Igniting Viral Campaigns By Creating Relevant Conversations

August 9, 2009
By Lisa Barone in Internet Marketing Conferences

Ready for the next one? I am, this is fun!  This time we’re going to talk about how to ignite viral campaigns by being relevant.  Seems to me that “being relevant” is how you do it.  Feel free to leave now and go get yourself some lunch and maybe a cookie.

I’m kidding. Move and I’ll cut you. I’m serious.

….and we’re starting. Meet Larry Bailin. He’s going to be our tour guide for today.

[Warning: It may take you all afternoon to get through this post, as its filled with multiple links to hilarious Internet memes. You’ve been warned.]

The market is competitive. People are scrambling to get their hands on everything.  As such, he’s changed the name of this session. It’s now called “Clicking Ass”.  Classy!

One of the mistakes people make is that they focus too much on one industry.   Don’t look at what your competitors are doing. You want to bring new ideas to the table. Success lies beyond the walls of your industry. He talks about his book. For the entire month of August, 100 percent of the proceeds will go to local charities. He says he’s going to stop talking about his book now.

How to go Viral

Pre-Ignition: Figure out what you’re doing and who you’re targeting. Create a plan. You have to think about the person on the other side. Look from their perspective. Who are they? What do you want to have happen? The easiest thing to determine is their average age. That will tell you what to put in front of them. How tech savvy are they? Baby boomers make up a third of all Internet users. They’re Internet savvy, they’re not tech savvy. They’re using older technology to access the Internet. Generation Jones are the Barack Obamas. I think he means in age. Not that they’re all President. Generation Y has never used the Yellow Pages.

Viral will flop if you don’t know your audience.

What is viral?

The videos above didn’t set out to make a profit. They were just being themselves and that’s funny to the rest of the normal world [There lies my Twitter “strategy”]. They have millions of views but they didn’t make any money. They weren’t “successful”. People looking at your blog does not equal success. [silences tantrum] Could brands have used them? Petco could have taken the dramatic chipmunk video.

To go viral, you need to learn to influence. You have to learn to sell. Nothing happens unless a sale takes place. [I think “sale” needs to be qualified.]

The greatest book ever written on viral, social and affiliate success: How to Win Friends & Influence People.   It teaches you to think before you speak. To think about how your words are going to influence someone.  Know what kind of reaction you’re going to provoke.

He talks about the eTrade baby. The commercials make eTrade money because they connect with everybody. It evokes emotion. It creates desire, belonging, trust, etc. You have to create the desire and anticipation.  Sales is about persuasion, persuasion requires emotion, emotion requires connection. You have to connect better.  Do that by creating a character. [I love that this totally goes against the advice in the last session where characters were frowned upon.]

He talks about a campaign he did with Acer. They had a video contest. The winner was based on views so it encouraged people to promote the videos themselves using their networks.  The winner created two videos – his entry and a “behind the scenes” look. The BTS video showed that most of his video where he was hang gliding with his Acer was actually shot using a green sreen in front of his house. It was interesting and it got people’s attention. It received hundreds of thousands of views and won several YouTube honors.

You need to leverage your network. And once you create your network, don’t f’ it up.  You want to contribute. You want to give good ideas. Even if you’re trying to influence someone to do something, you still have to entice them. You have to evoke emotion to make them want to spread the word.

Hope is not a strategy. You need to have a plan.

Someone asks how you handle negative video contest entries – when people are criticizing your brand. Larry says that you do run that risk when you open the floodgates. When you have a major brand that people either connect with or don’t connect with, you rely on your reputation.  It’s very tough to manage your brand when you’re someone as big as Chevy. When you’re smaller, it’s about righting wrongs and communication.

Social media with no strategy drives “traffic”. He’s from Jersey. Traffic has never been good to him. Strategic thought and value creates “revenue”. You want to connect with the right people. He puts a lot of thought into doing that. There’s so much noise out there that you have to focus to break through it. You have 5 to 8 seconds to make a connection. It only takes a split second to send the wrong message. [It’s funny. Click it]

Social Rules:

  • You are judged by the company you keep: You’re not judged by “how many”, you’re judged by “who”.
  • Treat people the way you would like to be treated.
  • If you keep doing that you’re going to go blind (invisible).

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