Creating Getting people to talk about your products or ideas and getting those ideas to ‘catch on’ is not just about getting more word-of-mouth coverage. Viral marketing is about harnessing the power of “social influence.” Viral marketing is about making it easier for people to imitate others. It’s also about getting them to see that other people like your products and ideas. Other people liking your products and idea establishes the Private Value.
Now, the goal is to make the private (other people liking your products and ideas) into the public. How do you do that? You make it easier for people to see what other people are doing. This is how you make private value public value in viral marketing! We tend to think of viral marketing as just what people SAY, but it’s really also what people are DOING.
Let’s use the example of logos and colors. On clothing products, popular brands often have very prominent logos and trademark colors. Often manufacturers attempt to make this logo as big as possible. Thing about Lacoste, Polo, and Nike. They are just a few examples where the logo has increased in size from something that was once discreet to something which is now much more prominent. Manufacturers want to get their logo noticed. Other people notice them more and, increasingly, more people are wearing their particular brand. This is especially noticeable when key influencers such as sportsman wear branded clothing.
- How can you make it easier for people to notice your product or service?
- How can you make people want to be using your brand, product, or service?
- How can you make it easier for them to switch to your product or to follow your idea?
- How can you make people try something new?
A very good example of getting people to notice a new product and try something new has been with Apple products. At a time when everybody was using black earphones, apple decided to use white ones. People began to notice more and more that other people were wearing white headphones, the ones associated with apple products. People thought this must be a great product as so many other people are using it. Sales increased and people found it much easier to switch over to apple products.
- How can you make the private public?
- How can you make it easier for people to see what others are doing?
- How can you make it easier for people to switch to your idea, product or service?
- What can you do on your website to make that size or volume of traffic you are experiencing clear?
If the content on your website is constantly being shared by others, you want your visitors to know that. You want them to know how popular your website is. In this case, you might place a widget which displays the number of people sharing your content. That would be particularly effective as it clearly demonstrates how popular your content is.
You can also tell the customer what you want them to know. For example, if people are using your product or service but nobody knows, take a page out of McDonalds’ playbook and tell your customer. The McD people used to advertise on their signs ‘1 Billion served.’ While it may seem a bit cheesy, it was quite effective to tell people everyone is buying a Big Mac or some other product from them.
The easier it is for people to see how many other people are doing something, the more chance that they will use that signal of information and the more likely they will be to do it themselves.