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How to Activate Viral Campaigns (or Why Social and Sharing Are Not the Same)

by Ben Straley  |  
February 15, 2011
  |  16,488 views

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to differentiate between "socializing" and "sharing"
  • The significant impact that social "sharing" can have on conversion and results
  • How to activate your super-influencers to market for you

By now, many marketers have dabbled in social media—launching contests, promotions, and branding campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. But what many marketers fail to understand is that "social" is not the same as "sharing."

Simply slapping up social media content and hoping it works to build brand awareness and drive sales is not enough. Many brands fail to get maximum exposure for their social media campaigns because they don't take the extra step to activate viral sharing of their content. And if marketers don't identify their key influencers and motivate them to share, they're missing out on the real promise of social media: Social content works best when it's shared.

People who visit a campaign link after it's shared with them convert at up to four times the rate of those who just happen upon it, according to some industry research. So when marketers encourage sharing, they are not just increasing campaign reach—they are dramatically boosting conversion.

So how can you get your large following on Facebook and Twitter, as well as bloggers who love your brand, to start sharing your content far and wide? What policies can you put in place today to turn your "followers" into "sharers"?

Here are three tips to activating your key influencers to share more and more often, so you can move your social campaigns to the next level.


1. Identify your 1%

You've probably heard about the 1% rule: Only 1% of your brand's social media followers are responsible for the majority of sharing. These "super-influencers" share your social media campaigns with their larger social networks, passing on links to your contests, promotions, deals, and other marketing campaigns.

These influencers are more than just fans, they're brand ambassadors. In fact, some companies using software to track and quantify the impact of word-of-mouth have found that super-influencers can drive up to 70% of all visits to their campaign pages—beating out display and search advertising as the most efficient driver of traffic to their sites.


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Ben Straley is the co-founder and CEO of Meteor Solutions; its technology and services platform increases campaign engagement, reach, and revenue via social sharing. http://www.linkedin.com/in/bstraley

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  • by Georgia Christian Wed Feb 16, 2011 via web

    Well put Ben! Thanks for laying it out so nicely for everyone, much appreciated. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  • by Bill Blake Fri Mar 4, 2011 via mobile

    Great article Ben.
    Can u recommend a few decent social media measurement tools for identifying key influencers? Many thanks

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