Viral Marketing

In this digital world, we are much more exposed to media through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, coming across many viral videos and posts that are the hot topics which everyone around us talks about. Viral marketing is a business strategy that uses existing social networks to promote a product. Its name refers to how consumers spread information about a product with other people in their social networks, much in the same way that a virus spreads from one person to another.

I’m sure most of us have heard about the Daryl Aiden Yow saga back in 2018. Daryl is a local photographer/influencer based in Singapore, with a professional Instagram page filled with beautiful photos that appear to be taken with his own camera. However, it was found out that his photos were taken from Shutterstock images and other sources, and then photoshopped himself inside of the photos, to make it look as if he was at the location when the photo was taken.

According to the STEPPS Framework from Jonah Berger, I feel that the message characteristics are the most important in becoming viral in social media. The 6 STEPPS are, Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value, and Stories.

Social Currency – Since Daryl is a local influencer, many people would have heard about him, which holds high social currency because it is an interesting topic that would get people gossiping.

Triggers – Top of mind awareness comes into play for this factor. Using the viral topic as leverage for promoting a product or service is a brilliant and cost-effective way.

Emotion – In this case, the viral topic can trigger anguish or arouse curiosity from one person to another.

Public – This topic was discussed amongst many and even big companies like Sony were involved, sparking public attention.

Practical Value – There is much to take away from this viral saga, for example how not being honest in your field of work can land in hot water.

Stories – People who follow Daryl on Instagram are his vessels for information travel, where stories are being spread about him.

Check out THIS ARTICLE about how airline company Scoot made use of this saga as a marketing gimmick to promote their own services!

Now imagine that instead of Daryl, the person accused of copying other’s work was not someone who is Instagram famous, but just an ordinary photographer that is trying to get his work noticed? Do you think that the same thing would happen to him? Let me know in the comments!


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