Going Viral: The Future In Marketing?
Whether it’s the Harlem Shake or Gangnam style, most of us have watched a viral video in the past week or so – but what exactly does it mean to “go viral”? How can we harness the power of social media to promote ourselves? Should we be saying goodbye to the traditional methods of marketing our businesses and promoting ourselves?
A video goes viral when it is shared online on a massive scale through email or social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Viral videos often contain shocking or humorous content, such as accidents or stunts like a man jumping into a frozen pool, or entertaining comedy dance or musical sketches like “The Evolution of Dance” and “Chocolate Rain”. Viral videos can also be produced for political purposes, like “We’ll Marry Your Girlfriends” – a viral video made in a comedic effort to persuade American voters to legalize gay marriage.
By far the most successful viral video to date is “Kony 2012” – a political campaign to arrest African cult and militia leader Joseph Kony. The video had over 34 million views on the first day of its upload in March 2012 and it had been viewed more than 94 million times as of November 2012.
How can going viral help you?
It seems to be every marketing team’s mission to make a video good enough to catch on like wildfire. Why it is so important? It’s simple. Getting a video to go viral will help you get more exposure for your company or your product. If you have a website or blog, you will receive more traffic. If you have other videos on your channel, you will get more views. Do you write a blog that nobody is reading? You’ll get more followers and more feedback from people.
Going viral is a way to get a lot of attention without spending a lot on a full-scale marketing campaign and advertising. All that is needed to grab attention is good, relevant content and your logo or message at the beginning or end of the video directing people to where you want them to go. The harder part is figuring out how to make your video go viral.
Do new trends spell death for tradition?
Not necessarily! Every company has its unique target audience, customer base and locations to advertise and market products. For example, a family-run pizza shop in White Plains, New York would gain very little from making a video go viral. Traditional methods of marketing and advertising like billboards, bus-stop ad placement and banner printing are still very useful and unlikely to die off. Using a banner to advertise a store opening or a sale is still common practice everywhere! No viral video needed.
Want to try going viral?
Keep it short and simple! Scan the newspaper for relevant trending topics, or easier, check Twitter’s trending hashtags – users will be able to find a link to the video when they type in the keyword. Make sure you include funny or interesting material worth sharing, and check that it hasn’t been overdone. Keep it family friendly so it can be shared faster and with all age groups.
Are you going to try going viral?
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