Digital marketing that brings




quadra blog how to create a viral social media marketing campaign

Understanding how people interact with each other, what makes people share and influence each other, can be the key to making your marketing campaign go viral. People can communicate with each other quicker and easier than ever before with the help of social media and advancing technology. Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and Snapchat are just a few social channels that allow people to communicate and share. By utilising the power of sharing in your marketing campaigns you have the potential to get your campaign to go viral, gaining a bigger audience outreach and driving engagement and brand awareness. Understanding what makes people share content is the key to getting the most out of your marketing campaigns.


The secret of social and sharing

It’s no secret that to get your campaign noticed is to get people to share content, but actually doing this can be the hard part. Some of the recent viral hits on social media have not all been marketing campaigns, but can help demonstrate the core values of what makes people want to share.

Viral marketing 1


Influencing others to share for a good cause

Aimed at raising awareness for Cancer Research, this hashtag was set up by an unknown source. Originally aimed at simply raising awareness, the campaign ended up raising £2 million for Cancer Research UK in just 48 hours. If you’re actively on Facebook, it’s unlikely you could have missed it. The idea was simple. Women would take a photo of themselves without makeup, post it on Facebook, and tag their friends to do the same, including the hashtag #nomakeupselfie. Originally this campaign came under fire, with people suggesting it was little more than an opportunity for people to put up photos of themselves. Eventually, people began to donate money at the same time as uploading their photo. As more people got involved, more money was raised. The campaign eventually raised £8 million, which meant that Cancer Research could start 10 new clinical trials.

#nomakeupselfie is a great example of the power of sharing and influence. Tapping into the current trend of taking ‘selfies’ meant that it appealed to a lot of social media users. The addition of nominating friends to do the same helped the campaign to spread, as users felt compelled to join in.

Neknomination was a viral campaign that got out of hand but demonstrates perfectly how people can influence each other to share an idea and get it to spread.

Neknomination consisted of users filming themselves downing a pint, uploading the video to Facebook, and then ‘nominating’ three friends to do the same within the next 24 hours. A craze primarily focused on boys, what started off as something relatively innocent soon got out of hand, with participants downing more dangerous substances and mixes to out do each other.


Although neknomination got out of hand, like #nomakeupselfie, it went viral, and there are interesting similarities between the two that can be applied to marketing campaigns. 

  • Nominations - Getting users to tag friends and encourage others to get involved means the slight pressure to join in helps campaigns to go viral 
  • Trends - Tap into current social trends. #nomakeupselfie worked because it encouraged people to take selfies, a popular aspect of social media
  • Use different media - Neknomination utilised video, something different and exciting for users
  • Mix offline and online - Neknomination got users to film themselves offline and then upload it online. Watching users in the videos is what helped make it interesting and users enjoyed taking part because they physically had to do something.

Vemma - Using social influence to market their products

Viral campaign 2

Vemma is an American business trying to utilise the power of sharing and influence in young people, to get them to market their products for them. Vemma sells energy drinks and supplements specifically targeted at young people and currently spend no money on marketing or advertising. Vemma aim to get people to sign up to their programme and advertise the products for them, with promises of earning money in return. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the business, with a lot of people calling it a scam and a pyramid scheme. Regardless, the way they are trying to utilise young people as one of the core principals of their business is one worth learning from.

Vemma gets young people to advertise their products for them, by promising that if they get other people involved in marketing their products, they can earn money. They promise that people can earn big money and turn it into a full-time business opportunity.

Vemma works by getting people to sign up to become part of their marketing programme. When signing up, they are required to buy the products. The person then has to get other people to sign up to the programme, and the more people the person gets involved, the more money they earn. The person can then progress through levels, with different levels resulting in different rewards. Each level offers a new monthly salary (going up to pound100,000 a month) as well as a reward, which can range from a company car to a holiday.

To get people to sign up, people who are already part of the programme have a number of ways to get people together. A popular one is through meetings. I happened to be invited along to one my friend was holding. My friend who was holding the meeting invited some other people who are also part of the programme, and who have been relatively successful. One was even getting a company car the next month. The meeting consisted of them explaining how it worked, and showing us what we could earn. They focused heavily on how it was unlikely we would make millions in our chosen careers, and how Vemma was an easy way to make a profitable business.  Highlighting the difficulties of making money in the real world, whilst showcasing how easy it was to be involved with Vemma, made for a convincing case. They then told us we would be invited to a secret Facebook group with videos where we could find out more. Going home and viewing these videos, it was clear to see the similarities between the meeting and the videos, and how much of the same content from the videos we had already been told. It was repetitive as if the people from the meeting had learnt the videos, off-by heart.

Despite this, during the meeting they made a convincing case. With my friend holding the meeting and inviting along successful people she knew, I had proof that it worked. The stats they told us about people making money in the real world were convincing, making me believe that I wouldn’t be able to make big money in my chosen career. Highlighting how easy Vemma is also helped convince me that this was a good idea. What they did leave out was that you would have to buy over pound100 of the products every month. On further research, Vemma actually makes most of their money from the people on this programme having to buy the products, and little money from other people purchasing the products. The meeting was influential, but outside research showed me that it wasn’t as good as it initially seemed.

The key thing here is that the idea is to get people to tell their friends about the product and get them involved. Vemma is utilising the power of sharing and influence between people. Like #nomakeupselfie and neknomination, people are more likely to get involved once they see their friends doing it. It’s a powerful way to get people involved in a business, and is an interesting way to market your products. 

What they have in common

viral campagin 3

All three campaigns have something very specific in common. And that's that the people who take part, all care about the campaigns. All the campaigns have something that makes people want to share, makes people want to take part and get involved. Looking at it from Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, it is obvious that they all go to some way to be part of the pyramid.

#nomakeupselfie - Self-actualisation and Esteem. People cared about this campaign because it was to do with cancer, something that everyone cares about in some way. This links to self-actualisation, as people were doing something for charity. It also linked to esteem, as although it was about cancer and charity, people liked taking part because it meant they could take photos of themselves, receiving likes and recognition for taking part and boosting their confidence with the photo.

Neknomination - Belonging and Esteem. People cared about this campaign because they got to drink, something a lot of people in that demographic enjoy, and they got to try and look the best and the biggest, trying to out do each other with different drinks. This links to both belonging and esteem. People want to feel involved, like they belong in the group. Getting likes and recognition for the video meant they wanted to feel like they belonged with their friends, and they wanted to feel respected by others, boosting their esteem. Not taking part would have meant they would feel like an outcast, and so this would have put them outside of both belonging and esteem.

Vemma - Physiological and safety & security. This one goes to the core of the hierarchy of needs, physiological. This campaign is driven by money, and people wanting to have a lot of money so they can buy a lot of things. This is why people care about Vemma, as they are promised that they can make a lot of money very easily. It also links with safety & security, as it's about peoples need to have a secure job, where they can get a regular income to provide for themselves and their family.

Remember, part of the key to getting people on board of the campaign, to get people to share, is to make them care about the campaign. If people don't care, if the campaign doesn't offer them something in some way, then they won't share and they won't take part.

Does any of your campaigns fulfil any of those needs? Which one and how?

Power of influence

From looking at the three examples, aside from being driven by peoples needs, it is clear that the power of influence and sharing is strong. There are key reasons why the different campaigns work, and they all link back to sharing and influence.

#nomakeupselfie - This worked because people had to tag each other to ‘nominate’ their friends to also take a photo to raise awareness. People feel under pressure to do it, especially as it was for charity.

Neknomination - Incorporating online and offline made taking part exciting, as users got involved with video. Like #nomakeupselfie, as users had to nominate each other, they felt like they had to take part, particularly because of the demographic of those involved.

Vemma - Encouraging people to get their friends to sign up means the social proof that others are doing it encourages people to join. The core of the programme is to share the product and programme with others, and targeting this at a young social audience is the perfect way to get this to be successful.

Never underestimate the power of influence and the power of sharing. Below are five tips you can take away from the examples, to help with your next marketing campaign: 

1. Get people involved

People love to get involved with trends on social media. #nomakeupselfie is a perfect example of this. The more people that started to take part, the more people wanted to get involved themselves. Make sure your campaign is something people will want to get involved with by making it exciting for users, and make sure that people care about the campaign.

2. Make people want to share

 Social media is great because of how quickly things can spread. Try to incorporate social persuasion and get users to tag their friends like #nomakeupselfie, or try to encourage them to get their friends involved in other creative ways.

3. Keep it simple

Don’t overcomplicate things with hashtags, shares, likes and comments. Instead, stick to just one or two of these and keep it easy, quick and simple for users to get involved with.

4. Don't make it seem like a campaign

What #nomakeupselfie and Vemma both demonstrate is that although there is a bigger picture behind the campaign, people are more focused on themselves. For #nomakeupselfie, people want to be seen as doing some good, as well as having the opportunity of uploading a photo of themselves. For Vemma, people want to make money for themselves, and are not necessarily interested in the overall success of the business. Focus the campaign on people rather than the company, and people are more likely to participate.

5. Use different media styles 

Facebook is full of campaigns where you share an image and like the company page to win a prize. Try something different. #nomakeupselfie encouraged people to take photos of themselves and neknomination used videos and utilised both online and offline.

Trying different trends and different styles will make your campaign stand out and will grab peoples attention.  If you would like to find out more, or would like help with your marketing campaigns, then please get in contact



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