Viral Marketing Initiatives

We’ve been discussing the use of videos at work for marketing our open positions and how if done correctly, they’re an incredibly powerful tool.  With that being said, what makes a video or any marketing campaign for that matter, so attention grabbing that it ends up going viral?

First, personally, I think it has a lot to do with pulling on the heart strings of your audience.  I remember the GoPro “Fireman Saves Kitten” video.  It was one of GoPro’s first videos that popularized the camera.  It had a total of 22 million views with 5 million in the first week alone.  Why?  First of all, who doesn’t want to see a cute, little baby kitty being brought back to life?  And also, GoPro made it incredibly easy to share.  Every possible social media channel button was provided along with a “share” button and a button to email it or even embed it in your own content.  And the social commenting, or “likes” it received on Facebook helped it spread like wild fire because it was seen on each person’s individual feed.

I also think humor has a lot to do with what leads to a campaign going viral.  I know that if I find something funny, I am most likely going to share it.  If it made me laugh, it will most likely make my audience laugh as well.  The Kmart “Ship My Pants”  commercial has to be one of the funniest I’ve ever seen.  I remember seeing it on TV and then looking for it on YouTube so I could purposely share it.

Along with humor, the Kmart video also had some shock value to it.  When I first heard the commercial, I stopped in my tracks to listen because I was so caught off guard.  Did they just say what I think they said on network TV?  The ad did what it was supposed to do – it got my attention and pushed me to want to share it.

And lastly, free stuff!  Who doesn’t love free stuff?  Give something away for free to someone, and pretty soon they’re telling their pals how they too can get that something free.  Hotmail is a great example.  In the mid 90’s, this start-up went from zero to 4.5 million subscribers in under a year by offering a free, web based email service.  How did they do it?  When someone received a Hotmail email, a “Get your free email at Hotmail” link appeared on the bottom.  They were pioneers in the 90’s because paid internet service usually only provided one email address per account.  Hotmail gave people options.  They could now have more than one email address and could access that email from anywhere in the world.  Genius!  Hotmail was eventually bought out by Microsoft in 1998 for $400 million.

I don’t know what content I can come up with for my recruiting videos that is emotional, funny or shocking, offering free stuff that makes people want to share it to everyone they know, but I will certainly try.  Stay tuned.  If you have any ideas, please pass them along.

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