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Social Networks and Viral Marketing in Your Business Plan

These days, anyone with a silly pet video can make a bundle on the Internet. Websites and even single items of web-based content strike gold when one person sends a link to ten friends, and those ten friends send it on to ten of their friends, and before too long millions of visitors are logging on to take a look.

Traditional businesses used to call it word of mouth, and everyone from Hollywood filmmakers to restaurant owners depended on it to drive customers their way. Today, in the virtual world, it has come to be called viral marketing, and it really can be the secret of success for certain kinds of businesses.

Despite its high-tech underpinnings, viral marketing requires something that couldn’t be more traditional: good content. Good in this case can mean many different things: entertaining, educational, informative, shocking, funny, or emotionally moving — whatever it takes to get people’s attention. Content can take the form of an educational video, a newsletter, an e-book, a news release, or the antics of a silly pet.

Viral marketing strategies aren’t appropriate for every business with an Internet presence, but when they are, they can be extremely powerful audience grabbers and money makers. If you think social networking and viral marketing are right for your business, include your strategy for taking advantage of them in the business plan.

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