Harnessing the Power of the Viral Loop
In all people there resides the innate desire to share, the need to pass along great stories, humorous anecdotes, interesting facts or perfect pictures. As marketers we rely on this desire as we strive to reach more people.
When a follower interacts with and shares content with a friend who then likewise interacts with and shares that content, your influence spirals outward engaging more people as it expands. This spiral is called a viral loop, and it's the result of a carefully thought out and executed social campaign.
So how do you create a viral loop? Using four basic principles, you can design the perfect environment for your audience to engage with and share.
1. Use your current audience. Your current social followers, email list and customers should serve as the starting point for any social campaign. They already have an interest in you, so they will be the easiest to activate into participants and sharers. Take the time to reach out to these "warm leads," encouraging them to engage with your content. You can't expect them to share everything you post, but if you know them and provide them with targeted, shareworthy content, they may be inclined to forward it along. One tried-and-true approach to driving engagement is through creative contests or giveaways; you just have to make sure they're in line with your customers’ wants and desires.
2. Remove barriers to entry and make interaction seamless. Every click is a chance for a person to decide that they don't care enough or don't have the time to engage with your campaign. That's why removing as many barriers as possible is so important. Off Broadway Shoes, for example, used a custom Facebook application to host its Sparkle Spree Sweepstakes in the form of a game. By allowing its fans to interact without leaving Facebook, Off Broadway Shoes was able to interact seamlessly and remove barriers.