The Secret Sauce of Viral Social Media Campaigns

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Online marketing has experienced an interesting shift. From PPC advertising to today’s social media marketing.

But what did this new channel bring us? For consumers, it has given us a voice – a way to talk back to the brands we love, and hate, and to share our ideas and opinions.

For businesses, social media is a viral platform with a massive amount of power, as long as you have the ‘secret sauce’ to motivate consumers to pass on your message.

Here are 3 recent viral marketing campaigns that got that ‘secret sauce’ and went super viral:

1. Paranormal Activity

ParanormalThe Idea: Paranormal Activity was a $15k low budget horror film. After releasing it at just 33 theaters in the U.S (it enjoyed initial success), Paramount Picture asked movie lovers to rally and raise 1 million votes at before casting the movie worldwide.

This new buzz generating method made many people curious about the movie.

The Result: If you’re on Twitter, you should already be hit by the Paranormal wave. Since its initial launch date just 2 weeks ago, it has been a trending topic. It was also reported that the average ticket sales per theater were $49,379, the highest ever for a movie playing at more than 100 locations.

One Key Point: Movies have always been the central topic on Twitter. Paramount Picture has spotted the opportunity to ride on the Twitter wave with their little 1,000,000 campaign. Other movies might need to be a little more creative to achieve the same effect.

2. Google UFO

The Idea: Some time ago, Google released a series of 3 weird UFO doodle logos. The only clue to why they were displayed were coded tweets sent out by @Google.

The search giant remained tight lipped while bloggers were fanatically trying to decipher the code, hoping to be the first to solve the mystery. Then on Sept 21st, Google explained the whole rationale behind these “unexplained” UFO doodles – it was to celebrate Herbert George’s birthday.

The Result: In this case, money wasn’t the motivation behind the campaign. Increased awareness was what Google wanted and it certainly achieved it. A wave in the Internet domain was created with the help of bloggers and tech journalists engaging in the guessing game. Links that were bookmarked helped a great deal too.

One key point: Google’s mysterious behavior made the blogosphere go crazy guessing.

3. #BeatCancer


The Idea: #BeatCancer was a social good campaign run on October 16th and 17th “Everywhere” marketing agency. Sponsoring companies MillerCoors, eBay/PayPal, and Genesis Today paid one penny for every #BeatCancer mention on social media platforms.

The Result: More than $70,000 was raised. With 209,771 mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, it set a Guinness World Record for the most widespread social network message in a 24-hour period. Everyone is a winner. The 4 non-profit cancer organizations received the funding and the sponsors achieved high brand awareness.

One Key Point: Convenience. Helping a good cause has never been so easy, so why not? It is just a tweet or update away!

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