Using SMO on Social Networks to Seed Viral Marketing Campaigns

Right off the bat let me say this: these viral seeding techniques are risky. They can pay off big time, but there is a chance they could backfire. Be sure to do your risk-benefit analysis before attempting anything like this. Even if you decide against it, its always good to know how to edgy marketers can seed viral content via social networks.

You made a sweet viral video for your online viral campaign, and you just know that as soon as the right people see it its going to spread like wild fire. But first you’ve got to hit that critical mass and demo, how? If you’ve got deep pockets you could buy some traditional media and get the ball rolling that way, hell, you could even use offline triggers to drive traffic to your online efforts.

But online viral marketing is supposed to be cheap, isn’t it? It’d seem pretty antithetical to make a great guerrilla campaign and then promote it via old media glossy pages. A more fitting way is to use social media optimization on social networks to seed your creative, ideally reaching the critical tipping point by pinpoint targeting your demo.

One of the most important ways to do this is via a form of social media optimization, at each site you’ll leverage to spread your message, it will improve reception and engagement if you use a well-known username or persona. This is probably the most difficult and time consuming task involved in using SMO to seed viral marketing campaigns, but it pays off.

If your target is college-aged males (a great viral video vector), you could make create a character across multiple sites that represents a college-aged peer (maybe even a cute one). A Myspace profile, delicious, digg and youtube accounts and a blogger blog. Building the persona a few months ahead of time and seeding the creative as subtly as possible is the only realistic way to be successful.

Remember, however, that you’re walking a very fine public-relations-line and there may be better ways (like the spoon model) to leverage social media optimization.

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