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“I want to hire you to make my company go viral!”

Seems easy enough, I’ll just work my Social Media Magic, say the magic word, and it’ll happen! Alas, it doesn’t actually work that way. Going “viral” is no easy task and is very, VERY hard to plan for.

But there are a few things you can do to set your marketing campaign up for success and (hopefully) make it go viral!

A. Know who you are targeting.
— Make sure you’ve got your demographics down to the letter. For example, this could be college-age students, women, ages 18-24, who live in the US (east coast and California).

B. Know your message.
— What are you saying? What is the point you are trying to get across? What responses could you expect (both good and bad)? Who will be responding? What will your message look like (graphics, spelling & grammar checked, etc.)?

Those are questions important for any post. If you hope to go viral, one question that is even more important is: “What is unexpected about your message?” For something to go viral, it has to fall outside the normal expectations for your audience. It’s all about the element of a good surprise!

C. Know your plan!
— Making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s — making me go viral. Build on your close network of influencers, maybe these are your employees! Make sure they know they have a role to play, what they need to do for that role, and when they have to do it. Their like, share, and comments can make or break your campaign.

These are essential steps to follow. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee your campaign will go viral. There are way too many factors to predict, so there is a lot of luck involved, but with a good strategy, you will see success.

Viral marketing would be incredible if I could create it with the flip of a switch, but part of the charm is that it is a challenge to attain. Set a more realistic goal (I want to gain ___ number of downloads, leads, sales, etc.) and be cautious when hiring a Social Media Manager who promises to make you go viral.

Social Media is an incredibly powerful tool for your business. Knowing how to use it to your advantage is key and knowing what to say and how to say it, is even more important.

— Neal Strauss

Neal Strauss is a Social Media Strategist who finds the best way to share your story with a growing audience. He matches your brand strategy with the appropriate media vehicle in an effective and creative manner. Neal works with companies of all sizes, from startups to Fortune 500 corporations, and is the lead social media expert in the Spencer Brenneman, LLC network. Find Neal on Twitter or LinkedIn

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