Social media consultants are quick to cite examples of companies effectively using online viral marketing to drum up exposure. Besides the difficulty of predicting whether something will actually “go viral”; it is unclear whether this marketing strategy is effective for service professionals. Clearly we are making a differentiation between “viral marketing” and “word of mouth marketing“.
Word of Mouth Marketing is when customers and colleagues refer you new business based on a positive experience.
- A client of yours recommends your services to a family member over Thanksgiving dinner
- A fellow business colleague shares a positive story in a company newsletter about a time when you provided services above and beyond
- A competitor recommends your services believing that you may be able to better serve a particular client
Viral Marketing has a slightly different connotation; increasing brand awareness by creating gossip worthy media.
- Ray Ban receives over 2 million YouTube views for their video featuring people catching Rayban glasses on their face
- Skittles creates a Facebook application that allows users to associate their personality with a candy color
- Simpsonize yourself, a professional for The Simpson Movie which allows members to submit their picture and receive a cartoon rendition of themselves
Many social media experts are intent on selling their small business clients on the “viral” effect.
Do you think viral marketing is an effective strategy for service professionals? i.e. Attorneys, accountants, financial planners, realtors, web designers, programmers etc.