At the beginning of August, I gave the closing keynote at the AMA Nonprofit Marketing Conference, a presentation called "The Worst Nonprofit Marketing Advice I've Ever Received." Oh yeah, it was a good one! I rolled 20 of the worst pieces of advice into a quick 45-minute presentation and offered some better advice to the audience. Here is one of my favorites: "Just make it go viral."
I get this a lot, unfortunately. The problem is viral does not equal organic. Am I stating the obvious? Not to some. This piece of marketing advice can be very frustrating to hear, but there are so many elements of successful viral campaigns that you can steal from.
First things first, you need to change your expectations of what viral means for your organization. Viral means that people share, and it spreads. So, what can you say or do that will inspire people to do that?
Next, narrow down your audience, so it doesn't seem like such an uphill battle (like getting 300 million Americans to participate!?). Start with your close circle of supporters first.
My next best advice is to dig into what has been popular among your supporters. For example, what has been your most shared post this year or in the last few years? Can you duplicate that, even if it's something as singular as sharing a photo?
Remember, your "viral" idea only has to be the size of a nibble. Something simple and easy. Once you have an idea, create a campaign around it. Have a plan for your close supporters to participate and a way for their networks to get involved, too. Then you can call it viral!