Viral marketing explained

Nowadays we always tend to hear about viral marketing, how something got “viral” on the internet and how cost-effective this technique could be if looking from an online promotion standpoint. What exactly is viral marketing?

Basically, viral marketing translates in something or someone getting widely promoted via word of mouth (in our case social media networks, blog posts, media exposure) without any costs applied. This could happen for a couple of reasons: there’s a shock factor present, unique idea or concept, internet meme or something that a lot of people will benefit from.

Not everything can get viral on the internet, especially if it’s heavily commercial. You won’t get lucky trying to get viral by promoting a product or a service directly, however if you apply a twist to your method chances of generating sales would be much higher. Here are a few examples of the reasons described earlier, which can make something viral:

–  Having the shock factor present

People who saw this video stated that one must be crazy to even attempt to put an Iphone in the blender but actually trying to blend it must is purely insane. Well, here you go! This is the shock factor which BlendTec has basically introduced into an ad, making it viral and also, making it look less commercial.

Let’s think about a plain ad which presents the functionalities of a blender. That sounds boring, doesn’t it? And I’m 100% sure that won’t get viral, thus generating sales.

– Unique idea or concept

Samsung got pretty clever here, advertising its brand and led-technology thru costumer created videos. As you can obviously notice from this video, putting leds (Samsung, of course) on sheep, later on recreating the famous Mona Lisa portrait is, in a funny way, a truly brilliant and unique idea. People loved it, had a laugh, promoted the video without anyone asking them to do so, and generated more than 17 million views. That calls for a lot of money Samsung would have spent otherwise.

– Produce something that a lot of people will benefit from

At&t had a huge campaign increasing awareness regarding the negative affects texting & driving could have. Not only they have educated and spread awareness about something that causes a lots of accidents, they also strengthened their brand and reputation by doing so.

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Yahoo Meme – twitter clone or something better?

I was lucky enough to get an invitation on Yahoo Meme. When I first heard of Meme, I said in my mind “oh no, not another twitter clone”. What would be the use of another twitter alike service called Meme? However, I didn’t want to start off with rude words so I gave it a try.

Since this is currently a beta service, you can not sign up freely, you need an invite. Once you get in, you may notice some minor bugs, nothing major anyway. Actually, this Yahoo Meme is interesting and seems to be pretty good. In comparison to twitter, it lacks the search function but it has some interesting features like letting you to add an image to your update, a video or even a song. With twitter you can’t do this, you can only share links to the videos, pictures or songs you liked.

When I said that Meme lacks the search function, some may argue with me. Yes, it does have one but it will only let you search for people and not for updates.

It pretty much looks like twitter:

meme2twitter

… so I guess that’s why most of you got irritated.

Bugs and things I don’t like about Yahoo Meme

  • It lacks the search function for updates (already mentioned)
  • It won’t let you add a custom background (maybe this will change in the future and I am sure it will because it’s common sense that sharing only 5 templates with millions of potential users is not a winner solution).
  • I spotted a bug. It didn’t let me post a song. I tried with 3 different links, 3 different songs, nothing worked. I’m sure this will be fixed too.
  • This isn’t very important but I didn’t like that it was a must to use the yahoo e-mail for signing up and receiving updates and stuff. I would have preferred gmail instead.

Conclusion

Surprisingly, I believe that this Meme thing has potential. Can it become a competitor for twitter? Yes! The simple and quick interface, neat design and the new functions, they all help.

If you already have an account there, don’t forget to follow me http://meme.yahoo.com/shocs/ .

Do you need an invite?

I have 5 invites left, so I am willing to give to my readers. All you need to do is to retweet this post and submit a comment to this article with your yahoo e-mail and retweet link.

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Stumbleupon introduces “share”

We talked so many times about Stumbleupon so I assume you already know that this is one great social network. Lately, Stumbleupon has introduced a new function called  sharing.

You can now share a story that you liked most with your entire list of friends.  To do this you have to go to “Your favorites”. Once you get there, you will see in the left side of the page a list of thumbnails. Mouse over one of those thumbnails and then click “Share” if you want to share that respective story with your friends. Here is how it looks like:

stumbleupon-share

(click on the image for full size)

The good

It’s obvious that you can now easily share a story that you liked, with your friends. You can manually select some fellows or you just click on “all” and stumbleupon will do the hard work.

The bad

This is also obvious – spammers! Since this functions has been introduced, I started to get way too many stories into my email from people that only want to promote their websites. I do agree to be sent one or two stories per week from a fellow of mine, but sending me 2-3 stories / day / person is just dumb. I don’t even have time to read&see so many websites.

There was something like this before as well. It is named  “Send to” and can still be found in the toolbar. However, with “Send to” you aren’t able to send emails in mass.

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Stumbleupon updates for September 16th

Stumbleupon came with a big surprise for the social media guys. They have introduced some great improvments:

  • add more than 200 Friends
  • This is good and bad. Let’s start with the good aspect. Members like you and me will be able to get in touch with more passionate bloggers or interesting people. Regarding friends, sky is the limit! About the bad aspect, spammers will have the chance to add more and more friends so they can send pages to them and promote their websites, but stumbleupon took care of that as well. You will receive this message if you add too many friends in a very short period of time:

    spam-stumbleupon.jpg

  • subscribe to another member’s Stumbles without becoming their Friend
  • This wasn’t really necessary. First I didn’t get it. But if you think a little about it, you will realize that maybe you just want to subscribe at someone’s favorites and not to become a friend with him or her, although, if you like someone’s activity you might consider getting to know that person.

  • members who’ve unsubscribed from StumbleUpon no longer appear as your Friend
  • Oh that’s great! It won’t be necessary anymore to delete your “dead” friends.

  • “Fans” will now be known as “Subscribers”
  • Doesn’t need any explanation, does it?

  • Subscribers who are new StumbleUpon members appear at the top of your Subscribers list
  • Okay, this might help, you can now see who is new to stumbleupon and who isn’t. You can put an eye from time to time on the new members to see how they manage.

More than that, you can now see how similar you are with another stumbler. To see that you just have to enter a page of another stumbler, and on the right side it will appear something like this:

stumbler-similar.png

All in all, I really like these changes.

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New propeller function available

If you didn’t know, Propeller is another great social network, smaller then digg but very effective and now, there’s a new propeller-logo.giffunction available on it.

Propeller’s developer announced a few hours ago that now, everyone can make groups there. Personally, I made the group called “Google”, feel free to join it!

There are still many good groups available, so create one immediately if you have an account on propeller. It never knows. I do believe that “Google” group that I made will become huge and I might attract some fans too. That’s a way of building your profile too.

Later edit:

Unfortunately, there are some bugs at the moment. The developer is taking care of them all so don’t worry!

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Digg this … B.S!

A few days ago, a story from cracked.com hit digg’s front page. That article was about some cheats that will helpstop.jpg you gather more votes for your submissions.

They were saying that if you put “Digg this:” in front of the article’s title when submitting it, you might get a few more votes. Oh please, I always bury stories like that. Yes, it’s true, the title of the story from cracked.com that hit the front page was “Digg this!: 7 cheats for hitting the front page of Digg” and it got about 4000+ diggs.

I don’t say that this technique doesn’t work! Not at all, but don’t abuse! After reading that “cheats”, many and many new digg users tried them, especially this technique. They put in front of their submissions the “Digg this:” structure, although they were submitting crappy stories. I asked another active digger what he thinks about this, his nickname being: diggboss. This is what he said: “Never put digg this in front of the title, looks spammy. You never do that“.

I also asked world reknown copywriter, Trevor ‘ToeCracker’ Crook who is also a high profile digger his opinion and he said while he agrees with the cracked story and where using Digg in the title is relevant, the main problem is, people will abuse putting digg in nearly every title and is will lose impact.

It’s the same as when everyone puts ‘Breaking’ or Breaking News in the title. When you do this too often, nobody will take any notice.

When it comes title’s – ToeCracker says he changes the original title in approx. 95% of the time when submitting as each word is critical to getting your story voted.

Getting your title correct can be the difference between you getting a front page story.

So, folks, stop doing that! There are different ways to attract more attention with your submissions. Title and description help a lot, but don’t do it the bad way. Here’s a great article I found that gives good advice regarding this: “How a good title and description can make or break your social media submission“.

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