A few days ago, a video of a woman rapping to Salt n Pepa went viral with over 9 million views. It went viral in only a couple of days. This video was unremarkable. It was neither extremely funny nor insightful and was only forty seconds long. How this video managed to spark the interest of over 9 million people perplexes me. Bottom line; it’s just not good enough for that. Previously, home videos that have gone viral on YouTube have been pretty exceptional, unbelievable, funny, or heartwarming. This video is none of these things. One could argue that this is the work of expert social media marketers, and they would be right. But the way in which they went about marketing their abilities is new, and quite possibly extremely advantageous for companies.
The video in question has nothing to do with the company East End Project, the company that supplies the inquiry link for the video. The man recording the video is their creative director. At the bottom of the page, users are invited to send questions to an email linked to a media website, allowing for a huge amount of voluntary traffic to said website. In order for companies to compete in the social media market, they have been forced to come up with increasingly unique ways to promote their business without getting in the face of their consumers. So let’s talk about what this video did right.
The ideal mix of organic clicks and social media boosts is a fine balance, and it is often quite easy to tell exactly where any given platform has cheated a little bit. But because this video’s external contacts are so ambiguous and the purpose is not clear, this serves as a genius marketing ploy. We expect to be sold things on YouTube. Commercials are played before every single video is watched and viewers take this as their price for free content. But this is different. The content is being sold subversively, almost undetectably. In contrast to the previous media campaign by Breakr for target, the video itself literally has nothing to do with the product. The company in question is saying “look what I can do”.
Although the company in question claims that the viral video was a happy accident, the owner Paul Salomo licensed the video prior to putting it online. This is a great tactic but also indicative of planning ahead.
So what do companies and users take away from this? Pretty much that in the right hands the Internet can be manipulated to do anything you want if you have the right ingredients for clicks, likes and shares:
1. Having a great title
The video “The Cutest Gangsta I Know. My Wife” is both intriguing and unassuming. The title is based on a personal preference, so we as viewers are expecting to get a glimpse into the personal life of someone else. The title also touches upon love and romance, which is always a popular topic for videos. Most of the time users share and click on videos without even actually looking at them, the title is appealing so the link is shared. Your title is often more important than the content itself.
2. “Real” videos
It doesn’t matter if the video was taken in a professional studio or the front seat of a car, the most important thing is that your video is authentic in its medium. If it is a video that is staged, acted, or promotional, make sure that it is obviously so. This video may not be authentic, but it does not leave viewers with a feeling of being misled, which will inevitably turn off your customer base
3. Minimal Promotional Material
If a company is going to come out with a video that is meant to indirectly promote themselves, their products or services then keep the promotional information to a minimum. If you are putting out a commercial for your product, great, go nuts just don’t appear to be communicating a contrived message. But if you are trying to raise awareness through interesting content, keep all that to a minimum. Viewers should not feel like they are being mercilessly sold to all the time. There’s enough of that on the internet.
iRISEmedia.com is a web design, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and online reputation management firm in Toronto, Canada. Our team helps clients increase their reach and profitability by developing and implementing customized and targeted online and social media marketing strategies. We service clients in Toronto, Ontario, the GTA and throughout Canada as well as globally.