To Quote Seth Godin

No one sends an idea unless:

a. they understand it

b. they want it to spread

c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind

No one “gets” an idea unless:

a. the first impression demands further investigation

b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea

c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

1: Make people feel something

The most important trick of all is to create a very strong emotion. You need to have an opinion, to express an idea with commitment and dedication. You want people to:

•    be filled with love or hate.

•    be very happy or insanely angry

•    be an idiot or a genius

•    be deeply compassionate or an egoistic bitch

You want people’s blood to be pumping of excitement.

Forget neutral, trying to please everyone, supporting several target groups or any of the many ways to be unbiased. Viral marketing is 100% about emotions.

2: Do something unexpected

This one explains itself. If you want people to notice you campaign, you have to do something different – something unexpected.

Remember the bear being attacked by a man? That was unexpected – and it is one the most effective viral advertisements ever.

3: Do not try to make advertisements (that sucks)

One of the biggest mistake companies make is when they think viral marketing is just advertisements that people share – it is not. Traditional marketing is about promoting your product, showing how good it is, giving it center stage – and generally being incredibly selfish (and possibly using supermodels or movie stars). But guess what, nobody cares about you!

Viral marketing is all about a good story. When BMW put out BMW Films, the main ingredient was not the cars, but the story. Replace the car with another one, and it would still be great. When Sony made their Bravia TV ads, the product was not even seen – yet everyone remembers it.

Forget about you, your product or your company. Focus exclusively in creating a good and interesting story. Sure, you can add you product into the mix, but it must not be the most important thing.

4: Make sequels

People have just seen your campaign. They think it was interesting, unexpected and their emotions has reached a high level – you have their complete attention.

Now what do you do?

If you do like most companies you will simply do nothing… and that is a big mistake. When you got people’s attention you need to act, and one the best ways of doing that is to give them more – make sequels. This can be many things;

•    It can be extra movies similar in concept to the first one – like BMW Films and Nissan did.

•    It can be a behind the scenes look

•    Bloopers

•    A blog about the process (like Nissan did)

•    Extra material, goodies etc.

•    …or all of the above

Never leave people standing with nothing.