The Art of Distraction

Social Viral Marketing

We have a few personal app projects in the pipeline and have just won a consulting contract with a rather new and exciting social education platform (more on that later), and in order to make something of these projects, we have to think about marketing.

Marketing trends may seem like they are consistently changing but actually, they are still controlled by our behaviour. One buzz word that keeps popping up lately is ‘Viral Marketing’ so we thought we’d have a closer look to see how viral content taps into our human nature so that we consume and share its message.

Image courtesy of zeyneptinaz.

Image courtesy of zeyneptinaz.

What is Viral Marketing?

At its heart, Viral Marketing is sharing; the sharing of an idea. It’s about putting something out there that encourages conversation and attracts attention. It has to be good. It has to inform people’s interests. It doesn’t have to be productive and if we take a look at our Facebook feeds we will see that it doesn’t even have to be very important. If you scroll and keep scrolling, how many BuzzFeed posts are there? How many Lads Bible posts are there? How many memes (photos with tag lines) are there? How many animal, falling over, cop out videos are there?

In-between these posts you may find a status update from one of your loved ones or a distant acquaintance you met once at a friend’s party but all in all, its Viral Content that makes up the majority of your feed.

With this in mind, creating a campaign that goes viral is the goal of almost every marketer. The problem is how do we know if the content we produce will ‘go viral’?

Getting noticed through digital media is growing ever more difficult. Hundreds of hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute, billions of content is shared on Facebook every twenty four hours and there are literally hundreds of millions news tweets and Instagram posts every day. No matter how much shouting we do, it can feel like we are only shouting to here our own voices and no one else gives a toss about what we have to say.

If we can create a digital content campaign that surfs on the surface of this entire digital media, then we can surely produce a collective consciousness towards our app.

What makes content Viral?

Example of viral marketing campaign. The Red Bull Space Jump.

Example of viral marketing campaign. The Red Bull Space Jump.

It’s Emotional

What they do care about is what makes them feel. Emotion is the biggest part of Viral Marketing. We see all types of content go viral but the common theme spreading it between screens and ears is its ability to make us feel something. Any emotion that gets us fired up such as curiosity, humour, happiness, awe, excitement, anger and even upset is the soul communicating to us through any form of successful viral marketing campaign. People share emotionally charged content.

It’s Share Worthy

We are more likely to share content if it tells a story (an industry secret), is useful, makes us look good as individuals, is easy to remember and gives us a break. All of this matters to any audience and if your content is part of a larger story, people are more likely to talk about your brand because you notice what your audience like and continue to feed them with this entertainment.

It’s Timed Well

Timing is crucial for all types of content. One of the benefiting factors for a successful piece of Viral is when it gets distributed. Content that taps in to current trends and is distributed around the holidays, on the working commute, during time and on specifically high engagement days throughout the week are more likely to be noticed and shared.

It Looks Nice

The best viral campaigns are easy to read/watch/listen to, they aren’t very long and are visually appealing. They use colour to their advantage and they place content on the page in a way that makes key aspects of the content stand out.

It’s distributed thoughtfully

Viral marketers know where their audience is online, they have influential connections that can grow its exposure and they share it socially through social media. They also advertise.

It distracts us from our mundane lives

We share content that is in tune with our personalities and improves how we look to others. We are also a nation of procrastinators; we like to leave things to the last minute. So we search for content that will entertain us even when we are supposed to be entertaining our bosses or clients. Viral content distracts, and works better because of that.

What we’ve realised.

If you have a clear mission with a timed plan and your content appeals to societies emotional needs whilst sitting within a trend, it will ‘Go Viral’. All of these needs must take shape with your intention at the core, but if the intention doesn’t benefit your audience, then maybe you should re-think the intentions.

A few examples include the Red Bull Space Jump, #NoMakeUpSelfie, #IceBucketChallenge, the “Emotional baby! Too cute!” video, Time-lapse of Woman’s Photo shoot, The Evian baby video, LOL Cats and the 2012 Old Spice advert.