The popularity of social media has resulted in various new marketing strategies that brands can use to target their consumers, one of which is viral marketing. Social media is a hub of culture and trending conversations that present brands with the opportunity to appear culturally relevant to their target audience. Brands that successfully utilise trending content are increasing their likelihood of going viral. In doing so, they are increasing their reach on an astronomical scale.
Brands have begun investing heavily into increasing the reach of their campaigns, so having a viral campaign justifies and reduces the costs. Social media users are more likely to notice content shared by friends than a brand, so viral marketing puts the user in control and the brand seems less invasive. Brands have begun investing in social media video production to increase their chances of viral content.
Due to the rise of TikTok many businesses, small and large, have gone viral. Some have developed their own sounds and challenges that users can share or join in on, while others have gone viral from user-generated content.
Viral marketing is time-sensitive and reactive to trending topics on social media. Since social media has over 3 billion users, the appeal of viral marketing is understandable. However, due to this appeal, it is not often brands succeed in going viral due to the sheer amount of other brands trying to go viral.
Brands usually use comedy or go for the shock factor with viral campaign attempts. One of the most recent viral success stories was from Weetabix, who shared an imageimage on Twitter of Weetabix topped with Heinz beans. The absurd image quickly became viral, with many other brands joining in. The tweet was shared across platforms by users who were thoroughly entertained by the original tweet and the responses it received.
On Twitter alone, the original tweet has over 106K retweets, 135K favourites and 22K replies.