If you didn’t hear of any of the 5 most viral moments of 2012, you probably live under a rock. These moments were discussed and shared everywhere online for weeks. None of these moments are viral because of an effective social media or sales strategy; they’re viral because humans and nature conjure incredible things. You can’t predict and plan for viral moments on social media, but you can definitely screw up with ill-placed marketing ploys that attempt to ride the coattails of tragedy or greatness all for a few sales or Facebook likes. As crises expose our true natures, viral moments expose our brand values. Take a look at these moments, and think about whether or not your organization got involved in the conversations surrounding them. What about you personally? Consider how you may have made a name for yourself in these moments, and how it would have impacted your brand. The next time a viral moment arises, are you going to play it safe and stay out of it, or are you going to use it to show your true colors?
NASA Curiosity Rover
The journey of NASA’s Curiosity Rover was documented on the rover’s Twitter account, and history was made when the device tweeted a picture of the surface of the moon with the following tweet, which quickly went viral: ”I’m safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!!” The lesson for sales teams here is simple: Develop a voice with your social media profiles and find a way to dig your virtual talons into the intrigue of your consumer base.
Facebook Goes Public
The day Facebook went public, the online world locked into conversation. Thousands of people argued and pontificated over the decision and its consequences. The monumental day for the social media site with 3 billion users went viral because Facebook built up enough conversation around the decision. When the day came, people were ready and armed to spend the entire day discussing it online.
Felix Baumgartner Jumps
Space daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s free-fall jump through the Earth’s sound barrier held the attention of the social media-sphere for days. The jump went viral for the daring man behind it, but also because Red Bull made sure the stunt lived online by streaming it for free and integrating it into all of its social media accounts for a unified online presence. Are your social media profiles properly synced and ready for a new product launch when the time comes?
Facebook Buys Instagram
The social media storm of reactions to Facebook’s $1 billion purchase of the photo-sharing site Instagram can give sales teams valuable insight on tracking consumer behavior online. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the purchase of Instagram on his Facebook timeline, and the firestorm began. When you launch a product or announce a sale on a social media site, make sure you have plans in place to track the reaction.
For an example of social media’s power to connect people, sales teams and businesses need not look any further than Hurricane Sandy. When Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States in late October, the devastating storm was documented on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter from the moment the damage began.
People affected by the storm turned to social media to find places they could get clean water, food and temporary shelter. Businesses went out of their way to provide for and connect with their customers in need. Although the storm had nothing to do with sales productivity, sales teams should take away a valuable lesson: when consumers want something and need a connection, they will often turn to social media. Make sure your sales teams have built strong, lasting relationships with customers through your social media accounts. You never know when it will pay off.