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Viral Loops

So what even is a viral loop? Let me just say it’s like a virus, but for marketing. One person gets infected and then they spread it to everyone.

Some examples of successful viral loops are from companies like Airbnb and Uber. They reinvented the wheel, but started off with very small consumer bases to get their ideas rolling before getting HUGE!

Airbnb started off with a very small number of property listings, in fact, you would first have to send which city you were looking at, along with your dates and then wait. Airbnb would then send you their ‘top picks’ based off your needs and as Thales Taxiera, associate professor at Harvard Business School says, “that’s probably all they had” (HBR, 2019).

But it was through delighting these first up-takers that they set the wheels in motion. These first Airbnb users told their friends, shared it on social media and then their friends did the same. Nice!

Viral loops create exponential growth for a business or idea; they go from zero to a million in a short amount of time i.e. go viral.

So how do you get your business going viral too?

Offer a Freebie for Inviting a Friend

AirBnb and Uber did this excellently with vouchers given in exchange for referrals. Dropbox is another prime example that builds upon its purpose to inspire more uptake; the more friends you invite, the more cloud storage you’re granted.

Make it Social

It’s human nature, we crave being a part of a community and interacting with others. Duolingo created this kind of community to send their language learning platform viral. Users interact with one another through the website or app to share information and ask for help, they are then rewarded for their contribution and receive badges for their language learning progress. Duolingo is also very good at reminding language learners to keep going if they’ve been quiet for a while. Maybe even too good…

Source: “Evil Duolingo Owl”

Do Something Good

Another way to inspire early adopters is to recognise their patronage with a donation to a charity or something else that creates good. An example is the search engine Ecosia, which plants trees based on its number of users. The organisation has planted over 50,000,000 trees which is a pretty admirable effort given the Google monopoly they’re operating in. Now that’s some good press!

While viral loops can skyrocket your business to dizzying new heights, none of it is possible without providing a great product or service that delights your customers. You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel, but what you’re offering or how you’re offering it has to stand out from your competition. Give your customers an exceptional experience!

Whether you’re starting out or wanting to send your existing business sky-high, Hunt & Hawk create custom solutions to excite your audience about what you’ve got going on. Reach out today and we can begin mapping out your pathway to going viral. Let’s soar high together.