“Let’s put ‘share’ and ‘invite’ buttons wherever, and the product will spread like wildfire.”
This seems to be the popular belief about how to get products to go viral. Startup founders often confuse “viral” with “easy” and “viral growth” with “no strategy required.”
It’s true that virality is a great way to acquire new users for free and lower your customer acquisition costs. And, since free users are a great deal for any startup, it’s worth it to take advantage of viral opportunities. However, understanding the basics is important, so let me go through the most popular misconceptions first.
Virality is not a single feature. It’s a design principle. It’s not a result of good luck. It’s engineered. Forget about forcing users to use random share buttons. You must understand your audience and design a user flow that leads to sharing.