The use of Viral Marketing is relatively simple. It’s about the fact that people pick up and pass on the marketing message on the internet and social media. That’s why it’s important to first come up with a marketing campaign that’s not just inspirational, but also easy to share via for instance Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn. The marketing message needs to grab people’s attention and generate interest right away. It’s also a good idea to choose a specific target group that is almost certain to pass the message on in their network. That’s why it’s wise to choose a marketing message that’s easy to share with friends, fans or followers. That way, the message can spread across the internet like an oil spill, and even influence other groups via the target group.
According to a paper by Duncan Watts and colleagues entitled: "Everyone's an influencer", the most common risk in viral marketing is that of the influencer not passing on the message, which can lead to the failure of the viral marketing campaign. A second risk is that the influencer modifies the content of the message. A third risk is that influencers pass on the wrong message. This can result from a misunderstanding or as a deliberate move.