Every brand would kill for a viral video on social media.
The free publicity not only engages prospects, but it expands a brand’s reach beyond just its target audience.
What are the elements necessary for a social media video to go viral, and how have other brands accomplished this elusive goal? Let’s take a look at three examples that will shed some light on this fascinating subject.
Dove #MyBeautyMySay Campaign
For years, Dove was known as a ‘soft’ company that expressed standard views of beauty that did not adapt to changing demographics.
But as the company began to understand that its target audience was composed of many different types of women with different body sizes and facial features, it changed its marketing approach.
The #MyBeautyMySay campaign was a perfect example of this shift, and it featured normal women telling their stories about how they viewed beauty.
What made the videos so powerful was that these were all women who had been told that they weren’t beautiful, because some aspect of their bodies or their features didn’t fit into traditional notions of beauty.
Jessica, one of the women featured in the series of videos, is plus-sized and was always told that only slim girls could dress in fashionable clothes. She refused to let that standard define her, and has now carved out a career as a fashion blogger.
The video series went viral, and even hit number one on the Visible Measures Viral Video Chart, which ranks how effective brands are at reaching their audience with digital video.
The takeaway here is that Dove didn’t set out to make a viral video series about a specific product. Instead, it focused its campaign on redefining the meaning of beauty and letting diverse members of its own audience tell their empowering stories.
Elave Nothing To Hide
Elave is a skin cream company that was looking to make a splash when it crafted its Nothing To Hide social media campaign to promote its online store.
The goal of the campaign was to explain to the audience how the company’s organic creams were made in a lab, using all-natural ingredients.
Pretty simple goal, right?
But the video Elave made featured a beautiful, naked woman taking viewers through a tour of the Elave lab, where everyone was also naked.
Elave said it had ‘nothing to hide’ when it came to how its products were made, so the video took things literally, much to viewers’ delight.
This was a bold, risky method of grabbing the audience’s attention, but Elave knew that word-of-mouth would spread like wildfire, making the video a must-see.
Whether viewers cared about skin cream or not, the name ‘Elave’ would likely stick in their minds as the company that made a video with naked actors.
The takeaway here is that Elave deliberately set out to make a video it knew would go viral because viewers would see naked bodies.
But…the bigger key is that Elave made sure that all the people on the video had flawless skin so that despite the provocative bodies on display, the company was still communicating a brand message about the core value of its products.
If you’re going to make a video that has controversial or provocative elements, make sure that you still have elements that tie in that controversy to your product. Otherwise, your audience will quickly realize that you pushed the envelope for no reason other than to get views, and that will dent your credibility.
Dollar Shave Club Our Blades Are F—ing Great
Dollar Shave Club has become a huge disruptor in the men’s shaving industry, and part of the reason is that it posts videos on social media that hit a bulls-eye with its audience.
The company’s Our Blades Are F—ing Great campaign launched its video content that would soon brand Dollar Shave Club as irreverent, ironic and memorable.
The video cost a reported $4,500, and featured Michael Dubin,founder of Dollar Shave Club walking through his company’s warehouse, talking directly at the camera, and explaining why the old ways of buying razors was done.
What made the video so effective is that it didn’t take itself seriously, and in fact, irony and satire was the predominant tone. Dubin has a frat-boy vibe that generated tons of goodwill from his mostly-male audience.
He projects a Millennial entitlement about wanting a better way to shop for razors, and more importantly, he stands up for his brand by appearing on screen to tell his audience why he created the company.
The video went viral and now has more than 25 million YouTube views. It also generated $3.5 million in sales for the year after it premiered.
When you speak for your brand on camera in a creative way that ties directly into your unique selling proposition, you can engage your audience on an entirely different level.
If You Build It, They May Or May Not Come
Most brands will tell you their videos that went viral on social media were unexpected. That’s because for the most part, these videos were not created to go viral, but rather to communicate what made a product or service unique or valuable.
In other words, your first goal for a social media video campaign is to sell the reason your business exists as cleverly as possible. If the video goes viral, that’s a huge plus, but reverse engineering and creating a video specifically in the hopes that it goes viral rarely works.
Create your video based on providing value to your audience, and if the stars align, you may also reap the rewards of content that goes viral.