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Have you ever seen a funny video that many of your friends have been sharing on their feeds? I’m sure you have. Would you believe that some of them were planned to reach you? And many of your friends? That a big number of the posts you see online have hidden agendas? Yes, nowadays most of them are strategically planned.
Viral posts are a good tactic and they are designed from the start: funny videos, pictures, memes, PR stunts and other media that can possibly make their product go viral. Entrepreneurs spend nights on planning their posts so they could reach a designated number of people in order to get potential customer’s attention.
How does a post go viral? With help of network effects.
Network effects are the benefit gained by an existing user for each new user that joins the network. In it can also be someone who for example sees a picture on any social media platform, shares it and their followers do the same. These kind of network leads to viral growth: the more people share the same post, the faster the post goes viral.
Every digital marketer uses network effects. To get the desired reach on any social media platform, they have to get people involved with the post. Users either see the post, comment, or in the best case share with their friends and like/follow your page. This means that the marketer got a potential customer who is now engaged to the content: they are either waiting for more or will buy your product immediately.
Viral growth is a dream to any company: it generates a ton of users in a short time and it also generates press and buzz. This leads to the viral loop (which is the best achievement you can get through viral growth marketing).
The other concept which is similar to viral growth is increasing returns. If a product or company gets advantage, it gets further advantage – there are increasing returns. In other words – positive feedback. So, if you compete with another company, and by chance you get ahead with further advantage, you may dominate and even lock in the market (1994, W. Brian Arthur, tuvalu.santafe.edu).
Both viral growth and increasing returns marketing concepts are quite alike. You don’t have to be a software company to leverage both ways for your business. It’s important to analyze the problems you customers are trying to solve and create and automated way to help them solve it.
Krokan, Arne. 2013. Nettverksøkonomi – digitale tjenester og sosiale mediers økonomi. 1.utg Oslo: Cappelen Damm Akademisk
Arthur, W. Brian. 1994. Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in the Economy. Univ. of Michigan Press, Foreword by Kenneth J. Arrow. Reading date: January 27th, 2019: