Want to make a digital strategist bang his or her head against a wall for an hour (or two…or three) straight?
Ask them to make you a “viral video”…
We all know that starting with an end goal of creating a viral video is a lofty, typically unrealistic goal. I’ve tried hard to keep the word “viral” out of the vocabulary of any agency where I’ve worked. Is it to say that making a viral video isn’t possible? Absolutely not. Should it be something you sell in to clients? For your sake and sanity, I hope not.
Want to know what does work when you’re trying to gain groundswell video traction?
A solid plan of attack that focuses on the right creative content/call to action, targeted to the right audience and delivered at the right time. Put that combination together, activate the power of smart distribution and social syndication and you’ve taken solid steps towards building views and engagement.
Jennifer Anniston’s Smart water video is a great example – the brand turned the notion of a “viral video” on it’s head earlier this year by purposely creating a video that incorporates elements of other videos that have lit up millions of views on YouTube. Creative use of a celebrity that matches the brand’s target demographic positioned around a recent flood of bizarre YouTube sensations. Perfect.
Though there are certainly plenty of tips and learnings floating around about the best way to create a viral video, step one is to focus on what exactly you’re trying to achieve in the first place and to clearly identify the audience you’re hoping to engage. Get back to basics, remove the pressure of delivering “viral” results and allow the creative floodgates to churn up an idea that will resonate and have a solid shot at driving word of mouth.
Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting a social media strategy Webinar for the organ/tissue donation community as part of the Gift of Life Institute’s “social media bonanza” series. This week, I’ll be continuing the series with my colleague Lee Aase, Manager of Syndication and Social Media at Mayo Clinic, as we present on Maxmizing the Use of Facebook and YouTube for the Donation Community. It should be a good “nuts and bolts” presentation that provides attendees with some solid takeaways to implement.
A lot of the tips and insight are applicable regardless of your company or organization’s mission, so be sure to take a look.
Yup, yup, it’s that time of year where we’re all trying to figure out where we’ve ended up and where we’ll be a year from now. It’s anyone’s guess to a degree but I did want to check in with a couple social media colleagues to have them share their insight.
Lee is the Manager of Syndication and Social Media at Mayo Clinic and also heads up Social Media University Global. He’s had quite the busy year, spurring along a viral video and traveling across the country to share insight about Mayo Clinic’s social media success. I look forward to presenting with Lee on a Webinar in January for the organ/tissue donation community.
Arik has also had a big year as 2009 marked the launch of ACH Communications. A constant innovator and connector, Arik also plays a big role as a mover and shaker in the world of healthcare and social media.
On top of checking out Lee and Arik’s responses below, I’d also encourage you to hop over to David Mullen‘s blog to check out his post on Four PR Trend Predictions for 2010. I always have a grand appreciation for David’s insight and this post will not disappoint.
In your mind, what one social media trend dominated 2009?
AH: One trend we saw in 2009 was toward using social media for social good. Just look what Danny Brown and 12for12K Nation did in the last 11 months. What about how Sarah Evans helped a local shelter raise 16K in less than three weeks. Or even what David Armano did early in the year to raise money for a family in need. Maybe not a social cause, but definitely social good. The larger point? Organizations–and people–used social media to make a difference.
LA: I think 2009 was the year of Twitter. With lots of celebrities getting involved it drew millions of others to try it out. I also think we saw the Twitter site make significant changes so that the basic Web interface is much more functional. For instance, it’s now reasonable to follow and participate in a Twitter chat right from your Twitter home page. I did a post on the topic here: 3 Steps to Joining or Leading a Twitter Chat.
I previously would have said you needed to use Tweetdeck or another interface for a Twitter chat. This makes it much more practical for lots of people to get involved in group Twitter chats.
What trend do you think will be big in 2010?
AH: Two things: Mobile and social media “behind the firewall.” With more people buying smart phones every day, mobile marketing is ready to explode. I only see that growing in 2010. And, as the devices evolve, so will our marketing efforts and approaches. There are so many opportunities with mobile video, live streaming, FourSquare, BrightKite, Twitter, etc. Increasingly, people are doing more business on mobile devices. Banking, buying, donating, reading review of restaurants, I could go on and on. Brands would be wise to keep a pulse on this scene.
I think you’ll also see more companies start using social media as a tool “behind the firewall.” To date, more companies have been intrigued by the possibilities social media can provide with customers and other external stakeholders. But, in 2010, I think you’ll see more organizations think about using some of these same tools internally to foster collaboration, innovation and faster decision-making.
Organizations still need to become more efficient. That’s not going away just because the economy is showing signs of life. And, all successful companies thrive on innovation. Most social tools make these processes easier–especially for organizations that operate in a silo or are geographically dispersed.
LA: I think the mobile Web will be even bigger, with Android-based phones providing more smartphone choices, so while apps have been big in 2009, I think they’ll be huge in 2010.
Name one of your social media goals for 2010:
AH: In a word: Read.
Sure, most of my goals revolve around my new business and getting that off the ground, but reading is something that always gets pushed to the backburner. And, I simply can’t let that happen in 2010. By making time for daily reading (i.e., blogs, news sites and other sources of information), I am able to stay better informed of what’s going on in the world which helps me personally, professionally and on the new business front.
Reading blogs has also proven to be a tremendous networking tool for me. In 2009, I started reading Mengel’s Musings, LAF, Dave Fleet, Conversation Agent, Media Emerging, Social Media Explorer and Convince & Convert, among many, many others. That has not only led to learning new skills, generating new ideas and expanding my view in the social sphere, but also to actually meeting the bloggers behind these fantastically smart reads. And, in turn, that has enriched my life. Beyond words. The benefits speak for themselves.
LA: We (Mayo Clinic) had a really exciting year in 2009, launching our Sharing Mayo Clinic blog and syndicating an hour-long radio show nationally using social media (Twitter, streaming audio and our radio.mayoclinic.org blog) for about five percent of the cost of traditional syndication. One of my goals in 2010 is to consolidate some of those activities and create even more efficient and standardized processes, so we can have a good platform from which to launch our next wave.
That next wave is going to be pretty exciting. Stay tuned.