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Going viral is just like being cool. Just ask the Fonz, you're either cool, or you aren't. You're either going to go viral, or you aren't. The Fonz knows... Heeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy.....

Look, if you're trying too hard to be viral, well, it just ain't gonna happen. Ok, well maybe if you pay some giant ad agency a few million bucks to try desperately for you, it could happen. But for those of us who can't hire a mega-agency, the chances of going super-viral are poor.
According to a study from Jupiter Research, 20 percent of all marketers "plan to use viral marketing" next year. Um, ok, just exactly how are you going to do that when:
A. You honestly have zero idea on how to do it, and
B. You honestly aren't even sure what viral marketing is?
I remember reading a similar stat a few years ago about how every business was planning on using blogs for business. Here we are a few years later, and, while business blogging has taken off (not as fast as predicted), viral marketing is a completely different beast; one that is 100 times more difficult to do than blogging.
Corey Treffiletti of MediaPost explains it well.

Viral marketing is a phenomenon that occurs when the creative message you're trying to convey resonates deeply with the audience you're speaking to. If you're doing your homework and adequately planning the right messaging, with some incentive that clearly benefits the consumer, then viral marketing occurs. It's a confluence of research that results in pass-along and forwarding.

Homework or not, super viral success is a pipe-dream for most businesses, no, wait, not just for businesses, for everyone. Instead, small businesses should be focusing on niche-level viral efforts, only then might they have a chance of success.
But before you get started, remember the Fonzie rule. You can't try to be cool, you either are, or you aren't. Viral marketing is the same thing. If you're going to try, keep it simple, fun and take a few chances and just see what happens, but don't sweat it if it doesn't work.

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