Saturday, July 4, 2009

How to Use a Viral Marketing Campaign to Promote Business

Running a business on the internet is becoming more and more popular every day and promoting your business through a viral marketing campaign online is an extremely effective and inexpensive way to reach potential customers and clients. So what is ‘viral marketing’? In a nut shell, viral marketing incorporates using advertising techniques that utilize a variety of social networks that help get the word out and to increase people’s awareness of a particular company or brand.

Some folks can dance circles around me when discussing the topic of creating a viral marketing campaign, but I am going to give you some easy ideas on the basics on how to use viral marketing for those that may be challenged by this concept. (Like I was! )

  1. Sign up for a page on Facebook. One of the best ways to use viral marketing is to promote a business through word of mouth from friend to friend and that’s what Facebook is all about. People talking to people about other people and what they are doing, making friends and meeting other people through your friends. Sounds like a party doesn’t it? Well in a way it is… a virtual party. You will have to use your real name to sign up for your personal page, but Facebook provides the option of making your personal site private and viewable only to those people to whom you welcome to your page. There is also an option to set up a FAN Page on Facebook and here is where you can put it in your business name and do promotions through a viral marketing campaign.

  2. Sign up for a Twitter account. I know to some it seems inane and why would anyone want to talk about or read about how people micro-manage their lives? Well there are other uses for Twitter and promoting your business through a viral marketing campaign is one of them. In one or two short sentences of 140 characters you can tell your followers about your products, any sales you are having, talk to them and ask questions, find out what they like or dislike, teach techniques, and much more. Because of the way people follow other people on Twitter, the viral marketing aspect of what you tell folks is spread far and wide between other Twitter users.

  3. Start a blog! The term ‘blog’ is shorthand for web log, a kind of virtual, online journal or data list. Blogs take all forms from simple journals to complex website pages and are an excellent way to communicate through viral marketing to existing and potential new customers. On your blog you are the master of your own ship, calling the shots, writing about whatever you choose and creating whatever image you like. You can link your blog articles to other social sites you belong to referring people back and forth between them to create a nice web which can be found by various search engines. For instance, write an article on your blog and feature it on your Facebook and Twitter accounts including links to the full article in the blog. You've just started a viral marketing campaign!

  4. Join social bookmarking sites like Digg and Stumbleupon to enhance your viral marketing efforts to promote your business. Here you can add articles to your account that you have written on your blog as well as articles others have written that are of interest. Link together various bits of information that help pass the word along about your business and use the viral marketing aspect of the internet to increase traffic to your blog or website.

  5. Set up a website for your business and be sure to link it to your blog and other social networking and bookmarking sites to take advantage of the viral marketing aspects available. Blog about your website, advertise it on Twitter and Facebook including links for people to click to get them to your site.

    Although you can hire a web designer to set up a website for you, it can be expensive and you have little artistic control and even less technical savvy when it comes to running your own site. There are a variety of companies available online that have preset website templates and bandwidth where you can open an account inexpensively and in a week or less, set up your own site, learning all the steps so you can be in control always.

  6. There are other social sites besides the ones mentioned here but this is a good start. Once learned, viral marketing techniques will reward you with a feeling of empowerment and new tools to further promote your business in this new way using the internet to your benefit through viral marketing and advertising. And best of all, most of it is free and only asks that you donate some of your time for success.

  • There is a learning curve to using social networking and social bookmarking sites for a viral marketing campaign your business. Allow yourself plenty of time and be patient with yourself while you are learning the ropes on each of the sites.

  • Using Facebook, Twitter and other social sites can become addicting! Learn to budget your time when using them.

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