The concept that products, messages and behaviors spread in the same way as viruses is not a new one. The theory of memetics has been around for decades, and it recently spread through its own word-of-mouth epidemic started by Malcolm Gladwell‘s book, The Tipping Point.
As social media marketers, the question we struggle to answer is not whether ideas spread like viruses, but how we get them to do so.
In his latest webinar on the science of social media, Dan Zarrella explored this question. Through his research, Zarrella found that ideas don’t spread because they’re “good,” they spread because of a series of other factors, which his “hierarchy of contagiousness” explains.
In order for an idea to go viral, it must have three things:
1. Exposure: You must expose your audience to the idea.
2. Attention: The idea must grab your audience’s attention.