The Viral Button Doesn’t Exist

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by Michelle Lawrence | Last Updated: Nov 25, 2020

There’s a lot of things I wish I had a magical button for. I want one to press and my for my laundry to be put away. I wish I had a button I could press and then a cute puppy would magically appear if I was having a bad day. And I wish I had a button to make something go viral. Sadly, none of these are real things...especially the last part. So why do so many senior leaders ask marketers to ‘make something go viral”? Don’t you think if marketers had access to that button, we would have used it by now? If we don’t have access to a viral button, what can we do to ensure the success of a campaign? Carla Cruz, Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Trinchero Family Estates, recommends testing everything and anything during her episode on the Real Marketers podcast. Stop the “Helpful” Suggestions Don’t get me wrong, sometimes marketing is just “try it and see what happens”. This is especially true for social (like this post). But a huge part of marketing that a lot of people in the organization don’t see is how much testing goes on behind the scenes. Marketers are no strangers to being on the receiving end of ‘friendly suggestions’. If we had a dollar for every time someone in our organization gave their two cents on marketing, we would all have enough to retire by now. Testing, my friends. The next time someone gives you a suggestion for marketing that hurts your soul a little, test it. It might be tempting to say “no” immediately, but what’s more powerful than data? The data you get back from running tests will make saying “no” a lot easier. Plus, it will help you stop being just an order taker. Get People Onboard With Your Crazy Ideas Another struggle marketers have is getting senior leaders or stakeholder buy-in. We’re no strangers to crazy ideas. Some of them are well-thought-out ideas, and others are a little out there. What can we say, marketers, are dreamers? So if we’re pushing the boundaries a bit, a good way to get stakeholders on our side is to test it out in a small way. And if you don’t happen to work at a tech company where things tend to move pretty fast, testing is a great way to speed up the process. The more evidence you have to back up your claims, the faster senior leaders in your organization will want to move to drive real results (regardless of the culture). Just Be Yourself  So no, marketers don’t have a secret viral button. But we do have the tools to get a bigger budget so we can expand upon our crazy ideas (that hopefully do go viral). Aside from tests, my last piece of advice to seeing a lot of success with a campaign is to be your authentic self. It’s okay to take inspiration from other brands (in fact, we actually encourage it), but if your idea is so far removed from your brand, it’s not going to translate well to your intended audience. Be innovative. Do something a little out of left field, but make sure it still feels like your brand. It’s hard to discuss viral content without bringing up TikTok. They just go hand-in-hand. If you’re curious how something explodes in popularity on the platform, or how you can grow your followers’ list, take a listen to this episode of Real Marketers, where Lauren Pope gives listeners the low-down on TikTok.

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