Viral Marketing

How many times have you asked yourself what is the Ultimate Question of Life, Universe and Everything? We have an answer but it doesn’t quite get close to uncovering the secrets behind the viral marketing universe. We know a vast amount of videos that exploded in the internet, for no obvious reason. It seems that the magic happens beyond our understanding. Wrong!Surely it bothers us all. What made that Mom's with the Star War Mask live streaming video become the most popular thing on Facebook? Or is there a particular reason for a mannequin challenge to take teenagers, adults and even companies' breaths away? There is no exact recipe for a viral marketing, but it makes sense to start digging deeper into the viral dna.

Explore the 5 secrets to help enhance your customer engagement through viral marketing universe and beyond:

1. Catch the buzz wave

Unless you live in a cave, you must have noticed that from time to time, another social media trend is already catching fire, spreading across the internet universe. Only few remain immune to the buzz.The latest biggest trend of last year was #mannequinchallenge. What is it? Basically all it takes is to freeze for a few minutes in funny poses with Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” ft. Gucci Mane playing in the background while the camera goes around the group. Everyone…by this I mean literally everyone, decided to take part in this. Started with American teenagers, celebrities, politicians and even space station crew quickly took it over!  Customer engagement at its best.Many might ask if there is a value of jumping on the social media trend bandwagon, wondering how they can benefit. Well, it all depends on your perspective, creativity, and most importantly  - speed of reaction.  While everyone is doing it, your brand will catch fire if it manages to grasp the essence of the trend and connect it directly to your business.

Grasp the essence of the trend and connect it to your business! #viralmarketing #customer engagement
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Here are the best real brand examples:

Dove

True to their famous strategy "Real beauty", which showed the spot-on way to their consumer's hearts, Dove applied the same concept by reversing the idea that mannequins should look like real people and not the other way round.

Pixar

Funny enough, by just tweeting a snippet from our beloved cartoon "Toys Story" Pixar managed to join the viral party.

"Andy's coming!" #MannequinChallengepic.twitter.com/a9w2gqZwiK

— Disney•Pixar (@DisneyPixar) November 7, 2016

Belgium's ALS Liga

Last year this organization started successful viral "Ice bucket challenge". However, they decided they couldn’t stop there and also joined the mannequin craze with the slogan  - "Every day is a Mannequin Challenge for ALS patients.". All non-profit and social businesses take notes.

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2. Joint Forces/ Collaborate with influencers

We all like to be amused. But given that internet universe seems to be endless, it’s getting hard for brands to be heard through all this meteor noise.  It seems like magic. But there is a recipe for it. When even boring and outdated brands can transform and become viral. One of the main ingredients is choosing the right influencer.

One of the main ingredients is choosing the right influencer #viralmarketing
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Interesting enough, the brand does not always need to play the main character. Morton Salt approached famous music band "Ok go" that created this masterpiece below.  These musicians already proved themselves with other brands by doing crazy things, like flying without gravity on camera. This 4.2 seconds slow motion video was extended into 4 minutes and shows the iconic Morton Salt girl with the yellow umbrella.  The idea behind it was to show that how this 'moment" can be stretched, and every second is valuable. This worked well with the company's value of promising to "step up and make a positive impact in the world"

Another great example is SodaStream. They are continuing to use actors from "Game of Thrones" in their campaigns.  In this particular video, Sodastream took the famous episode from the series in which Cersei Lannister is forced to walk naked while Unella rings her bell and shouts "shame". In this campaign, however, they took an average plastic bottle buyer and Unella torments the poor guy in a grocery store. The idea behind it was to discourage the use of plastic bottles. Fighting for the planet and becoming viral? Why not?

3. Emotions

Fairly easy here.  People are more likely to share your campaign if you evoked certain feelings, sadness or happiness.  Something that made them feel differently at that point of time. The hard part is to be different and not to overuse cliché topics. After all, it's all about a really good story.According to Business Harvard Review, negative emotions were less likely to be found in a viral content but were still successful if they evoked surprise. Unexpectedly, emotion of admiration was also found in highly shared campaigns.

Negative emotions were less likely to be found in viral content @HarvardBiz
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In this campaign, Nike concentrated on an underdog, an overweight boy jogging without stopping. This is a story of greatness and that everyone can achieve it. This idea appeared to be more effective than showcasing celebrities. Sometimes consumers find it hard to relate to them, while that boy could be every one of us.

4. Know your audience

Do you actually know your audience? Their feelings, desires and hopes? A true marketer will have this knowledge on his/her table and understand that this is a very powerful weapon.  Understanding them will allow you to speak their language and relate to their hearts.

Dove proved (yet again) that they know exactly what their customers are feeling, with several campaigns such as #Realbeauty and #ChooseBeautiful. They did several videos which resulted in a juicy viral success. How they did it? After an extensive market research, Dove started with relating to "Real woman" and ditching the standard use of models in beauty ads. They understood their customers’ poor self-esteem and insecurities and directed their minds to the right path. The path of feeling beautiful as they are. It's not just a campaign, it's a whole culture and a movement.

viral marketingSource

Old Spice, on the other hand, while being a man's brand turned their marketing by 180 degrees. They found out that women tend to make the purchasing choices for their men’s personal care products and targeted them instead. By showing the famous and attractive athlete-turned-actor Isaiah Mustafa, using humorous text and a rapid change of scenery, they actually enchanted both sexes.

5.  Let them do the work

User-generated content. You know much about it? If not you are in viral marketing trouble. There is no better way to personalize your brand and build loyalty among your followers than in this lazy mannered way. User-generated content (UGC) is a content that was created by your consumers and followers and it exists under your company's properties. It creates little or no cost for your brand and can act as a free advertising. But, it has to be interesting enough for consumers to start creating and sharing your content. Fairly easy consumer engagement!It makes sense for you to consider it. 86% of millennials mentioned that UGC is a great indicator of a quality of a brand.  Moreover, 51% of them said that content generated from strangers is more likely to influence their purchase decisions. Sprite for example, used both recent trend #mannequinchallenge and UGC in their tweet:

Our lawyers said we couldn’t do a #mannequinchallenge so we’ll ask you ...do you wanna do a #mannequinchallenge for us? #WannaSpritepic.twitter.com/5DsQV180nc — Sprite (@Sprite) November 8, 2016

Final accord

We looked through different secrets of becoming viral and winning customer engagement, but there are few things to consider. At the end of the day, "viral" should not be your only end goal. Creating a brand's reputation with the help of customer engagement and amazing content will present you with a loyal base of followers. A video or a campaign has to resonate with your audience and be a part of a bigger strategy that will build this loyalty over time.  In this case, this will transform into sales over a longer period of time.

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