At this point, the word “viral” probably makes you groan a little.
It's not exactly new, and the more the term gets used in the media, the more it's started to reek of “older gen X and baby boomers not understanding how 20-somethings use the internet.”
But honestly, “viral marketing” is still very much a thing.
It's just hard to pull off, and that's partly due to its very nature.
It is by definition surprising and unexpected.
When you say something “goes viral,” it implies that this was something that normally would not, or should not, have gotten as much attention as it did.
Not all calculated attempts at viral marketing fail, but let's be honest:
Most of them do.
And since the idea isn't a novelty anymore, it's probably harder to “go viral” with a popular video today than it was back in, say, 2007.
If you want to create a viral video that really works as a marketing tool, avoid these two incredibly common mistakes that out of touch executives constantly make when they try to appeal to Millennial and Gen Z consumers with video content.
Your Video Doesn’t Evoke Emotion
Look at some of the best viral marketing videos:
Google Android’s Friend’s Furever – a mash-up of the cutest and strangest animal friends as part of their ‘Be together. Not the same.’ campaign.
Chipotle’s The Scarecrow – a dystopian video about sustainable farming and food production as part of their ‘Food with Integrity’ campaign.
And then, one of the funniest marketing videos of all time. DollarShaveClub.com’s Our Blades campaign.
Whether these videos warm your heart, trigger empathy, or crack you up, they are all playing off of emotion. Your video may be entertaining, filled with celebrities, or the most helpful piece of visual kit your customers ever saw.
If it’s not creating an emotional response, it’s not going to go viral.
You’re Marketing Video Isn’t Part of a Larger Strategy
This is where your strategic marketing comes into play. Your marketing video is going to make a bigger splash if it is a part of a well thought out content marketing strategy.
Is your viral hopeful part of a wider marketing campaign? How receptive is your audience to this campaign?
What type of feedback are you getting so far from your other content?
Have you been priming your social media followers and email newsletter subscribers with the right mood so the tone of your wow-factor video doesn’t come completely out of left field?
For example, if Chipotle had been going in the direction of good humor on their Facebook page in the weeks leading up to The Scarecrow video, the context of the brand’s deep, thoughtful message wouldn’t have translated well.
Do you have other marketing videos planned? Is it part of a series? Should you have a follow-up or sequel video to capitalize on the effect of your viral video, like Dollar Shave Club’s Let’s Talk About #2 and Razor Man?
Is your landing page designed in such a way as to seamlessly flow with the personality and messaging of your viral video so when people do click to your website, they’re likely to stay there and explore?
You can read about four other super common video mistakes in the full article from Marketing Insider Group.
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