These days, any marketer is sure to get one request above all else regularly. “I want you to make me go viral” they say. It is the dream of every small or even large business to go viral. Unfortunately, very few understand what ‘going viral’ is. If one could just magically add a cat to a video of people eating pizza from your restaurant, it will be shared millions of times, and my restaurant will be famous, and I will never have to pay a penny for marketing again. If this were true, marketers would be out of a job. If there were a magical formula for going viral, and any marketer had it, you can be sure it would be treated as a cure for cancer. A closely guarded secret we would charge a million dollars or more to have access to. The practical realization is there is no magic formula for going viral, and if there were, it would be so common, viral videos would be as common as catching a cold.
The reality is while certain traits are more massively appealing than others, there is no magic, guaranteed way to go viral. The best that can be done is to add the elements of what makes content go viral and hope for the best. However, we can give you some tips on what makes something go viral. If your content has at least one of these factors, it has the potential to go viral, but remember, at the end of the day, the most significant factor is luck. Or at least a lot of money boosting your content. So, without further ado, here is the handy, straightforward guide to making viral content according to Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On:
1) Social currency
The first factor in going viral is social currency. People want to be cool. They want to be the first one to share a meme. They want to be in on the new hip lingo, they want to like a band before it was cool. If you can convince the customer they are in on something secret not everyone knows, you spread your social currency. This is the trick behind naming items after customers or having secret menu items.
Triggers are the things in your life that remind you of the product. Geiko scored a big win with Hump Day. They had two mascots at the time, the caveman and gecko. In fact, overall, Geiko is fantastic at viral content. With the camel, they made shouting out Geiko slogans and commercials and posting them on social media a weekly thing. Every Wednesday, people voluntarily talked about the Geiko commercial and shared photos of camels. Rebecca Blacks video, as horrible as it can be explained in large part to the song title. People shared that song every Friday. Even I have done it, and I hate that stupid song in its fat face.
See above. I mentioned Rebecca Black. Why? Because I hate that stupid song in its fat face. It brings out an emotional response in me. This is the key to Donald Trump’s success. Love him? You talk about him. Hate him? You talk about him even more. Trump has mastered the viral game either on purpose or by accident, it does not matter, that is how he won an election spending less money.
See above, I mentioned Donald Trump. What is everyone else doing? Why, they are talking about Donald Trump, of course. Recently, Nike went viral with the Colin Kaepernick ad. Viral marketing genius. Not only did they get the brand out there, but they also triggered emotions, both positive and negative at once, and even had a bonus of getting the public to go on a marketing mission of creating hundreds of images to share making fun of the original ad. People who don’t even care about football or the issue got on the marketing bandwagon with their own Nike memes. It was brilliant, and Nike not only knew it would cause controversy, but they were also counting on it.
5) Practical Value
Is it helpful? I am giving you 6 simple rules for creating viral content. Is it helpful? Yes, it is, or I would not bother telling you. People do not search for things that are not helpful. We share lunch hacks, car saving fuel hacks, 3 tips for doing this or that. People love sharing tips.
People love to tell stories. So much so, 95% of people share content by word of mouth. Most people heard about the hump day commercial at the water cooler from their friend before they saw it online. Who asked their friends what day it was on Wednesday? Did any of you in the 90’s answer the phone with a “WAZUUUUUPPPPPPPP?” Telling the story even in some way’s circles back to number one, social currency, you are in the know of the new joke. Or even better, you were in the know before it became a commercial and you get to brag you did it before it was on television!
There you have it, all the critical factors for going viral. Now, this is no guarantee you will ever go viral, but if you want to create content that goes viral, you need to have at least one of these elements. Remember, in marketing, you do not want ONLY to create viral content, you add viral content to your kit, and if you get lucky, one of them goes viral. Your marketing team should always keep these factors in mind when creating your marketing plan. If your company is not doing this for you, be sure to give Zilker a call, because we will.
What is the best marketing trick you know? Ads? Community service? Commercials? How about social media? Is that Instagram account what drives more sales and customers to your store? Or is it something else? Some businesses have gimmicks. The Speakeasy Bar inside a hot dog restaurant in New York gets by on word of mouth alone because it is a fun gimmick that gets people talking. Out of everything in your marketing toolbelt, which one works better than the rest, hands down across all industries?
I will give you a hint, it is also one of the cheapest methods of marketing around. It is not even a new technology that gives you the ability to do what you never were able to do before, You will not find it online or in your mailbox or anywhere else outside your store. In fact, the public at large would never even see it. You may be asking yourself, what could you possibly do to market yourself if the public never gets to see it?
Customer Service Is Key
Customer service. Word of mouth is still and always be the king of marketing. Over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year, and brands spend millions to produce a 30-second commercial to pay millions more to have it shown. This does less for marketing than a single viral act of selflessness or selfishness by a brand. A single response in anger can ruin a business forever, United Airlines still has not recovered from the removal of one customer one time by force. This has happened to every airline countless times in the past, but this time the internet caught wind of it. A single act of goodwill can cause an increase in sales that no commercial could ever give. Staying in the airline industry, Southwest outperforms every other airline in history. They are not the most comfortable or accommodating, in fact, their reputation is quite the opposite. However, they have this. Great customer service whenever possible and these are the things people remember.
Across the board and even locally, Austin businesses such as Luxury Auto Works and Capital Pediatric Group have gone out of their way to accommodate customers needs, and in a way that genuinely assures their customers’ health and happiness, even if it may hurt the bottom line. Many local Austin businesses learned this in the recession. When families needed to cut back on expenses, those businesses that maintained a stellar level of service stayed in business despite cuts to other areas of operation.
The number one reason people try out a new business is that someone they trust recommended them. This is why influencer marketing is growing. People trust someones personal recommendations, even if that person is a celebrity. Brands are just not trusted with their own message these days, the consumer is far savvier than in the past. One friend telling another that a certain detergent did not remove a stain holds more weight than 100 commercials on television no matter what the brand says.
So, if you want to really increase your brand’s reputation, do what nobody else but you can do. You have to offer a superior service. You have to care. Survey after survey shows time and again that a customer is willing to pay a premium for service. If your customer service is not stellar, prices or quality will not save you no matter how good it is.
With little notice, many did not even know it was coming. Now that it is here, we here at Zilker Marketing have done all the hard work for you in getting you all the information you need.
First, Instagram Television is not appearing to be the single-handed game changer Facebook may have been hoping to gain. One thing IGTV is for the industry is proof that the future of social media is video. Facebook has invested considerable resources into this new platform that is video based. This would not be the case if it were not considered the future.
Eventually, we are going to reach a point where typing is almost non-existent in social media.
Many are asking if Instagram thinks they are going to try to compete with YouTube. That answer is a solid no. Facebook does not seem to have an interest in taking on competitors that large head on. Their strategy to this point has been to either try to coexist with the other big dogs and devour the young who may grow to be a threat. Yet, Facebook does not take on Twitter or YouTube head to head.
What Instagram does seem to be doing, is immediately going after the Influencers. It is a smart move as this has been where platforms gain popularity celebrities and influencers encourage their fans to migrate over. This has the profiles grow the audience for the platform, a trick that has been used since the days of Myspace. Younger crowds are turning to such people for even things such as news besides entertainment and consumer advice.
“Creators are what bring the eyeballs to platforms, and vice versa. Sort of a chicken-and-egg thing, because you can’t have creators and no platform. You can’t have a platform and no creators. You have to work with each other, but it’s a important reason why a platform can become successful.”
Some brands have immediately taken to the new platform. National Geographic immediately re-edited its show “One Strange Rock.” One area that seems to be crushing it on the new platform is the food niche. TasteMade and Food Network are excellent examples of what to do with IGTV. The new vertical platform is worth exploring and has its uses.
In short, Instagram is looking to compliment, rather than overtake the video market specializing in influencer content. YouTube will continue to be the go-to place for the majority of video content across the spectrum. While the success or failure is still too early to say for sure, it adds a new focus to specific markets.