“Going Viral” Should Never Be The Goal

nedstark

This might surprise you, but one does not simply “go viral.”

Believe it or not, we have people [some clients, some not] come to us and ask our company to make them go viral. And we never roll our eyes or laugh at them because that’s what they’ve come to understand as success. How could we blame anyone for wanting that? For most of the world, viral status has become the measure of an impactful, engaging piece of media. And to be honest: We’ve come to accept that. Shareability is a significant part of a brand’s online success for several reasons; the biggest of which is reach. Everyone wants the farthest reach and the most views — it’s sort of become the new definition of famous.

Frankly, we think many pieces of media (photos, publicity, videos, media) that have viral success are the result of happenstance, convenient timing, and lots of luck. And for a company looking to find wide-reaching online success, “going viral” should never be the goal.

The truth is: Viral status is fleeting. And worse, it doesn’t always produce outcomes like sales, measurable ROI, brand advocacy. Someone sees a shared video, watches part of it, and the marketer never figures out who he is. The relationship ends there. But that’s where the focus should be. Instead of reaching for viral success, set some realistic goals for your content. And the best way to do that is good old-fashioned research and strategy.

Here are three big-picture strategies for connecting better:

1. Analyze

Implementing Google Analytics into your website is a good place to start when looking at who’s engaging with your brand right now. Because the only way you can identify new opportunities is to look at where you are now. So focus on your current audience: the kinds of people they are, where they come from, how they find your content, and how loyal and engaged they are. See where the traffic comes from and know where to put emphasis.

2. Socialize

The social media revolution is maturing. Are you measuring your outcomes? Social reports show you the impact that social media has on your business goals and conversions. Integrated web and social data offers a holistic view of your content and community. And the best use of social media as a practical business tool is to channel information.  So use all of your social media platforms to share your content. The can easily become vehicles for disseminating your blog posts, pics, and videos. It’s the quickest way to get around.

3.Recognize

Develop relationships with the people who spread your content. Acknowledge them publicly by featuring them on your website or responding to them on social. That’s more than enough to generate engagement and make them feel heard. Then get their email addresses so you can deepen the relationship further with truly useful updates, offers, and calls to action.

So instead of focusing on “going viral,” focus on serving your current customers and winning new ones. And the best way to do that? Find them and make real connections.

You might be wondering what this type of effort looks like, and lucky, we can show you. A few years ago, we shot a quick in-house music video that we pushed out into the world using some of the tactics we’ve described. Check it out!

 

Brand Buzz: You’re Overwhelmed By Being Social. And That’s Normal.

Social Overwhelmed

For those of us who stay mainlined into social media all day, staying engaged is pretty much second nature.

The truth is: Posting, commenting, and sharing can be done while doing actual work — as long as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are open all the time on both your phone and your desktop.

The trick is staying distracted. Don’t ever fully focus on what you’re supposed to be doing. And keep one eye on the vertical Twitter feed jammed into the left side of your screen. Make sure it’s giving you enough space so that you can see the special window just for LinkedIn. Gotta keep connecting, right?

Oh, and you have to take a break from what you’re actually working on to scour the Internet. You definitely need a continuous stream of fresh content to share, and when in doubt, just reshare something from Buzzfeed. It doesn’t matter if everyone’s already seen it, which they definitely have.

And how could I forget about other people’s Facebooks?! That’s where all the real action is! If you’re going to make your social media presence known, you have to know what everyone’s up to. Might as well keep your Facebook Feed open in it’s own window and refresh about every six seconds. You wouldn’t want to miss anything would you?

Starting to feel overwhelmed? Totally normal.

The “need” to maintain a social media presence has gone over the tipping point — truly becoming a beast that business-owners either fully embrace or fear.

We work in a very social-centric office [and trust me], staying connected can feel like a full-time job in itself. I mean really. If you don’t have the resources to hire someone to manage your SM presence, how can you possibly make the time to do it yourself?! So what’s the best way to manage it? Have a plan.

Some will argue that anything you post on any platform should be organic. But when you’re running a business, you’re not mainlined in all day. So here are a few tips on how you can plan ahead:

  1. Make a weekly schedule that takes it day-by-day. This will serve as your template.
  2. Mix it up between original Thought Leadership content (blog posts, eBooks), organic content (pics from around the office, people, spur of the moment thoughts), and other people’s content (articles, links).
  3. Stay on top it so that you’re not distracted during the workday.
  4. Track your posts and make adjustments as needed. If your plan has a Monday morning blog post to be shared on Facebook, but over a few weeks you’re not seeing a lot of likes or engagement, then try moving it to Wednesday afternoon and see how that works.
  5. Stay genuine. If you’re posting just to post, people will notice. You’ll be labeled as “spammy” and you will be unfollowed. Be a Thought Leader, share your knowledge, but be real people behind it.

At the end of the day, social media should be a fun undertaking, It shouldn’t feel like a burden and it shouldn’t distract from your real work. It should be used to attract new fans and have conversations.

So relax. You can do this.