Viral Marketing: Using Viral Social Media to Create Viral Content ~ Drive Actions, Conversions, CrowdFunding

Most people are under the illusion that content going viral “just happens” organically. While few will ever admit to it, I am almost certain that it almost never happens solely on the strength of what is shared.

Viral Marketing Cartoon ~ Image Credit ~ Seller of cartoons for business ~ free cartoons for bloggers

Image Credit TomFishBurnercom ~ Click image to read the Orabrush story about a rare exception of a NATURAL viral video for a really unsexy subject.

I am NOT saying that NEVER happens. The cartoon above links to the story of Orabrush and they probably THINK it went viral naturally but I am going to propose that what REALLY happened was something we can get to happen intentionally.

And the video IS well done and it IS a compelling issue that many are afraid they may have: Bad Breath. Here it is:

Is that the best ever video you’ve ever seen? Well, no. It IS a strong video – entertaining, pushes lots of emotional buttons, not boring at all .

It DID target the emotional trigger that would get people to watch it, although I have to wonder what motivated them to want to SHARE it.

This video did NOT go viral by chance!
Keep reading to find out WHY it did!

Check out this video of the backstory behind how that video got created and then I’ll tell you WHY that video had a chance to go viral:

The key here is WHO created that video: a marketing student ~ as it turns out a very TALENTED marketing student Jeffrey Harmon ~ who had co-workers and fellow students. Now the first thing he would have done when he posted his video was tell all those people.

They would have all gone and watched it because they were involved in the “project” of how to market this product. Being marketing students, hopefully they would have known to click the like button, leave a comment, and they would know how to share it.


Read carefully because this is important:

  • QUESTION: How do sites determine which video or content to feature?
  • ANSWER: They use computer algorithms that measure how many likes, shares and comments a video or content gets within a specific window of time.

MORE clicks, comments and shares = your
video or content shown to more people.

The FASTER you get those clicks and shares the
more exposure your content or video will receive.

The more views you get, the better chance you will go viral.

To make this concept clearer here is the text from the FAQ from the CrowdFunding Platform IndieGoGo:

Indiegogo measures the activity of a campaign using an algorithm we call gogofactor. Search rankings, placement on the site, featured spots in our newsletter or blog, and inclusion in our press outreach are all determined by gogofactor. Indiegogo is a merit-based platform, which means that campaigns earn featured spots by staying active.

What is included in gogofactor?

Gogofactor is driven by a combination of external measures and internal benchmarks. These may include:

  • Funds raised and number of contributors
  • Updates and comments posted
  • Videos, images and other media
  • Sharing activity (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and traffic from other social sources
  • Completeness of Pitch, team members, or other campaign information

Your gogofactor is a rolling average, so it’s important to continually keep your campaign active. Your campaign is ranked relative to all of the other campaigns on the site. By staying active, your gogofactor will continue to go up.

There are THOUSANDS of campaigns running on this site at any given time. What do YOU suppose the impact of being one of only seventeen mentioned on their home page would be to your fundraising success?

I hope you were smart enough to say ENORMOUS ~ and I offer as proof the Bullied Bus Monitor story I wrote about on Social Social Media Feeding Frenzies about an IndieGoGo fundraiser started by a blogger with a modest $5000 goal.

The Final Results?
$703,833 CASH RAISED
32,270 contributors

Was Karen Kline’s story the most compelling on IndieGoGo? No. Are there other causes just as important – and some would argue MORE important – that never meet their goals? YES.

But her’s featured a VERY compelling video that grabbed people’s hearts so they shared and commented and contributed and kept that campaign featured.

What IndieGoGo has clearly told us is how ALL Social Networks,
Search Engines, Voting Communities that use algorithms work.

If you want to go viral you need MORE SHARES, Likes and
Comments fast enough to trigger the algorithm to
show your video or content to more people!

When videos or content “accidentally” go viral it is usually because there were an initial quantity of people who knew IN ADVANCE about the video and couldn’t wait to see or share it!

We may never know whether the people behind the JK Wedding Dance – what Time Magazine ranked #15 of the Top 50 YouTube Videos ~ was planned or a fortunate occurrence that now supports a charity (unless Jill or Kevin want to stop in and tell us).

Their JK Wedding Dance was watched 3.5 million times in the first 48 hours, and as of today has 76,713,144 views ~ That’s 76 MILLION! Even if you’ve seen it, it is worth watching again!

They said in interviews about why the JK Wedding Dance Video Went Viral they did not plan this as a marketing ploy – and since it was a good size wedding and the video IS so entertaining this one definitely could have spread naturally BECAUSE they had a built in way to trigger the algorithm: many people involved in the wedding!

Their video kicked off an entire wedding dance meme and many highly entertaining wedding dances.

Wise marketers can do this same thing with their best videos
and content but not ALL your videos and content. Only do
this when you have something REALLY exceptional you
want to promote – ideally indefinitely.

[HINT for bloggers who don’t think about making money much: that means something awesome that will generate an income OR that brings you traffic that will generate any income, i.e., you have already monetized the site to which the viral content will send traffic.]


I am going to explain the process – a MUCH BETTER STRATEGY to actually push something – and that something MUST BE worthwhile – in a way that positions it to give it a much better chance to go viral.

  1. Start with something REALLY worthwhile – usually a video, but it could be an infographic or content or a fundraiser
  2. Share it with many people IN ADVANCE and get their buy-in to support it on a specific day at a specific time.
  3. Explain to your supporters what you need them to do, where and when and that this is essential to triggering the algorithms that enable something to go viral.
  4. Touch base with your supporters BEFORE the appointed day and time and REMIND THEM you need them to thumb up, like, share, comment, review – maybe even write about in their own blogs and link – to the target viral item.
  5. Post it when you said you would and then contact your supporters PERSONALLY again and ask if they have acted on your behalf.

Is that a lot of work. You bet it is. Will it always work? No, but if you do it well and you only ask RARELY and you start supporting each other STRONGLY it WILL WORK!

I could write a book on how I know what I know:

  • Why you have to PERSONALLY know and collaborate with influencers and NOT only rely on your list because people are busy and they don’t read all the emails and all the lists and all your posts. The more influential they are the less likely they will see it!
  • Why RELATIONSHIPS and personal recommendations are the ONLY thing that really works.
  • Why no matter how many tweets, retweets, shares, and likes you can trigger PEOPLE DO NOT ACT UNLESS THEY KNOW YOU.

I will write posts about each of those points and link them to this post – so save this one and come back. Or subscribe to GrowMap using our new FeedBlitz link ~ Why we ALL need to migrate OFF of FeedBurner.

I am going to PROVE TO YOU that wise marketers have
been launching products and sites in a particular way
for as long as there has been an Internet.

They do product launches and drive books or ebooks to the top of best seller lists overnight. They always do this the same way and if you have subscribed to any major marketers the proof is in your inbox right now.

This post is long enough already, so you’ll have to come back for the next post that will explain how product and book launches create best sellers – which is directly related to how you make anything go viral.

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our NEW GrowMap FeedBlitz Feed
so you don’t miss it!

How to Go Viral:

YouTube on Why Videos Go Viral:

YouTube’s Trends Manager Kevin Allocca’s Ted Talk on Why Videos Go Viral:

What do you do to make your videos go viral?
Share in the comments.

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Gail Gardner

Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.


  1. Great article! Thanks. I think every blogger or marketer wants to get their content to go viral. And there are things we can do to help the process. Fantastic tips!
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