We’re at the end of Viral Marketing month – and it’s been emotional. We’ve had a case study from the CEO of Zaggora, interviewed the brains behind one of the most notorious viral Twitter accounts of all time, and had the whole concept of viral marketing analysed by a sceptical @Adam_Ketterer.
What have we learnt? For me, the interview with @edjeffs was the most telling. The @ShippamsPaste Twitter account was very successful, gaining a few thousand followers in a short amount of time, but it wasn’t the result of a concentrated business plan – it was an experiment, something ostensibly done for fun.
This great article on viral marketing analyses the science behind it, and the vital factors – the most important of which is probably emotional drivers. If the consumer doesn’t engage with the content, then they’re not going to bother to share it – they need to be invested in it. And this needs to happen fast, which is why memes so often go viral, as they’re very visual and instantly engaging. But at the end of the day, a viral can just take everyone by surprise.
So what’s the best way to organise a strategic B2B campaign? Remember first and foremost that you’re not just competing against others in the industry – you’re competing against all other content too. Yup. ALL content, which means the odds are stacked against B2B from the beginning, really. It’s a tough truth, but one that’s vitally important to understand. Even the best-planned B2B viral campaign is likely to have less of an impact than one based purely on fun, because guess what? A lot of viral content goes viral just because there’s a country full of bored teenagers messing around on Reddit or 4chan, and they’re not likely to be engaged with your corporate brand.
But while it may seem that this month has made me completely cynical, don’t think it’s all doom and gloom. We’ve been working on a new project lately, and lessons learned from viral marketing have come in very useful indeed. Thanks to paying close attention to engaging our audience, ensuring snappy viral-style content, and analysing exactly when and how the peaks in our stats come about, we’re figuring out what works – and we’ve built a pretty impressive online community already, one that engages with and shares the content we produce. It may not be on a 10-million view Gangnam-Style par, but better steady growth and encouraging loyalty in your audience than a flash-in-the-pan, right?
So to conclude; don’t pin all your hopes on viral marketing, but don’t write it off totally either. And don’t give up if you the positive results aren’t immediate. Oh, and last but not least, try to be cool.