A Look at the Successful Traits of Every Viral Campaign

A viral campaign is the bullseye for most marketing campaigns. To have your content shared organically on social media is what every content creator hopes for; to have it take the internet by storm is magic. The good news is viral campaigns can be engineered. It does take a bit of luck to really catch fire, but all successful viral marketing campaigns have a few things in common.

We plotted out 5 points you can follow as a plan of attack.


1.) Set a clear and realistic goal.

Ask yourself what it is you want to achieve. What are people most passionate about? What will resonate with your audience and motivate them to action? Asking yourself these questions will ensure that you have enough interest to make your viral campaign successful.


2.) Define your channels of delivery.

With so many options for social media, it’s important to pick the right one for your audience. So, figure out what they are using first. Is it Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? Or a combination of the three? Remember, just because you may have a favorite, that doesn’t mean your audience has the same.


3.) Content.

Develop content that not only informs, but inspires. The goal is to engage your audience on an emotional level, so give them something emotional to grab on to and claim some ownership of.

A wonderful example of this is the “Like a Girl” campaign from Always. On the surface, discouraging bullying of young women and girls may not seem to have a direct link to making women buy their products, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to put forth emotional content with a message that would be shared. It furthered their brand as one who cares about the world around them, not just a company pushing products.

You can see the viral video below here:

4.) Unite People.

Come up with a clever hashtag with a clear call to action to get people involved. Then, host an event that will bring people together for the cause and let them share their stories.

You may be able to piggy-back off of an already successful hashtag. For example, if you own a food based business and have an Instagram account, #foodporn is always an incredibly popular hashtag. Using this hashtag to push a new marketing campaign or product will guarantee an audience.


5.) Involvement.

Make sure you are encouraging people to like, share and post using your assigned hashtag. Then, you can easily connect whoever uses the hashtag to your website to drive even more traffic.

If you keep these points in mind you can build a strategy that will take your content viral—if the content is worthy. Think funny, touching, or a good cause. These are the things that unite us in life and online.


Founded in 2001, RUSSO is a strategic branding agency with offices in New Orleans, Lafayette and Nashville. RUSSO uses consumer insight to develop branding initiatives that effectively change the conversation — forming emotional connections between the consumer and the brand. To learn more, visit brandrusso.com.