It’s not as simple as the old “build it and they will come” motto anymore. Nowadays, smart companies and marketer’s know the importance of effectively getting content in front of the right audience. But if you want to potentially reach a larger audience, you need to architect virality… Virality Is: When every person that signs up refers a group of friends that also sign up, who in turn refer their group of friends who also sign on, and so on… Every new series of signups gets larger and larger. It’s the forever sought after hockey stick of growth. The exact reason for this extreme sharing? Well, for each piece of content there can be many variables involved, but all viral content has shared qualities. The real truth is that there is a formula to creating campaigns with the potential to become viral. So how can you create a viral contest? Viral Sauce #1 – Answer the “What’s in it for me?” Answering the question: “what’s in it for them?” is the first step in capturing people’s attention and building virality into your contest. Explicitly describing the prize that they’ll have a chance at winning is your way of enticing people to enter. Viral Sauce #2 – Create the illusion of scarcity. People dislike missing out on things or events, especially online. Which is why a lot of people have their mobile devices almost plastered to their faces. There is a constant “fear of missing out” (#FOMO) on things that interest us. And it flowers when we don’t get a chance to enter an awesome contest or giveaway. Viral Sauce #3 – Make them feel part of your exclusive club. People that share common interests have been flocking together since the beginning of human evolution. Which means that your potential leads likely identify themselves with certain groups of people or sub-cultures. Plain and simple, we like hanging out with people who are similar to us. Viral Sauce #4 – Make the contest fun. Having a great prize might be enough to get people to enter the contest, however adding a sense of gamification to your contest can make the contest more engaging and fun to enter. Even if contests have been “gamifying” content since before gamification was even a word. Viral Sauce #5 – Incentivize and reward. How do you combat the downfall to a contest giveaway with an awesome prize, which people may not want to share with friends in order to increase their odds? Give them the motivation to share! Viral Sauce #6 – Introduce the Viral Loop. Today, when competition is steep, you need people spreading the word for you in order to expand reach and boost credibility. This is where virality really kicks in. a) Adding social media share buttons on the contest and confirmation pages is a must and will help lead your contest to a viral effect. Ideally, you’ll personalize the share message and it should also be super easy to share. Viral Sauce #7 – Continue the story. When marketing researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and viral scientist, Professor Jonah Berger asked the question “What makes ideas viral and products spread contagiously?”, he uncovered that stories were the content most likely to be shared. Conclusion Most people love entering contests. But sometimes, even after following our advice, you might not get the response you intended. Just remember that not everything cool goes viral. For everything that “goes viral” there are thousands of other similar things that simply don’t make it. That’s OK.
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