Getting a video to go viral is the dream of every modern marketer.
Brainstorming creative ideas for hours, hoping that the outcome will skyrocket us to the top of people’s product list…
It’s all a fun and challenging game until it ruins your whole video marketing strategy.
Let’s be clear: having viral video content that is viewed by millions is a series of great victories. Among those victories are a greater chance to launch a new product successfully, and revamp the old, dying product as a fresh market prima donna.
Viral video content is most friendly to e-commerce and B2C companies, and less friendly to B2B companies. One of the best (if not the best) viral videos for B2C companies is Dollar Shave Club’s commercial:
The wise Techopedia said that to be officially categorized as viral, a video must travel rapidly across the many realms of the Internet.
When you pull off such a great campaign, you’ve got to have some serious marketing witchcraft and wizardry, no matter if you’re a B2B or B2C company.
But even if you go viral, it doesn’t promise you a great business outcome.
Apple’s iPhone 6s and 6s+ video received 9 million views on YouTube while its nemesis, Samsung S6 Edge+, received 27 millions. You would think that Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ was more anticipated by the public. The reports collected by The Inquirer, however, proved that iPhone 6s and 6s+ owned the market.
If you’re reading this here, chances are you own a B2B company. Sure, having a crazy 7-digit view count on your YouTube promo video is something great. But it’s an extremely long shot, and it doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome.
So, should you be producing some sort of viral video project right now?
Nope. I don’t think so.
“But why not?”
1. Most viral videos are full of shock value and lacking in actual value
To make a video go viral, you need to inject a strong shock value, or at least evoke a strong emotional response from viewers. Anything that can make viewers say, “Hey, I need to show this to my friends,” or “Oh wow, my Facebook friends totally need to see this thing.”
It could be a “Charlie bit his big brother’s finger,” or “Taylor Swift dancing like nobody’s watching“: you need to include an element that shocks, entertains, delights, saddens or simply makes your viewers produce an audible giggle. Anything that leads them into clicking that share button.
Note: shock value fades with time. Most viral videos are loaded with shock value, and lack actual value. What went viral last year perhaps is forgotten now.
Maybe one or two videos are still etched in your memory, but chances are you don’t remember most of them.
Creating a video with actual value may not bring you the internet fame you’ve been dreaming of, but it might reach just the right select influencers to impact your company significantly.
You can give 1,000,000 people what they want, or you can give 5,000 people what they need.
2. Viral videos don’t have an audience
When a video goes viral, it means that it’s watched by everyone (not literally), although it’s actually not worth their time. It’s mostly pure entertainment and no actual information that’s worth them spending 5 minutes on.
Going viral means not caring about who is watching the video.
Let’s say you’re selling a chemical to dissolve factory wastes. You don’t go knocking door-to-door and prospect every household in the neighborhood, right? I’m 99% sure that your business has target audience or buyer persona of some sort.
Your video content doesn’t have to be so targeted that it’s only relatable to your target audience. You aim to shoot one target, but if the bullet goes through and hit the target behind it, good for you!
3. Education vs Entertainment
Viral videos have a very strong impact on viewers. Most of them make people laugh or cry, feel inspired or motivated, or just mutter “What the heck?” like one of those “Will It Blend” videos:
This is, of course, in contrast with the majority of corporate videos which are just so boring they can make a toddler fall asleep in 2 minutes.
However, Blendtec’s video doesn’t really give value, other than showing that their blender can shred iPhones (and almost everything else). Why not show a proper use for the blender instead?
Regardless of what you’re trying to tell your viewers, your video content will do better with a hint of fun in it.
Fun, colorful videos like the popular animated explainer video will do the trick most of the time.
If you can choose the right animation style that goes along with a well-written script, then the door to video marketing success swings wide for your company. This, of course, is if you’re doing all the promotion right, and hard.
This is why you shouldn’t even want to go viral with your corporate video content:
- Going viral means you’re targeting everybody. Targeting everybody means targeting nobody, especially if you’re a B2B company.
- Viral videos are short-term fun. Valuable videos last longer.
- Viral videos aren’t a guarantee for business success.
Running a successful business isn’t the same thing as running a popular business (unless you’re working in the entertainment industry).
A viral video content is exceptionally awesome for gaining a lot of attention for a certain period of time or a specific cause — like those ALS ice bucket challenge videos.
But the glory doesn’t always last. If the videos you’re making are for corporate purposes, it’s best to stick with value and target your specific market.
Have I convinced you yet that a viral video isn’t really all that good for your business?
If no, tell me why in the comments!