Going Viral (Revisited)

Back in February 2013 we visited the idea about going viral (video viral that is), and although somethings have changed since then, it's amazing how many have stayed the same...

One of the most successful new types of marketing out there are Viral Video's.

From being broadcast on the news, to the breakfast show jocks talking about it, and that funny email video you get sent - they are everywhere.

Over Christmas you may have seen those SPCA Dogs drive a modified Mini Cooper.
You may have seen it first on Facebook, or Twitter, heard the Coast Crew talking about it, and/or seen it first on the news.

Wow you thought, I need to do something like that for my business/brand/product...

But is it really that easy?

Let me lay an interesting statistic or two on you...

1. There's a 1 in 10 million chance that something you do will become viral.
2. Considering the content, and daily updates on You Tube and the like, your chances are less than winning with the lottery. 

Plus, people think viral video's are cheap to produce - they can be, but the majority will cost you the entire marketing budget you may have for at least two years.

Can you be without that budget if it fails, and no one watches it?

There are 5 general rules I give people who are thinking about Viral Marketing Campaigns:
1. Is your business/product/brand really worth talking about?
2. Do you have enough social media channels that contain engaged followers to plant the "Seeds" so the video will go viral in the first place?
3. Is your idea for the Viral related to your brand, or not?
4. What is your core message, and who is the intended audience?
5. Is this idea of yours distinctive enough, that all of the resources you have (and more than likley more) will be enough to make it go viral?

Let me now give you some home truths.

It is a myth that viral campaigns are a great substitute for "real" marketing and advertising, because people think they can't afford the usual media outlets.

It isn't all about the number of hits that a video gets on You Tube either - hits can be fixed and rigged.

If you still think it's a great idea, consider your objectives as a business - from a marketing and public relations standpoint alone - what will happen if it backfires on you? People can spot viral videos these days very easily, and the backlash can be quite costly.

You then should look at your "Seeding" area - this is where you will plant the seeds of the viral campaign. If you don't have a Facebook, Twitter, and an army of other social media followers - then it's no good telling your friend down the pub about this funny video you have just seen. If the content itself is not worth talking about, people just won't talk about it.

It may require some soul searching - but if your idea is not going to get people talking, then it's not worth doing it.

Why? Because unless all aspects of the idea match your business/product and brand, it will do nothing to make people want to watch, and pass it on.

If it is shareable, humourous and/or relevant then people will share it. If it's not, then they simply will not share it.

Traditional advertising methods will be a better bet, especially if it isn't a million dollar idea that you could take to the bank.

I am not saying they don't work, but of the great 5 or 6 I have seen in the past 12 months, only one sticks in my mind for their product and service, the others I couldn't even tell you what it was that their "sell" was about.

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