According to a recent study, one in twenty Internet visits went to social networking sites during September 2006, which was nearly double the traffic of the previous year. Social networking is no longer focused solely on the social, but is quickly entering the realm of the business world. Facebook is doing an about face and is transforming itself into a powerful marketing site. For some time now companies and marketers have been launching campaigns on MySpace. But knowing that there is an audience there and capturing that audience is not the same thing.
Another report states that viral marketing is not the end-all online marketing tool that many would suppose. Their findings showed that only fifteen percent of viral marketing campaigns truly paid off. What a company is looking for with an effective viral marketing campaign is an exponential positive word-of-mouth explosion and, overall, that has not been the result of the majority of the campaigns.
The word-of-mouth effect is not nearly as easily tapped as one would
expect. One of the major upsides of traditional PR, is that when done
consistently in a systematic targeted manner, it can generate an amazing amount of positive word-of-mouth. The positive effect comes not only from the media exposure, but from the media venues themselves. To gain coverage in the Wall Street Journal or CNN, or Newsweek is to instantly validate yourself and or your product or service. If you're smart, you'll utilize your media coverage in your overall marketing strategy and maximize on the power of the media coverage.
This is not to say that a savvy viral marketing campaign can't reach your target market, but it's tougher than most think. If you want a truly effective word of mouth campaign, it's really not an either/or decision that you want to make, marry a well targeted viral approach to a comprehensive PR campaign and you'll end up with the best of both worlds.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2007
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