Why You Shouldn't Focus On Going "Viral"

If you've spent any time near or in your marketing department, you've heard the chatter: 
"How can we make this go viral?" "What's the virality potential?" "I want to make this super sharable so it'll go viral."

We're obsessed with making things "go viral," as if there's a magic formula. (My theory is crazy cat + nostalgic 80s or 90s song + humor)

Is that really what marketers should be focused on? As Seth Godin often notes, it's not always about getting the most people to listen; it's about building a community and identity around your product or service. By definition, that means some people will love it...and some will hate it. And that's ok.

Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing. Who cares that 32,000,000 people saw your stupid video? It didn’t market you or your business in a tangible, useful way.
— Seth Godin, "What Is Viral Marketing"

What makes something go "viral" isn't the presence of Kim Kardashian. It's the power of a single idea. And while we focus on the race to the bottom of click-bait (you wouldn't BELIEVE what happens next!!!!) we should be focusing on quality.

Related: The Power of Curiosity In The Workplace

Today's consumer is increasingly bombarded with advertising messages and content, content, content. We live in an age where information is at our fingertips—if we can wade through the heaps of irrelevant sales-y content that surrounds the information we need.

So at your next meeting, instead of thinking about how many people will share it, think about how many people will love it, have the idea resonate, and become a part of your community as the result of this piece of content.

That's a lot more powerful.