Forbes: Did Your Brand Go Viral? 15 Ways To Keep The Momentum Going
In the age of internet fame, every brand hopes that their content will get seen and shared by the right people and “go viral.” But there’s no magic formula for going viral – you simply have to keep experimenting and trying new things to see what audiences respond to.
Once you do achieve notoriety, it’s important to have a strategy to capitalize on the momentum you’ve built. Your viral post may soon be forgotten, but if you play your cards right, your brand won’t be. The secret is finding a way to encourage continued engagement once people hear about your company.
Fifteen members of Forbes Agency Council shared their best advice for keeping customers interested once you’ve gone viral.
1. React With Interaction
When something your team has created goes viral react by interacting. Whether it is commenting on Instagram, retweeting photos or reaching out to tastemakers who are talking about it, your team’s interaction will inform a wide audience of who the brains are behind it. The conversations will also likely open doors to new clients, press and opportunities. – Abby Downing, ZinePak
2. Take A Step Back
Sit back, pat yourself on the back, watch it evolve and respond strategically. Your post was popular, it went viral for a reason, and chances are, the results exceeded your expectations. Don’t fall into the trap of attempting to respond to the momentum immediately or to control it; you could end up slowing down the momentum and diminishing the perception of your message’s authenticity. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing
3. Ask For The Share
You can hope and plan for getting a product, ad or interview to go viral, but there’s never a guarantee. When you hit that goal, capitalize on this goldmine by letting your network know! Ask them to share, and respond to every single person. This will keep the viral trend going longer and longer. – Bernadette Coleman, Advice Local
4. Activate A Call To Action
Virality has a window. Within that window, you need a specific call to action to help steer the flood of traffic. A temporary website pop-up is a great way to give users a call to action, and then help capitalize on the momentum. In the pop-up, you can direct users to a specific product, collect an email address, or prompt users to give you a follow on social media. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
5. Keep The Conversation Going
Going viral is like making a really great first impression on a first date. They like what they’ve seen so far, but now it’s up to you to collect their contact info and keep the conversation with these new leads going. If you don’t regularly nurture these new connections with valuable content, their interest in your company will fizzle out regardless of how great that first impression was. – Chapin Herman, Herman-Scheer
6. Maintain And Respond
What goes up must come down! Virality is no different, but companies have an opportunity to extend the duration of the spike and delay the decline. By promoting and sharing the spike, the company can extend and even, possibly, increase the reach of the spike. Along with virality comes conversation, as well. To show what an amazing company you are, being responsive is critical as well. – Douglas Karr, DK New Media
7. Seek Out Relevant Media Opportunities
When a client is getting particularly positive, high-frequency media attention, there’s no better time to secure even more visibility. Position them as a source for commentary on relevant news, secure company profiles, place articles in their name, score a regular media column or TV segment, and apply for speaking opportunities and relevant awards. – Gretel Going, Channel V Media
8. Reuse And Recycle
Repurpose-able content is a marketer’s dream. If you’ve found something that works, milk it for all it’s worth. Revisit your viral gem and look for ways it can be applied to specific audiences for greater, more targeted traction. For instance, if you wrote a how-to piece, reconfigure it for a specific industry. – Howard Breindel, DeSantis Breindel
9. Build A Strategic PR And Social Media Campaign
There is no doubt that the most powerful way to harness and amplify a successful viral launch is via strategic public relations and social media efforts. I think everyone looks at the Ice Bucket Challenge as the gold standard for a viral video taking on a life of its own. The buzz from this perfect viral storm went from quirky videos to mass adoption in a matter of days thanks to news stories and social media. The media coverage was staggering, of course, but the stunt also had a concrete, tangible impact of millions in donations to ALS organizations worldwide. – Jim Dalton, Dalton Agency
10. Work On Converting Viral Visitors
Focus on conversion optimization and calls to action to capitalize on the momentum. Be sure you’re promoting the right products and services to visitors who came as a result of the viral traffic. It’s important to promote a product that’s relevant to the specific audience in an effort to maximize the viral traffic without alienating prospective customers. – Jody Resnick, Trighton Interactive
11. Amplify With Paid Promotion
Repost the asset or content on the most applicable digital platform and put paid promotion behind it immediately. The paid efforts will help add fuel to the fire from an engagement perspective, further amplifying the conversations and increasing reach to all relevant users. The combination of paid and organic virality will help increase your earned media, an essential KPI in maximizing ad efficiency. – Johnny Wong, Operam
12. Have A Contingency Plan
It is hard to know when the moment will strike so we recommend planning for opportune times. This means setting aside budget for that moment, aligning on an action plan (including the best places to support) in advance, and having creative templates that only require minor tweaks so you can capture momentum as quickly and relevantly as possible. – Kieley Taylor, Catalyst/GroupM
13. Take Advantage Of Email
We always advise our clients to share their viral content to keep the momentum going. They can start by sharing it with their customers and prospects via their e-newsletters and email campaigns, as well as within their email signatures. In some cases, it may even make sense to arrange interviews with local media to discuss why it went viral. – Paula Chiocchi, Outward Media, Inc.
14. Figure Out Why
When content goes viral, it means you’ve tapped into something. Ask yourself what that something is so you can learn from the experience and increase your chances of striking that chord, or a slightly different one, again. This is also a great opportunity to forge relationships with the influencers in your audience organically, so be sure to engage. – Sarah Mannone, Trekk
15. Coordinate A Follow-Up Campaign
Why has it gone viral? Look at the data, analyze the audience, and do it quickly and in real time. Once you’ve done that, immediately supercharge it with a coordinated and wide-spread second campaign that supports the original content and lifts it even higher. After the momentum has been capitalized upon, leverage the content as an asset for internal and external audiences. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack PR Marketing Group
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Find out if you qualify at forbesagencycouncil.com/qualify.