Social Media

Viral Marketing Initiatives

Has your campaign gone viral yet? No? You had the perfect video spokes-person, clever dialogue, kick-ass cinematographer, and made sure your content was uploaded to YouTube. What went wrong?

Well, let’s take a step back for a moment to define what viral marketing is. It’s basically free advertising or word-of-mouth marketing that occurs when a key formula for viral content is used.

“Key formula?” Yep. That’s right. 5 simple characteristics that let it loose in the digi-sphere. Without them, it would probably be difficult to get noticed.

What are the 5 Characteristics of Viral Marketing?

  1. Gives freebies
  2. Is Shareworthy
  3. Has popularity factor
  4. Uses multiple communication vehicles
  5. Endorses influencers

Can You Elaborate a Little Bit More?

Let’s examine the following examples below, shall we?

In 2015, the film Straight Outta Compton was released on the big screen. When Universal Pictures partnered with Beats to promote the biopic, the campaign became Twitter’s, Instagram’s, and Facebook’s #1 trending topic within 24hours.



Though Straight Outta Compton had an anticipatory fan-base that waited for its release, we can still learn why this campaign went viral.

  1. Straight Outta Compton gave away a free meme generator causing thousands of fans, and prospective fans to generate fun, and shareworthy social media posts. The meme generator was called “Straight Outta Somewhere,” allowing anyone to represent where they were from – hence the premise of the film.


  1. The film became shareworthy due to the Straight Outta Somewhere meme generator. In other words, the meme generator worked so well because it granted consumers creativity by making them feel part of the campaign. Also, memes were and still are a popular trend – thus, the app was right on schedule.
  2. Without question, popularity was a factor in Straight Outta Compton’s marketing campaign. Why? Because the biopic characters brought their built-in fan following with them.  Additionally, hip-hop music is the most listened to genre worldwide, and its culture has influenced American citizens and society. The film followed the evolution of hip-hop and how it promoted social awareness in different communities. Overall, the film topic resonated with thousands of fans and citizens.
  3. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, and SEO were used for Straight Outta Compton’s promotion. All of which were communication vehicles that drove the film to $200 million in earnings for 2015. When creating a campaign, social media marketers should know to target their intended audiences with digital ads – a tool that each social network and search engines are equipped with.






  1. From observing the five characteristics of a viral marketing campaign above, it is easy to identify that Straight Outta Compton leveraged celebrities for promotion. Not only was the biopic about the former rap group N.W.A., but due to its meme generator, gained free marketing from celebrities who weren’t paid to endorse the film.







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