5 Keys to Creating a Viral Promotion

Posted in: Digital marketingLast update: 28/03/19

We have recently carried out a study to find out if users share their participation when taking part in online promotions. The results of the study have been very revealing: over 54% of users viralize the promotion across at least one social network. But, which factors ensure that users share a campaign online? In this post we outline the 5 keys points that you should keep in mind when creating an effective viral campaign.

Below, we present 5 keys to creating viral contests and promotions:

  1. Create promotions which attract high levels of participation
  2. Use mechanisms which foment virality
  3. Pay attention to the content
  4. Boost communication with users
  5. Plan your diffusion strategy carefully

1. Create a promotion that attracts a high level of participation

Promotions which manage to attract a lot of users have a greater potential for virality. More participants mean more possibilities for users to share, invite and viralize.

But how can you create a promotion which will attract the greatest possible number of users? Below we give you the main ingredients that you should include when designing your online campaigns:

Design a simple promotion which can be participated in quickly

We’ll never get tired of saying it: simple works. The promotions that work the best are the ones that allow the user to participate quickly and easily.

Example: Present a simple registration form that the user can complete rapidly. By simply participating, the user enters into a final sweepstake. You can add extra emotion by applying the Instant Win mechanism, so that participants can discover right away if they have been lucky or not.

If you want to make it more fun you can top off the promotion with a quiz, so that users have to guess the correct answer to a question. Make it easier to answer by asking a single question that can be answered via a simple click. This ensures that users don’t have to waste time typing.

5 keys to creating a viral promotion

Offer an attractive prize

We know how important the final incentive is in attracting users to a promotion, so think of a prize that will be appealing and valuable to your community or target audience. If the prize on offer is attractive, people will be more likely both to participate and to share the contest with their friends, hence viralizing the contest.

Example: if your brand is specialized in the sale of baking and cooking products, offer one of the products in your online store as a prize.


2. Organize mechanics for promotions that foment virality

Apply mechanics for contests which enable you to award those users who viralize the promotion most. How? We explain the 2 mechanisms that can help you achieve this:

Recruiters system

Organize a promotion and apply the recruiters system. This will enable you to choose the winner based on the number of new users that each participant manages to bring to the promotion. In the study we made to find out how users share promotions, we discovered that when the contest awards users who manage to convert their friends in participants using the recruiting system, the rate of sharing rises to 99.31%.

Example: Heat Design Facebook Page organized a promotion with a simple mechanism: users had to invite and recruit their friends to the contest to increase their chances to win:

5 keys to creating a viral promotion

Organize a multiple choice test

Another mechanism for incentivizing viralization is a multiple-choice test. This enables you to display personalized results messages to users depending on their answers, with the option of sharing and viralizing the result obtained. The possibility of showing the user a personalized message, which in some way transmits his or her tastes and personality, is key to making the questionnaire become viral. This is because, according to this study published by the KissMetrics blog, the most-shared type of posts in Facebook are those that communicate something about the person who shares them, while at the same time permitting the users to strengthen a link with their friends and contacts.

Example: It’s holiday time and in your travel agency you want to help your customers to discover their ideal destination, based on their personality and preferences. To do this, present them with a series of multiple-test questions, and you will be able to show them, on the final page, their ideal trip based on their profile and tastes. Users will have fun taking part, while at the same time obtaining personalized information to help them organize their next holidays. This will encourage them to share the result with their friends and contacts so that they also have the opportunity to find out their ideal destination and gain access to useful information.

3. Pay attention to the content: texts and images

One of the most important parts of the promotion is the message that it transmits to your followers by way of campaign images and texts, which can be personalized to fit the type of action you have planned.

With the aim of encouraging your followers and objective audience to participate, and above all, to share the promotion with their friends, we suggest you keep the following points in mind:

Work carefully on the design

Little design and personalization details make all the difference and will ensure that your promotion is unique. To achieve this, don’t forget the following factors when personalizing and designing your campaigns:

  • Use original and creative images, which provide the promotion with its own personality, as well as allowing the user to see what the promotion consists of.
  • Personalize the colors of the promotion, adapting them to those of your own brand and to the images that you will use to present content.

Personalize the content to be shared

To ensure that users who share the promotion manage to attract new users, it is important to also work on the message and image that will be shared when they share the promo or invite friends to take part. To do this, customize a different viral message for each situation and objective: recruit, obtain votes, share the personalized result of the test, etc.

Write the viral content in the user’s voice

When a user completes the sign up to a promotion, he or she becomes a campaign participant. This means that if we want to encourage them to share the promotion with friends, it is more effective to write viral texts in the first person. This viral message will be shared to the participant’s timeline so it will appear to their friends as if the participant had written it personally, as in this example:

15-04-2015 12-29-25

Explain to them why they should share

Don’t forget to explain to users why they should share. If one of your objectives is to encourage users to viralize the campaign, you should explain to them the motive for doing so; this will depend on each campaign.

Example: In the case of applying the recruiting system, don’t forget to communicate to your users the number of friends that they should recruit in order to be eligible for the prize or be considered to have a valid entry in the contest. A good space to do this is the final page of the promotion, where the share buttons are highly visible, and where you will be able to take advantage of the final text and image to remind them what their challenge is.

Find out how to personalize the viral content of your campaign.

Encourage users to share at any time

The context or moment of participation at which the user finds him or herself, influences what he or she will wish to share at that point; as administrator, you can personalize these messages according to each page of the promotion. Here are some examples:

  • The final Thank You page is the page that the user accesses immediately after participating. If the participation was a good one, he or she will want to show it to friends and will be more likely to share and viralize the promotion. With this objective in mind, the share buttons are highly visible on this page. You will also be able accompany the share button with a text that invites and encourages the user to carry out the action you want them to, as in this example:
15-04-2015 14-48-30
  • When organizing a voting contest, the participants list page will also enable you to communicate with friends of the participant, who are voting for their favorite photo, by showing them a message encouraging them to viralize:
    5 keys to creating a viral promotion

 Some tips:

  • Title: Think of a short title which also includes a call to action and the prize to be won. It’s also a good idea to indicate the type of promotion in the title (sweepstake, photo contest, quiz, etc.).
  • Description: Describe clearly what the promotion entails and what users should do to participate. It includes the key promotion dates and also mentions the prize on offer.
  • Viral image: Upload a viral image. This will be shown when users share the promotion.

4. Boost communication with participants

Study the design and content of the promotion in detail; think of a mechanism that will hook users; offer an attractive prize that will be seen as valuable to your community. These are undoubtedly the main factors that will help you attract users to your promotion.

However, once we have got users to participate, it is also important to create and maintain a fluid channel of communication with them. In this way you can, for example, thank them for their participation, offer them exclusive content (coupons in PDF format or discounts), inform them of the next steps in the promotion, etc.

Also, maintaining communication via email with users while the promotion is active can be an opportunity to motivate participants by informing them of their progress and achievements, and about the challenges they have overcome so far in the contest. This communication will help to keep them interested. Here are some ideas on how to motivate your participants via email:

  • In the case of a recruiting contest, congratulate the user by email for every friend they manage to recruit. If they haven’t completed the set task yet, your email will encourage them to keep viralizing.
  • If you organize a multiple-choice questionnaire, send the user’s personalized message to them by email so that he or she can keep it.
  • If you organize a voting contest, remind participants that they have not yet obtained the minimum number of votes necessary, or congratulate those who have achieved their objective.

Users appreciate these types of communications, and you are also humanizing your brand.

Discover how to keep in contact with participants via the Easypromos Emails Platform.

5. Study the diffusion and communication strategy of the campaign

As well as designing a promotion that will attract users, it is important to plan a communication and diffusion strategy that will also help you obtain this objective.

To this end, when designing your communication strategy you should ask yourselves questions such as: What is the audience that you aim to attract with this promotion? Via which channels will you promote the campaign? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram? Do you have a database with participants of past promotions who might be interested in your new promotion? Do you have a budget to invest in promotional actions such as Facebook Ads?

You should now study how to communicate and promote your campaign according to your objectives and the resources at your disposal.

Find out 20 practical hints and tips for giving greater visibility to your campaigns and ensuring they have the greatest reach possible.

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Carles Bonfill

Easypromos CEO and co-funder