What makes viral campaigns so important?

Ever noticed a business or celebrity you liked on Facebook offer an incentive or gift in return for something from their followers? Social media celebrities aren’t offering free swag out of the goodness of their hearts, and it’s no coincidence giveaways and promotions on social media are becoming increasingly popular…

By running promotional campaigns on social media you can get advertising worth thousands of dollars for just a couple of hundred dollars. If you are not using viral campaigns to grow your business, you are missing out on one of the most lucrative marketing strategies available to businesses, and you are missing out on one of the key advantages of social media as a marketing tool.

Let’s look at an example of a successful viral campaign.

While there are a million and one ways to skin a cat and the same is true for viral campaigns, simple methods that yield consistent results are the best approach for social campaigns. You don’t need to go out and spend thousands of dollars filming a crazy video of yourself jumping out of a plane or doing a nudie run wearing nothing but your corporate logo, hoping to get picked up by the press. You simply need to offer an incentive in return for followers to like, share or comment on your post. You don’t even need a large amount of followers for this type of campaign to be successful. As more users participate, your campaign and social profile will be exposed to an exponential amount of users.

Let’s look at a successful campaign by popular cosmetics brand Mario Badescu.

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By giving away just one skincare products in exchange for reposting the image, Mario Badescu had their image reshared over 114 times, received 224 likes, 10 comments, and the brand exposed to thousands of potential customers. With this straightforward promotion, Mario Badescu received hundreds or even thousands of dollars of advertising for the modest cost of one skincare product. Not bad for one tub of face mud!

The success of this campaign lies in its simple execution. The large and bold giveaway headline captures the attention of anyone interested in skincare products. The time constraint on the promotion encourages followers to act fast. And the entry instructions are as simple as it gets.

How to make your viral social media campaign successful.

When it comes to successful social media campaigns, the devil is in the details. The difference between successful and not-so-successful viral campaigns lie in the execution. To maximize results follow three essential steps.

1. Offer an irresistible prize.

Needless to say, the more valuable your prize, the larger your response will be. While your prize can be anything from a free shirt to a free holiday on Necker island with Richard Branson, you’re best opting for a prize that is both compelling and relevant to your audience. Even better, make the prize your product, and the buzz will drive awareness and sales of your product. Make your prize more compelling by giving away multiple products—customers will have a greater chance of winning and this will increase your response.

2. Make your entry mechanism easy as pie.

For bigger results and the sanity of your social followers, make it as easy as possible to enter your giveaway. The entry requirements of your giveaway should be foolproof, and your instructions should be too. It doesn’t get any simpler than the earlier example, ‘Repost with #MBWinner and you’ve entered to win the Flower & Tonic Mask!’.

There’s two common techniques for allowing users to enter your contest.

1. Entry on your social media post.

To enter, users comment, like or reshare your post on the social network. You can create a viral campaign in minutes using this approach. You can also receive a surge of new followers with this type of promotion. Keeping the entry mechanism inside the social network typically leads to higher social engagement, the user is already in ‘social network’ mode and it’s very easy for them to like, share and comment directly on their newsfeed while already logged in.

2. Entry on your website.

You can direct users to a dedicated page on your website to enter your promotion. This requires more legwork on your end and you’re going to need to create a special page on your website, however, it’s a better approach for achieving specific business goals. You may ask users to share, like or comment your page, and then enter their email address to enter the competition. You can then add entrants to your newsletter and market to them again and again at almost no cost. This is a great option if you are looking to increase sales by getting followers onto your mailing list.

Check out these two resources to get your promotion off the ground.



Rafflecopter allows you to create a giveaway or social promotion with just a few clicks. You can require entrants to share your promotion and opt in to your mailing list. You can then copy and paste the Rafflecopter giveaway into your blog without needing to use a web developer. Great for those running a social campaign on their website. Free to try and plans start at $13 per month for power users.



Woobox quickly built up a reputation as the creme-de-la-creme of viral promotion apps for Facebook and has now expanded to Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. Woobox is great for running your promotion directly on your social network of choice, and make it easy to setup and run a social campaign in minutes. Woobox offer 6 free basic apps, and 15 social promotion apps for advanced users at $30 per month.

3. Promote the heck out of your campaign.

When your promotion is ready to go, you want to promote your campaign as much as possible. While you could run a giveaway on your social profile with little promotion and it’s likely to get a solid amount of engagement from your followers, if you heavily promote your social campaign you significantly increase your chances of the giveaway going viral. Increase the initial amount of users who participate in your campaign and it will be exposed to a larger amount of users. It’s important to keep this in mind, as it’s the viral nature of giveaways on social networks that make them so valuable.

Follow these steps and you’re sure to get a solid amount of entrants to get your promotion off the ground and in front of other followers:

1. Create a banner on your website or blog linking to your promotion.
2. Cross promote your social campaigns on your other social accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on.
3. Do a quick email blast to your newsletter promoting your giveaway.
4. For larger giveaways or promotions, run a paid advertising campaign on your social network to increase your exposure. Facebook’s paid ‘boost this post’ feature is a great example of how you can significantly increase your exposure without too much effort.
5. Promote your social campaign on your marketing collateral, in store brochures, flyers, posters and so on.
6. For serious prizes, such as a holiday, car or giant bag of cash, you may want to send out a quick press release with a news syndication service such as PR Newswire (prnewswire.com) to get your promotion in front of the press.

Is it time you started incorporating viral marketing and giveaways into your marketing mix? Or perhaps you’re strapped for time and want someone to help? In which case, get in touch, we can help out with that.

By ecommercemarketer