Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.
A mind-blowing 48 hours worth of videos are uploaded to youtube every single minute. As Kevin Allocca noted in his famous TED talk, there's only a teeny tiny chance that any of these go viral.
Approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month. Only a fraction, about twenty percent, of those businesses even survive past their first year.
We all want to succeed. We all want to be stars. So how can we apply the same three reasons that make videos go viral -- to our business? Not just to survive, but to really hit it out of the park?
1. Tastemakers. It's interesting that most of the videos that go viral are not necessarily ones that were just uploaded. They were there all along, for months, until the right person noticed them. The tastemaker, such as Jimmy Kimmel tweeting a hilarious double-rainbow video, accelerates its following.
This can easily apply to your business. Let's say it's chugging along, at its own pace. Maybe you're even growing. But what makes it go gangbusters? It's simple: You need to locate the right tastemakers in your business community. You know, those people or organizations that tell all their friends and followers, and become your biggest advocates. Find them, and capitalize on them. Consider giving them an incentive to tell their followers about you. Tap into the tastemakers, and their followers will follow. Suddenly you can see the same spike in your sales just like a spike in a viral video. When my fitness business aligned with lululemon in Denver, we saw a huge increase in activity when their whole team started working out with us consistently. One year later, we're opening our third location to keep up with the demand.
2. Community Participation. No longer is media just one-way, where you are spoon-fed a video because big bucks broadcasted it. We are living in a new world, where we all have the same access, and the audience defines the popularity. Viral videos get shared, talked about, and even re-mixed, all because people want to become a part of the sensation.
The same principle must apply to your business if you want it to go viral. In today's fast paced world, personalized experiences have become a new luxury. People want to become part of something, be heard, make a difference. Get personal with your community. Don't just spoon-feed them information. Let your audience, your customers, define what's popular when it comes to your products and services. Give them an opportunity to be creative and participate. For me, this is as simple as letting our gym members vote on a new logo for a shirt, what time to have class on Sundays, or color and size of our next batch of water bottles. Let each voice be heard, and that's what will get them talking about you and sharing about you with others.
3. Unexpectedness. There is a certain element of unexpectedness that helps make videos go viral. It's the "amazing that moment was captured on video" kind of moment that catches us off-guard and makes it worthy of sharing.
This is an interesting facet to apply to business: What is expected in your industry? What can you bring to the table that is the opposite of that, something totally unique, to get people to notice there's something different, in a good-different type of way? In the fitness world, we looked at everything that people expected at a gym - and we started off by creating the opposite. We now deliver the most authentic, ever-changing, people-driven workout experience.
Don't forget that unexpectedness can also have more to do with showing that you are human. Being authentic. Not being afraid to show your vulnerable side. Whether it's a video, or real life, these moments demonstrate something in human nature that we can all relate to. Remember, it's not about a canned 30 second commercial anymore. It's more important we find commonality with one another -- and that moment is real, it's true, and builds a connection that is worth sharing.
So next time you're strategizing over your next business decision, let go a little. The power is in your people: If you let your audience take some ownership in the culture of your business, you will let them help define the future of your business.
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