Moving pictures (or: how to viral)

14.04.15  |  Digital marketing, Opinion & Source Design

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, think of the value of just a few seconds of video. Source have examined the phenomenon carefully, and we’re here to break down how video can work as a powerful tool for your marketing needs.

The advent of viral marketing

In the past few years, the Internet has seen the advent of faster connections and common standards for implementing video without the Flash plugin. But all that aside, Internet culture and the proliferation of social media and sharing has turned the ‘viral video’ into one of the most effective ways to market your business around. For example, the top four most popular posts on the Source Design Facebook page have all been videos!

The most popular and inventive videos can reach thousands, even millions of people. Like a virus that copies itself, and then copies itself again, and again, very soon you have a lot of ‘infected’ people! That translates to a lot of exposure for the originator.

Simplicity doesn’t just ‘happen’

Viral videos need not be complex or very long. The most successful are often something as ‘simple’ as cat videos!

That’s not to say viral marketing is left to chance; lots of time and thought are invested into the very best viral marketing strategies. Every angle considered, every base covered. If viral marketing goes awry, the results can sometimes be very unfortunate. The wrong comment or thoughtless imagery can sometimes alienate whole audiences, or worse still, cause offence… hence, the deep levels of work that go to producing something with universal appeal and memorability.

There are no hard and fast rules, but most viral videos conform to one or more of the following:

– an original or unusual idea. The very best viral videos feature things people haven’t seen before, whether this means wacky, artistic or otherwise.

– relatable – something that has appeal to a target market, so that target audiences can share. If the viewer doesn’t understand or care about what they’re watching there’s no chance they’re share it.

– amusing, moving or impactful. Viral videos must offer emotional engagement that oozes brand personality without the hard sell. Strive to make the watcher feel something… laughter, nostalgia, even sadness; anything to make the video feel powerful and stick in their mind.

– lastly, viral videos are not about a hard sell. It’s about getting the viewer to sell your brand for you!

So give me an example!

Viral marketing almost always forms part of a wider marketing strategy, that ensures leads are captured and converted. Many successful brands have adopted this approach of ‘viral first, brand second’. Check them out at the end of the article!

A dizzying number of video sharing platforms have sprung up in recent years; aside from Facebook, Twitter and the ubiquitous YouTube, other platforms such as Vine, Vimeo, Vevo, Veoh, Dailymotion, and even traditionally image-based site such as Flickr getting in on the action.

For the most part, it doesn’t matter which platform your video is hosted by – a video from almost any service can be shared or embedded in any other website or social platform. What does matter is the video itself; and not just the messaging, but that special spark that will make others want to share it with friends, family and colleagues.

If you’re struggling to get creative and garner the exposure your business needs, talk to us. We’re always keen to flex our creative muscles!