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The best viral marketing sometimes just happens. Such was the case recently when hundreds of thousands of people shared a photo of a smiling man within minutes. The man has since come to be called The Ridiculously Photogenic Man.

Which is, uhm, a bit ridiculous.

But of course, it took off and soon after news and talk shows on TV were discussing him. Talk about going viral. It doesn’t get any more viral than that.

And the thing is, the man whose image went viral didn’t even know about it until after it happened. Not only was it not planned, but he didn’t even have knowledge of it. Still, he reaped the rewards of 15 minutes of fame and the Cooper River Bridge Run got some notoriety from it as well.

So here’s the eternal question. How can social media marketers learn to go viral using this meme as an example. What can we learn from it?

  1. No. 1, I think it’s important to point out that promoting someone else first can go a long way. The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health is a good cause. They didn’t plan this or have anything to do with it, but they certainly can reap the benefits from a viral meme that spun out of control.
  2. Step back and let it run. Don’t force it. Let others take the ball and run.
  3. Just put it out there. You never know what will happen if you put a little drop into the stream. That’s a metaphor for “just do it.”

Viral marketing doesn’t always have to be planned. Sometimes the best way to get a little attention is to be spontaneous.

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