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SES Session: Igniting Viral Campaigns
Monday, August 18, 2008
The second session of the day. I was not sure what to expect with this one. I was looking forward to hearing Jennifer Laycock from Search Engine Guide speak on this subject and was not disappointed.

The session started with Chris Winfield from 10e20 where he discussed the basics of social media. He stated that social media is basically a giant online conversation. He discussed a number of components of social media including:
  1. Blogs and microblogs. Highly consumable format for social media users.
  2. Social Networking is another component.
  3. Online Video – a great way for your message to spread
  4. Forums and Groups – some of the most powerful areas where your message could spread. Mentioned a cool site to check out: http://rankings.big-boards.com
  5. Social News and Bookmarking
He mentioned the type of content that tends to go viral. This type of content includes:
  • Lists
  • How To's
  • Surveys
  • Something that is very comprehensive and acts as a strong resource
  • Something with a strong opinion
  • Best Of's
  • Tools/Calculators
  • Video
  • Widgets
Some viral marketing tips Chris mentioned included:
  1. Have clear goals/objectives
  2. Promote Great Content
  3. Contribute to Communities
  4. Make the sites work together (think YouTube + StumbleUpon for example)
Fionn Downhill of Elixir was also a featured speaker and she started out by discussing Nielsen stats that 78% of respondents stated that they trust recommendations from consumers. She touched on an interesting myth that Web 2.0 and viral marketing costs a fortune. The fact is that using Web 2.0 takes time and a strategic plan and does not have to cost a lot of money. Downhill listed a number of elements of a viral campaign which included items such as:
  • Giving away products and services for free
  • make it easy for people to share your information
  • viral marketing exploits common motivators and behaviors
  • work to utilize existing communication networks (she mentioned newswire services such as PR Web as an example)
  • Take advantage of others' resources
  • there is a strong need for Great quality Content
She also mentioned a few ways as to how to enable viral marketing through news alerts, syndicating your content, RSS feeds, and conversion trigger links such as "Add this to your site". Use sites such as tubemogul to distribute your video to multiple aggregators. Most important of all, have a plan for your viral marketing efforts.

Finally, Jennifer Laycock was up next. She is a savvy veteran who really came to the table with three things to remember on viral marketing:
  1. Understand your customer (go where they go, frequent their online space and learn their habits.)
  2. Be remarkable (do something different). We agree entirely.
  3. Be persistent - keep at it
Great stuff. Overall not a bad session, but it did have it's lulls.

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