In a world where social networks can be the success or death of a business idea, viral marketing has become a hot topic. Every business wants to capture the success that can come from the millions of views awarded by a clever or funny piece of media. Many new startups have used the momentum from such campaigns to become well-known brands, getting a secure foot in the market. But getting your branded video out there may not be as simple as you think.
The hurdle to bypass when dealing with viral marketing is that businesses must rely on potential consumers to share their media. Unlike with more traditional methods where the basis of paying for more or better quality advertising space results in success, viral videos rely on the target audience to pass it on. This means that there appears to be a certain amount of luck involved with the success of any viral marketing campaign. Many times the investment of time and money has been met with negativity. Even worse planned viral campaigns often fall flat, gaining little exposure at all. But is it simply luck or smart business?
Viral marketing tends to work by pulling at the emotions of the audience. The most common uses of this are to make the story humorous, sad, or heartwarming. An example of this would be a person rescuing a stray dog and the story of its recovery. The media takes the viewer on an emotional journey, which creates a connection between the two. If the content strikes a chord on an emotional level with a viewer, they are much more likely to share it.
Going into the production of your intended viral media, it is important to plan the reaction you intend to create. Your product or service may already have a tone associated with it to help the planning process.
Make it topical
Making your media reflect current events can be an effective method of bringing interest to your marketing campaign. If an event such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day is approaching and can be related to your product then do so! Providing a shared context for the audience to relate to lowers the barrier of entry to your media. There will also be already a social media and search engine upwelling for your campaign to ride on. Obviously, the quality of your viral media is still important, but having the benefit of a popular event behind you is nothing to shrug at.
The whole point of a viral marketing campaign is to get your brand out there. But you don’t want to be shoving it into the face of your target audience. The worst thing you could do is turn an indifferent audience into a negative one. First and foremost it needs to be entertaining, be subtle or wait til the end of the video before the sell. You want to engage before introducing your brand.
Just because there is an element of luck involved with viral marketing doesn’t mean you have to leave every aspect to it. Have a detailed plan of every stage of your campaign ready. You’ll need a solid social media presence to base your campaign from. Get a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other accounts you think you might need already set up. You’ll need somewhere for the first shares to come from. Perhaps create teasers or short clips of the video in preparation.
Have test audiences and any contacts you have within your industry give feedback. You need to know if your desired emotion or affect is being conveyed. Your piece needs a solid foundation from which to grow, lay it well before proceeding.
A market for all
Viral marketing is a method which is employed by the largest businesses out there. The billion-dollar businesses will throw their financial weight around to get the hits, but they are not the only players. Because of its ‘viral’ nature, there’s room for small businesses and startups to get their product seen by the masses. A well timed, interesting campaign can be a cost-effective way for any business to market.