Why Going Viral Shouldn’t Be the Primary Goal
Lately, much attention has been given to “viral” online content, meaning content that has spread like wildfire across social media. In fact, going viral has become a major goal for many brands, from nonprofits to soda companies. Campaigns that go viral (for the right reasons, at least) are surely a call for celebration, but that doesn’t mean a business owner should focus solely on going viral when crafting a content marketing strategy. Below, our team of South Florida digital marketers explain why going viral is not all what it’s cut out to be.
Content With One Goal vs. Many Goals
Most viral content has one exclusive goal, and that is to entertain. It is certainly a plus for a brand’s marketing content to be able to entertain its audience, but it must also accomplish other goals. An effective content strategy tries to sell a product or service, drive conversions, or gain customer loyalty. These objectives are not accomplished (unlike virality) overnight. Therefore, a social media manager should think of the long-term effect a campaign has on the brand. Unless there is a strategy that will continue to harness the benefits of a viral campaign beyond the hype, investing in a campaign with virality as its main goal will not be worth it.
Gets Noticed But Not Remembered
Viral content is like a flash in the pan, millions can pay attention for a short amount of time, but once the excitement dies down, the attention once focused on the brand will die along with it. There have been very few cases of viral brand campaigns, so there is a slim chance for a campaign to even achieve virality. Instead of aiming to go viral, trying to be remembered by audiences will benefit a brand the most, audiences who are most likely to be customers or brand advocates.
The Internet Hates Try Hards
Most viral content is not branded content. They are usually created by individuals who did not intend or expect their work to experience a surge in popularity. When a business’s sole focus is to make its campaign go viral, it may be trying to emulate the latest viral video or post. But if the effort comes off as fake, online audiences can be unforgiving in pointing out the campaign’s flaws. Many brands make the mistake of trying to benefit from a viral trend without fully understanding such trend. If enough online audiences interpret a company’s efforts as inauthentic, the campaign could be rejected entirely.
Virality Has an Expiration Date
Popularity is good to have, but viral popularity does not last long. Viral popularity will increase eye balls, but not necessarily drive sales. Rather than trying to go viral, the focus should be on more evergreen and long-lasting efforts instead. In order to have a sustained positive impact on a brand, campaigns and content should be designed to outlast trends. Companies should always aim for content that is consistent, relevant, and authentic.
Going viral was a buzz phrase a couple years ago, but like viral content, the hype has died down. For campaigns and branded content, the temporary success virality brings should not be the primary goal. Instead, the focus of a business owner should be placed on putting in continued effort to build a strong brand that will stand the test of time. Sure, being behind the next bucket challenge would be great and attract a great deal of attention — but only until the next hit video hits the web. Ultimately, it is the strength of the brand which will determine the magnitude of a company’s success.
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