The essence of viral marketing is making one customer sell to the other, says Musk. Instances of this include Friendster, hotmail, PayPal. The customer must love the product experience to recommend it, he notes.
Annoy your friends and family - The easiest network to tap into. Even if none of them have a direct interest in using your service, they likely know someone that might.
Exhaust your existing networks - Call your past clients to catch up, and let them know about your new venture. Send an email to that blogger or newspaper reporter that you kinda know, and pitch them an article. No name in your contact list should go unused.
Expand your existing networks - Attend industry events, trade shows and local startup meetups. Make a conscious effort to actively engage with people relevant to your niche, be it customers, influencers or potential business partners.
Form alliances - Is there a group or a person your target audience already trusts? Offer them a strategic partnership. You can sign an exclusive sponsorship agreement or give them an opportunity to use your services for free. Either way, aligning your brand with influencers and established industry players can work wonders early on.