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Hatef Yamini 4 min read

Viral Tactics: Firecrackers and Memes

citizen-marketers.jpgI joined what promises to be a very cool virtual book club lead by MarketingProfs. This is the book club’s first month and I hope it’s a big success. We’re currently reading, “Citizen Marketers,” by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba.

There’s a great chapter differentiating between filters, fanatics, facilitators and firecrackers. If you’re in doubt as to what makes content viral, this is a must-read. There are numerous examples that illuminate viral campaigns, but what struck me most was a reference to memes spread by firecrackers.

Before I continue, let's look at the what these two terms mean. Firecrackers are the one-hit wonders of social networks. They show up with something interesting (like a viral video) but they don't stay around.  After all, they tend to have only one very targeted message to convey. Therefore, unlike bloggers who update their sites frequently, firecrackers don't have a permanent home on the web. 

The term meme was coined by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book, “The Selfish Gene.” Memes distinguish an idea from the millions of others we might  be exposed to on any given day. Examples of memes include jingles, catchphrases and short videos that have a sticky quality. There are four stages of successfull meme replication:

  • Assimilation: the meme is noticed and digested
  • Retention: the meme gets stuck in your memory
  • Expression: the idea is personalized
  • Transmission: the host shares the meme with others

Are you interested in producing a viral campaign? Do your create messages have what it takes to become a meme?  If not, check out "Citizen Marketers." I think the concepts will help you take your messages to viral status. BTW, it’s not too late to get involved in the book club discussion of this book. Our deadline for reading the book is January 10th. If you’re interested in joining, send an e-mail to bookclub@marketingprofs.com.