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.



I’m hanging up my recruiter hat for a minute and putting on my mom hat.  I want to talk about something that every mom has an in-depth knowledge of….grocery shopping.  I used to love it.  I would actually go to the store to escape from the chaos at home and I would see other moms doing the same.  The grocery store has nice music, grown-ups, no-one needing me to cook something, clean something, pick up something, tie something or wipe something.  It was great.  Now that my kids are older and I’m working full time and going to school and we’re juggling more kid activities, like guitar lessons, sewing class and 5 basketball games a weekend, I find it a HUGE pain in the a*s!  Pardon my French.

But really, all of this has nothing to do with my point.  I just needed to vent there for a second.  What I really want to discuss is the actual grocery stores themselves and their presence on social media.

I live in a town where there is literally 2 major grocery stores directly across the street from each other, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop.  Sometimes I don’t know which one to go to because they’re of equal distance and it’s almost the same exact experience.  They both have New England roots, are equal in size, price and quality and have been around for over 100 years.  They both strive to be the favorite neighborhood grocery store competing for the same customers.


When it comes to social media, they are almost equal there as well. They are both very active on all of the major sites, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, although, Stop & Shop tends to have more followers on each of their sites, i.e. Stop & Shop has 333.5K Facebook followers to Shaw’s 115.8K.  But yet, Shaw’s has more Check Ins, 10.5k to Stop & Shop’s 4K.   They both provide interesting content such as colorful photos, videos, recipes and tips.  And both of them also follow many best practices for social media like using relevant platforms, actively managing their brands, listening to their audience and integrating their social sites.  They’re both very active in the community as well and try to give back and support their local neighborhoods.  So, how do they differentiate themselves from one another?

Shaw’s has a blog which is interesting and Stop & Shop doesn’t.  That’s one difference I noticed.  But I think the one way in which they really differ is that Stop & Shop has a delivery service called Peapod.


This service, owned by Stop & Shop’s parent company, Ahold, has a link on Stop & Shop’s website and it has its own website, own app, own Facebook page, YouTube channel, as well as Twitter and Instagram accounts.  Stop & Shop is offering customers a unique value added service that Shaw’s does not, and this service can be easily accessed via their social media sites and mobile app.

Stop & Shop has evaluated their competition’s strengths and weakness and determined how they can set themselves apart from them by offering their shared customers something they cannot get from Shaw’s…. convenience.  They’ve been able to build awareness of this service using their social media platforms.  I have yet to use the delivery service just because I feel a little guilty since the stores are only 1 mile away, but many busy moms I know use it.  Even some single people sans children I know use it just because it’s convenient for them and they hate going to the grocery store.  As my world continues to get busier and busier, I have a feeling I’ll be clicking on one of those links pretty soon and welcoming that delivery person with open arms.






How to Differentiate Your Brand or Product on Social Media. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2017, from

Module Two: Translating Business Objectives into Social Media Initiatives, MKT 655, SNHU, 2017