After a nice walk through Central Park and an afternoon feast of Chinese food – I sat down at my computer to write about viral marketing. While formulating some ideas, I casually looked up to see how many views were logged on a picture I posted earlier today from the park. I usually see around 15-35 views on my pictures, however this time I was surprised to see that my shot of the cherry blossoms near the central park reservoir had logged 324 views (link at bottom).

Turns out my picture had been “retweeted” by @EverythingNYC, then subsequently retweeted 11 additional times (by @Corcoran_Group, @NYITAwards, @blasiantendency, @MichelleRealtor, @Raphael_Bagi, @broadway_fan, @FashionRocka, @hudsonette, @VinoCaPisco, @mikebriggs2, and @EmilylovesBryan)

What made these 12 strangers pass my image on to their followers? Do they like me? Are they trying to promote me as an amateur photographer? (How nice of them!)

Unfortunately, I do not believe that these people were passing on my image to make a statement about me, the author (they don’t even know me) – but rather in reposting my image, they were trying to draw an association between the attributes of my image and their personal attributes. They did not post my image to promote me – but instead – they posted my image to promote themselves!

Based on this experience it seems clear that the success of viral marketing weighs heavily on finding messages that people will personally want to associate with. The secret is to help people promote themselves while also promoting you.

I suppose the hard part is actually finding the right ideas to make this concept to come to life. Perhaps a nature theme would work well? After all – who wouldn’t want to be associated with the first blossoms of spring, on a beautiful New York City day?


Going Viral
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