The Secrets to Stupidly Successful Viral Trends
We’ll be the first to admit it: we don’t understand viral trends.
Yes, we realize the irony of prefacing a blog about the secrets to going viral, then saying we don’t understand them. What we mean to say is determining what marketing strategy will go viral is as difficult as deciphering whether that dress was black and blue or gold and white.
It almost feels arbitrary as to what the public deems worthy of being popular. Sure Gangnam Style is a catchy song, but 2.5 billion YouTube views? U2 almost forced their popularity on us, sneaking their latest trash album onto millions of desktops and iPhones with their Apple partnership. And that old Juicy Fruit jingle (‘Juicy Fruit is gonna move ya!’) will be the song at our funerals, as it continues to haunt us to this day.
Regardless of what we all think about these questionable viral sensations, we can’t deny they must be doing something right. You don’t just accidentally create a video that reaches 2 billion people, or write a jingle that we despise years down the line.
So what goes into making a trend viral? With the right content, timing, people – and let’s face it, luck – a viral breakout isn’t impossible. It’s difficult, but there are a few key elements your viral attempt should include if you want to be the next Jean-Claude van Damme-doing-splits-in-a-Volvo knockout.
Make a Killer Video.
There are no rules as to what content you must include in your viral marketing campaign. You can use a combination of text, pictures, or other forms of engagement, but a completely original video is the most impactful and memorable media at your disposal.
A viral video lets your creative genius shine; there’s no better way of getting a message across in the way you want it to be heard. The advantage of videos in today’s digital age is they spread like wildfire, thanks to the multitude of devices they can be streamed or watched on. And once a video catches a spark on social media, it engulfs the digital world.
Keep your video informative, but inspirational. Be surprising. Be suspenseful. Tell a story. Invoke emotion – the best responses from users come from a place of awe, excitement, amusement, anger, or anxiety.
Those are a hodge-podge of ideas to get your J.J. Abrahams vision rolling. You don’t need to use them all, but keep them in mind when you’re shooting your viral video!
Keywords and Tags – Use Them!
There’s no point in creating a dazzling viral marketing campaign if the only people that see it are your parents. Remember, the success of your viral marketing strategy will be judged by the planet’s online audience. So getting your content found in the sea of viral sensation-wannabes is a necessity.
Thankfully you can use a lot of the same digital marketing tricks that are effective in other campaigns for your viral one. Keywords and tags rank at the top of the list – if the parts of your campaign are properly tagged and brimming with keywords, your content will list favourably on search engines.
Make sure the headline for your video or content post is rich with keywords, sprinkling them throughout the description and copy as well. Take advantage of hashtags on platforms like Twitter and YouTube to reach broader audiences.
Start a Contest.
If there’s one thing people love more than practical free content, it’s practical free stuff. Sponsoring a contest to complement your viral campaign will get the word around much faster. A contest is more likely to be shared amongst friends and networks, creating hype around the prize and who the winner might be.
Contests are useful for maintaining an online presence, too. Giveaways can be bartered for Facebook likes and Twitter re-tweets, and engages audiences to actively participate with your campaigns. New users and followers will be attracted to the buzz as well.
Deploy Animals/Babies/Other Cute Things.
Did you know animals acting like people, babies acting like babies, and other similarly cute things can do no wrong in viral campaigns?
That’s right Dramatic Chipmunk with 45 million YouTube views and counting. Funny animals and oblivious children can be exploited – err, can assist – in any viral marketing campaign. No one wants to hear a dull speech about a product or service. The internet demands cats on skateboards and kids saying the darnedest things.
If you can’t decide on which animal to employ, you can’t go wrong with cats. As the internet’s unofficial mascot, any video of a cat doing something out of the ordinary is viral gold.
We don’t want to say it’s that easy to go viral, but how do you explain sensations like Harlem Shake, Puppy Edition? It’s exactly what it sounds like. The hip-hop canine crew has garnered 7.6 million views to date – okay, maybe it is that easy.
Be More Funny.
Use your sense of humour! Everyone enjoys a good laugh, and something outrageously hilarious is more likely to be shared than somber, depressing content.
If you’re the second coming of Pryor and know how to properly tag your content, you’d be surprised at how far comedy can take you. A lot of reputable websites with huge internet traffic numbers gush over funny content, BuzzFeed being a prime example.
With an original view or idea presented in comedic fashion, your content can be featured on these big sites, lifting your campaign to the viral stratosphere.
Are you ready to start creating your online viral campaign? Eden’s marketing team can assist you in conceptualizing every component of your viral marketing strategy, along with any web or online marketing services you’ll require.