Leveraging Viral Marketing

What Is "Viral Marketing?"

Viral marketing is a technique that leverages people to spread a marketing message to others, creating potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence.

Viral marketing relies on effective yet approachable communication. Students are bombarded with messaging every day from all sides, and thus they are most likely to pay attention to information that reaches them through the sources they regularly access and trust.

Consider these tips for using viral marketing to recruit SVLs on a college campus:

  • Tap into existing networks on campus, such as clubs, fraternities/sororities, academic departments, or the volunteer/service-learning office.
  • Use word-of-mouth. Once you have a core group of volunteers or student volunteer leaders, they will be your best advertisement to recruit more students. They can spread the word faster through their networks than you can from a single point of entry on campus.
  • Utilize more online and fewer printed materials. Online social networking sites, such as Facebook, are popular among students and are now mainstream marketing techniques. These sites are a free means of spreading information. Online calendars, blogs, and article submission to online newsletters and electronic news sources are also effective means of paperless marketing and communication.
  • Highlight the benefits of service in a way that taps into students’ motivations, so they are more inclined to spread the word.

For Example: Using Blogs and Discussion Boards for Recruitment

Students will reply to blogs or posts with their own questions, answers, and opinions. In addition, they are more likely to continue to communicate with these vehicles after they’ve already become involved, thus increasing your chances of new recruitment and retention. An added advantage of is that students are likely to trust each other as much, if not more, than they are an outside source.

Once you have explored all the marketing and recruitment techniques you will utilize for your recruitment plan, you can finalize your strategy and get busy recruiting.