When I was working at ZED, I led an online business within the TV Division. One of the main communication strategies was to create viral videos in order to create buzz, brand awareness and achieve marketing objectives (registered users and sales).
In team with the TV Content Manager, I wanted to create a viral video campaign, which is one that becomes popular through the process of internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites (in this case YouTube), social media (Facebook and Twitter) and email (using an existing data base).
There are tens of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube each day. Based on this fact, the possibilities that the video becomes a “success” are very scarce.
1. Content is key … but you CAN NOT rely just on it
Content is what will drive visitors back to a site, but the content must be created following these techniques:
- Always keep the viewer in mind when making videos not the brand
- Make it short: 15 to 90 seconds is ideal; if you have a long story to tell, break it down into short-sized clips
- Don’t make a Palme d’Or ad: if a video feels like an ad, viewers won’t share it unless it’s really amazing
- Make it shocking: give a viewer no choice but to investigate further and maybe try. e.g.: “Coke Zero and Mentos rocket car”
- Use appealing headlines: people see hundreds of videos on YouTube and the title is an easy way for video publishers to persuade someone to click on a video. Titles can be changed a limitless number of times, but think of a catchy title
- Call to action: keep in mind your business objectives
2. Objective: no longer be a single needle in the haystack
The core concept of video marketing on YouTube is to harness the power of the site’s traffic. Here’s the idea: YouTube exceeds 2 billion views a day. (See full report on YouTube 2011)
So how do we get the first the number of views we need to get our videos onto the Most Viewed list?
- Blogs: reach out to individuals (e.g. Key Opinion Leaders) who run relevant blogs and actually pay them to post your embedded videos
- Forums: start new threads and embed your videos. Sometimes, this means starting the conversations by setting up multiple accounts on each forum and posting back and forth between a few different users
- Facebook: Share, share, share a video with your entire friends list can have a real impact. Other ideas include creating an event that announces the video launch and inviting friends or writing a note and tagging friends
- Twitter: tweet and share
- Email lists: Send the video to an email list. Depending on the data base (and the recipients’ willingness to receive links to YouTube videos), this can be a very effective strategy
- Friends: Make sure everyone you know watches the video and try to get them to email it out to their friends, or at least share it on facebook
3. EA Sports crisis management as a good communication case
In 2008 EA Games launched the cult game; Tiger Woods 08 and late that year a YouTuber named “Levinator25″ posted this video claiming to have found a “glitch” in the game.
It goes viral with about 1 MM views on YouTube and creating some serious conversation on forums about the various glitches in Tiger Woods 08. So EA Games responded with a classic, creating a video response directly to “Levinator25″ on YouTube.
As at today, it got almost 6 MM views and sparked a comment fest in EA Games !!
Setting up alerts on Google Alerts and tracking Twitter with Hootsuite for negative press from the audience of the social media set is important, but if you want to live the Chinese philosophy of turning danger into opportunity, this is the way to do it. EA has successfully navigated what could become a crisis into a widely talked about marketing move.
Now, as a brand, that’s how companies can use social media to its advantage. The goal is directly engaged with the influencers in a creative way to stop the “chatter” about possible issues, turned them on into our favour.
It’s all about caring what your customers think and being smart about how you respond.