The word “viral” has become synonymous with social-media success, writes Ian Greenleigh in a post at ReputationOnline. “It’s even showing up on business cards.” Some of the professional titles Greenleigh has recently seen: Viral Brander, Viral Marketing Planner.
But the companies that assign these titles “don’t understand social media,” Greenleigh asserts. In short, no one “creates” viral content, he says, and “no amount of blood, sweat or tears can make something ‘go viral.'”
In his Anti-Viral Manifesto, Greenleigh lists the assumptions he says need to be shot down regarding viral marketing. Among the myths:
If success is repeatable, there is a formula for creating successful content. No there isn’t, Greenleigh states: “Normally, it doesn’t even matter if the second piece of content bears any resemblance to the [successful] first, [what matters is] that it is marketed to the same network,” he notes.
Content is king. “Not really,” he says. “If whatever you’re sharing is great, it will be shared more. But if it’s not so great, and you have an existing fan base, it will still get traction.” What matters most is the “kingdom” you create with your customers, he says—based on long-term CRM.
Good guys finish last. Wrong again. Service wins over sensational in the long run. People who “work hard to build networks of brand advocates still see ROI from their efforts,” Greenleigh concludes. “They know that all the metrics involved in supposedly calculating viral-ness don’t mean diddly if they can’t point to results that mean something to someone.”
Trusted content beats viral content over time. When you are viewed as a trusted content provider, Greenleigh says, “your network will do the heavy lifting once you give them something to spread.”