Although numerous theories exist on how to make something “go viral,” no scientific study has managed to reach a concrete conclusion yet. One thing is for certain – virality involves having others share your content, posts, or promote your website through their own social profiles.
We live in an era of shares, tweets, retweets, pins and +1s; never has it been easier to express your appreciation for a company or service than it is today. Cracking the code of how to entice social media users to promote your company will result in increased brand awareness by orders of magnitude.
So how do you get other people to do your social media marketing for free?
1. Tagging on Twitter
Twitter’s tagging functionality offers a fantastic way to let thought leaders know that you’re talking about them – and flattery can go a long way. Tagging thought leaders, companies or journalists in your posts can undoubtedly motivate them to promote your company to their social connections going forward.
Prior to carrying out this strategy, do some research first. Ask yourself who your targets are and what type of content and messaging would encourage them to promote your company on social media.
Once you’ve identified the individuals or companies that you’d like to focus on, it’s time to figure out how to connect with them.
Here is an example of this strategy in action:
Write a blog post highlighting the “Top 10” thought leaders in your target market. After creating your well-written post, formulate a tweet wherein you tag each of these thought leaders. Chances are, you won’t be able to fit them all in the same message, so you may have to tweet several times to cover all of the names.
Tagging these thought leaders will accomplish two goals:
Capture their attention and make them aware of you and your company
Encourage them to share your post on their social networks
2. Offering cross-promotional opportunities
Not everyone will want to promote your company, directly or indirectly, out of the goodness of their own hearts. If you are looking to really tap into the power of virality, try partnering with another company to offer a mutually beneficial cross-promotional opportunity. Whether they are a current client, or a well-known (non-competitor) company in your industry, cross-promotional activities will provide you with access to their social communities – and vice versa.
To successfully promote the event, strategize with the other company, and figure out the best way to attract leads. One example of a great cross-promotional activity is a customer-hosted webinar, which can be promoted using social media.
When your webinar host promotes the event on across his or her social profiles, not only will this increase the likelihood of attracting more registrants, it will also increase your company’s exposure.
3. Reaching out to journalists and bloggers
In the age of digital marketing, getting your company covered on a popular industry- related blog is the “Holy Grail”. However, this is easier said than done. Once the article is published, the blog is highly likely to share it across all of its social network pages.
Bloggers generally get inundated with pitches from thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of marketers just like you.
A combination of social media, and some sleuthing, can help get your company reviewed in a blog and ultimately bring in more customers. The key to this strategy is to create a “list” on Twitter of top “targets” for your outreach.
Following these writers will enable you to see if and when they write about topics related to your company. In a case where one of your targets writes a relevant article, reach out to them and make sure to reference the related article, both in your subject line and in the text of the email.
Most bloggers say that “just existing” isn’t a story, and this is true most of the time. However, identifying and reaching out to a writer who posts reviews of similar products or services is actually benefiting them – just as much as it benefits you.
4. Including share buttons
People tend to be lazy.If you want them to promote your company or share your content, you’re going to have to make it easy. It is imperative that all of your content feature accessible share buttons, so readers can easily promote your content, event or brand on their social profiles.
Who knows? This may even result in a huge company tweeting about your event.
5. Nurturing power users
One of the most desired assets for any company is an evangelist. These customers are so enamored with your product or service that they feel it’s their duty to tell the world about it. These “power users” don’t appear overnight; they result from a relationship that is built over time.
So how do you develop these relationships?
There is one thing that, more than anything else, will help you develop a list of power-users: a quality product. In order to develop the relationship, you first need to identify potential evangelists.
Look for customers or users who are actively use your product or service, as well as those who are already sharing and tweeting about your company. After you’ve identified your target, reach out to them and personally introduce yourself; this will humanize the company and make the user more comfortable promoting it to his or her friends.
Once you’ve firmly established a relationship with a power-user, it is time to reach out. You can begin to nurture this relationship by offering some incentives, such as reduced pricing or early-feature access.
Guest author: Mark Lerner is the Director of Online Marketing at Oktopost which is B2B Social Media Marketing Platform.
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