweets and pictures but don’t need to act in order to understand. Even more so, they don’t feel the need to form an online relationship with the brand. I recently heard these invisible fans explained like a classroom setting. In a classroom, the students sitting in the front row ask and answer all the questions. The students in the rest of the classroom are definitely still in class and turn in their homework, they just don’t want to sit in the front row.

Are you only measuring your class by the front row attendees? Knowing about invisible fans makes online strategy a little different. Are you putting things out there that are visually engaging, can be talked about offline in a group of friends, and offer the opportunity to interact with your company outside of the digital world?

How neat would it be for your young target woman to see your business online and tell her mom about how your product or service would be perfect for her. Mom then goes online and finds you with a Google search, clicks on a paid ad because it seems exactly the same as her daughter described, researches for herself and decides to interact with you offline. Sounds like a great sale in my book.

Maybe that same situation could happen, but the mom isn’t interested in your business. 3 years down the line, as long as you have kept the daughter’s interest, the daughter herself might decide to work with you. This would be because you have built a reputation and trust with her over time. Digital marketing can be fun for the short game, but long term goals are definitely worth some thought.

The digital world is imperative to any consumer transaction. The thing we have to remember is that it’s part of the sales funnel. Not everyone who goes in will come out the same day. Are you aware of common holes in your funnel? Are you making it easy for a consumer to make it through the process? There are so many digital strategies to encourage individuals to revisit your funnel until they become a customer. There isn’t one answer. Trying new things can be great for the digital world and that’s what it’s all about. It’s the “trial and learn” philosophy that makes a digital marketing campaign strong.

From branding to lead generation, digital marketing is vital, and not always viral.

The goal shouldn’t be to make things go “viral”, but to make sure they have some impact.

It’s best to determine your goals for the campaign and formulate a strategy to make that happen, rather than hope something gets enough “online interaction” to make you feel accomplished.