Your favorite viral technique?


A number of viral techniques have been suggested to increase the membership of my website.

  • Encouraging users to "invite" their friends using an email invitation.
  • Allowing sharing content on other sites using a Share or AddThis button.
  • Using Twitter, Facebook APIs for messaging friends of users.
  • etc.

Do you prefer one technique over another? I'm looking for general guidelines.


Social Network Viral

asked Apr 29 '10 at 05:06
48 points
  • Besides unprotected sex? – Jason 14 years ago
  • I'm not sure whether this is tongue in cheek or not, but I love this comment. Almost missed it :) – User3272 14 years ago

5 Answers


If your website / application has user generated content, build in a feature to syndicate that content to social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, etc.

I think sharing or publishing content, that contains links back to your site, in a social context is a big win.

answered Apr 29 '10 at 06:00
166 points


Word of mouth (the old term for "viral", I believe) always works best when your members can easily communicate the benefits your that site has to offer to their contacts. How it is delivered is secondary.

On my site, a large group of users are actors. They can create a "Talent profile" and submit it to different casting opportunities, frequented by other talent.

Additionally Talent and Crew members can use a custom button linked to their profiles on my site, similarly to the one below.

answered Apr 29 '10 at 06:12
1,698 points
  • So customized badges or buttons.. Thanks. They're unique and can build a sense of loyalty which will result in users inviting their friends. – User3272 14 years ago


We've been using AddThis and have been pleased with a few things.

First - it's user controlled - it's up to the "sharer" how they choose to share.

Second - there are lots of options - everything from Facebook To Twitter to Digg to StumbleUpon, etc.

Third, it includes an e-mail option. Simple, user friendly and not intrusive.

In addition, there are some great analytical tools so that you can easily see which tools are being used the most on which content. You can't do that if you're just asking / hoping that people will use their own e-mail systems or post on their own to Facebook.

Last, people seem increasingly comfortable in using this.

Net - I'd vote for using AddThis.

answered Apr 29 '10 at 21:00
Warren E. Hart
2,181 points
  • I'm curious about this, do you have any kind of data about how much of your visitors coming from these websites? 20%? less? more? Personally I don't think they drive business unless somehow one of the stories hit the homepages of those websites. – The Dictator 14 years ago
  • With even just the basic analytics and reports from AddThis, you can see which elements of your content are shared the most and via which services - i.e., Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc. There are tools through which you can track specific referring pages for new visitors to your site but I haven't used those yet. – Warren E. Hart 14 years ago


If your target audience are young males - run a calendar girl competition. Done right, it would blow up your traffic.

answered Apr 29 '10 at 12:20
Alex Lam
699 points
  • Wish I could do that. That always works. A friend of mine went from being unemployed to 3M downloads of his sexy apps in 8 months. I have a professional demographic in mind. – User3272 14 years ago
  • For a professional demographics, it's all about out-blogging (linking everyone and everything) - it's not instant - but you essentially put in the effort to be the "techcrunch" or "mashable" of the industry. The viral nature is that you become the de-facto reference site. Very tough to create - but once you get over to the other side, you might wonder about why you were doing this in the first place. It's basically the Gawker / Scobleizer strategy. Another way is to look at your industry - and run interviews/roundtable meetings with the top "buyers" in that industry. Become the source. – Alex Lam 14 years ago


My favorite viral technique is to try, try, try, try and try again. For your audience, your could be any variety of things that will work. So keep trying.

answered May 1 '10 at 23:14
4,214 points

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