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Manti Te’o Hoax: A Case Study In Virality


There’s really nothing I can say about the Manti Te’o debacle that hasn’t been said better by Deadspin, or that’s actually relevant to online marketing in general…

Except this: The Te’o hoax is giving us an awesome chance to watch a viral story in action as it evolves across all the social media platforms.

In last month’s WWN webinar (exclusive to DM Lab Members), we talked about scooping up relevant news stories to create viral campaigns. Well, if there’s any way you can piggyback on the Manti Te’o story as it unfolds… LOTS of social media marketers would urge you to do so.

For example, if you happen run an online dating website, you might post a Facebook image promising “100% Non-Fake Girlfriends.”

If you run a website that specializes in teach members to pickup women (as I happen to know that a few of our members do), I post a banner that said, “Never spend another night Te’oing… Learn how to pick up a real woman!”

As I scrolled through my Facebook news feed, I came across a very timely viral t-shirt design (see nearby photo). Sure, Skreened may not sell a boatload of these t-shirts, but think about how many new Likes they’ll get with this stunt. Think of how much traffic this design will drive to their eCom site?

No matter what you think about the Te’o situation, there’s little we can do but to sit back and enjoying the exploitation of the tragedy hoax conspiracy viral case study…

Virality: Te’o Best of

  • Facebook — I already mentioned the t-shirt design above.
  • Tumblr — A whole new Tumblr pagesprouted up overnight, dedicated to the meme d’ jour: “Teoing”
  • Twitter – A quick scan of the hastag #Teoing on Twitter shows how many (other) media outlets are trying to glom onto the viral phenomenon.

Speaking of exploiting a viral news story… SHARE links to all your favorite Teoing pics and tweets in the comments section!!


About Josh Loposer

Josh is the managing editor of Digital Marketer, as well an aspiring novelist. Find out more about what Josh is working on on Facebook, Google, or on his website.
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