Viral marketing is the fastest and quickest way you can spread a message. Just ask Justin Bieber. But for every hit content piece that goes viral there is an Internet dump of content that got discarded or deemed irrelevant because no one saw it. You could also fill Tropicana Field with the amount of people that have tried to become viral sensations (and you'd also be the first person to do so). So what's the secret to going viral? Or at the very least, getting your content shared by a few people? We asked a few Internet sensations and they came up with these tips:
1 - Simplicity and consistency - There is a common-myth that viral content is an overnight success. In some cases yes it is, but behind every successful viral marketing attempt are numerous failed attempts by the viral marketer to get their content to catch on. Tyler Blake is one of the most trusted names in the sneaker industry. His sneaker reviews get seen by thousands on YouTube each week. "Viral marketing is a consequence of consistency...keeping constant contact up daily is by far and away the best, most organic and cost-effective way to create content that will ultimately become viral in how it spreads.' Said Blake. Blake is inferring that when something does catch on, people go back and review other 'attempts' by the viral marketer that all of a sudden see an uptick in engagement. Simplicity is also important. Stacy Lawrence is the mastermind behind that Happy in sign-language video and the Founder/Director of Deaf Film Camp. This clip was seen by over a million people and Pharrell himself even shared it with his fans. Lawrence says her videos are simple, heartwarming and easy to relate to. Everyone knows what sign-language is and who doesn't have a soft-spot for the deaf? Happy also happened to be one of the most popular songs of 2014/early 2015. Lawrence and the entire team timed this release perfectly.
2 - It's all about the product - Videos that get an emotion out of you will probably get an emotion out of other people. If something makes you laugh or cry you'll probably share it with people that may get the same emotion. Also, pick your battles. Create material that either will appeal to the masses (like the Happy video) or to a specific target market only. Then, keep trying different formats and production styles to see what works. Lastly, most YouTube and Internet sensations produce the content on their own. They have a general familiarity with green screens, video editing software and filming. By no means are they experts, but it saves them a ton of money on costs and allows them to get those valuable 'reps' in to perfect their craft. Lawrence herself is credited as the Video Producer of the Happy video. 'The audience loved our content, but its quality made it go viral!' She said. Blake's videos are usually on a green screen or in his apartment and he's successfully grown his following and established partnerships with some of the largest shoe brands in the industry. All from what seems to be his apartment.
3 - Pitch and promote - Let's be honest. The true secret sauce to becoming an Internet sensation or 'going viral' is persistence. Behind every viral marketing sensation, including Lawrence and Blake, is a huge desire to go viral. Everyone has heard how Michael Jordan was cut by his high-school team, Colonel Sanders' recipe was rejected by chicken restaurants 1009 times and Walt Disney was rejected 302 times for a loan to build Disney World. Each viral marketer probably has their own anecdotes like this about asking for likes or begging people to share their content with their friends in order to attract attention. Lawrence is a strong advocate of content promotion and pitching to the right audience. "Post your image or video on the right FB user's wall and it's around the world in less than an hour." She said. If you want an unexpected amount of views, shares and impact then you better be prepared to pitch and promote to a massive amount of people. At the start, Blake recommends to go local to get engagement up; talk to your existing customer base or people in your industry. Find people talking about your company or products like yours and jump in the conversation as a person of reference to solving a problem.
Going viral and mastering social media are not easy things to do. The web is full of Internet sensations and a graveyard for wannabe-Internet sensations. The good news is that it's never been easier for messages to get read, shared and distributed since individuals have become the media in many ways. You know that an engaged following can lead to massive opportunities, but you'll have to work at it just like every other Internet sensation has.
Still stuck? This report analyzes the most-highly engaged posts on 300 social media accounts. It also explains how B2B companies can attract customers on Facebook using viral marketing tactics!