Can you make a viral product announcement?
Is it easy?
Achieving viral status with your marketing campaign is a goal for every business.
Social media and the speed of sharing in the digital space is an “untapped” source of growth potential.
Most believe that with a few good posts or a campaign that raises curiosity, success is a given.
And it’s no wonder most marketers & business owners have this impression.
- Blendtec went from a small operation to being a household name with the help of a viral YouTube video series
- Dollar Shave Club was acquired for $1 billion in 2016, and they started with a $4,5K budget video that helped put them on the map
And, of course, everyone knows about Old Spice’s “Man You Could Smell Like” ad or is aware of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that raised $115 million to fight the rare disease.
Yet, “winning” in your KPIs is a more difficult process and most “viral” attempts end up as total flops.
In fact, when you search for “viral” marketing campaigns you’ll often find little to no results that can actually be put in the “viral” category.
Of course, you’ll come across a bunch of well-recognized brand names with prominent and popular ads. And, you’ll also often see games or SNL ads that mostly became popular due to their entertainment factor.
So, it’s obvious, marketers & owners want to “tap” into unmatched campaign success. But, why, with so many attempts, don’t we see viral marketing actually living up to its promise?
Why you should trust us?
Before we start a quick message – we’ve helped numerous brands and individuals achieve “viral” status and “viral” campaigns on LinkedIn with some posts having more than a million views with little to no investment. Check out our LinkedIn Influencer program or our Case Studies to learn more. We just don’t like to brag.
So let’s get into the meat of this.
Here’s what we are going to discuss:
- Understanding Your Customers – Don’t think people are dumb!
- Playing On Emotions vs. Curiosity – Old marketing tricks still work!
- Providing Value vs. Providing Entertainment – People have Netflix. Offer something else.
Let’s get started.
Understanding Your Customers
What is your target customer profile?
Do you want to achieve virality with everyone or a select group of people? These questions matter when crafting your viral content.
The aim of going viral is to drive brand interaction and in this case, new product awareness.
You may easily go viral with content that appeals to “everyone,” but how is that going to help your bottom line?
The way to do is to find out what generally resonates the most with your target customers.
To put it simply, you’re personalizing content.
What’s funny to Generation Z won’t exactly appeal to startup founders aged 21-45. And, professional tech services won’t appeal to everyone in college.
It’s critical that you get your demographic dialed in first before you even start the content creation process.
Get People to Engage With You
On LinkedIn, if you want to achieve virality, the first 24 hours matter.
Those engagements from your first-degree connections are counted by the LinkedIn algorithm that decides if it’s good enough to show to your third-degree connections.
The same holds true with other social media networks like Facebook where your friend’s friend shares your post, holds a lot of value in getting that post circulated.
So, what’s one quick way to get people to drive your product launch to virality?
Get them to engage with you.
Now there are a lot of ways to get people to share a post. You can add throw in a raffle for people that share your post (common tactic with Facebook sales pitches,) ask them to comment, give them something for free, have a competition, or our personal favorite, make it so appealing that people have to share it.
It could be the story of the brand, the humor behind it, or emotions that people want their connections to experience.
Know the Demographics of Your Platform
Once you understand the demographic you’re vying for, understand the platform you want to launch the campaign in.
- LinkedIn is the largest professional social network with about a quarter of a billion active monthly users.
- TikTok has a higher male user base compared to Instagram.
- More than 50 percent of Twitter users have a college degree.
Understanding where you’ll launch your viral content is highly dependent on your customers.
If it’s professional content, use LinkedIn, if it’s aimed at Gen Z, you could use a combination of TikTok and Instagram.
The language that you use on different channels matters. When we post article blurbs on different mediums we take into account the general mood of the platform.
However, don’t just limit it to that. Remember to…
Use a Multidimensional Approach to Virality
Content that’s truly viral becomes popular on multiple fronts.
Say you’ve decided to go with a video on YouTube. This video now has to be syndicated on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
It doesn’t stop there.
You want to have it featured in other places such as blogs and maybe your local news website perhaps.
This helps you build momentum and increases the surface area of what you’re doing.
Once you’ve released your content: get a pod going to share it, publish it on your monthly newsletter, get people to tweet about it, share it on Facebook and LinkedIn, and host it on your website.
It follows the same principle as lead generation, you want to have multiple possible touchpoints to connect with your customers.
Statistics have shown that a brand being present on multiple mediums that a prospect uses has a higher chance of achieving brand recognition.
Tell a Personal Story
Your prospects are people, too.
And, people love stories.
In fact, everyone is moving from traditional deliberate forms of marketing to storytelling because it works.
Back in the day, if you wanted people to learn a lesson or deliver a message, you did it in stories.
Don’t believe us?
Look at all the fables, bedtime stories, gossip, and legends that will still remember from our childhood.
Important messages have always been packaged as stories because they’re easier to digest.
A lot of brands have gone towards storytelling because it breaks the barrier between entertainment and product awareness. It evokes emotions and makes your product relatable.
I use personal stories all the time in my LinkedIn posts and I find that they get substantial engagement because people want to hear about normal people in normal situations.
Emotions Help Make You Relatable
It’s okay to be vulnerable.
Because, everyone has their own vulnerabilities.
Using emotions allow you to connect with people, especially if you connect them with storytelling.
One way to achieve virality is to show people raw emotions that people often choose to keep in the sidelines. There’s nothing wrong with sadness, excitement, fear, anger, loss, etc.
These are things that everyone feels.
We like using emotion because it gets to the meat of the message, and we’ve seen a lot of people use it spread awareness whether it’s for causes, brands, or products.
Here’s a campaign that used emotion to go appeal to people and go viral.
The reason this worked was it created an emotional connection with the people watching.
Another example would be Heineken’s World’s Apart video that examined opposite views with people that felt strongly about them.
Or, check out what Alibaba did with this example:
Your viral product announcement doesn’t have to be particularly heart-wrenching, but it does need emotion to relate with people.
You Can Still Use Humor!
Remember Dumb Ways to Die?
Before we all sing-a-long to the catchiest public service announcement we’ve heard all decade. Let’s take a look at its history.
Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia wanted a public service announcement that was catchy so they partnered up with McCann in one of the darkest and cutest ways of delivering a message.
Although, it DWTD did receive a lot of backlash for its antics. It’s one of the best examples of how thinking using humor helped Metro Trains push for
However, that was not all, McCann reportedly used North American voices for it to go viral so that it would be picked up later in Australia.
In effect, they leveraged both humor and a global mindset to get the results that they were looking for.
DWTD is not the only example of using humor to achieve virality, there are plenty more examples out there, but the way they utilized something as disturbing as death to get the message out there has a lot of lessons for marketers.
It’s perfectly alright to use humor in a product launch because it allows the launch to be light and easy on the heart.
You Don’t Have To Be Original
For a lot of startups, coming with something absolutely fresh can be taxing.
We’ve been in the business of taking our clients viral and sometimes old methods still work well.
There are a lot of companies that still reuse templates that have worked in the past to achieve virality.
In the LinkedIn Content Bible, we gave away free templates to use to make posts go viral. In fact, there are times where we reuse already trending videos and repackage them – crediting the source, of course – to create new viral posts.
Here’s a sneak peek, if you’re interested:
So, what does this mean for product launches?
If you’re experiencing a creative drought, look for examples elsewhere.
Another way of going viral is to leverage the competition.
This silly tweet from Popeye’s calling out Chick-fil-A caused them to run of stocks for two months!
Although it might not be the best example for new product launches, it’s another way of looking at originality.
Capitalize On What’s Already Trending
We talked about the ALS ice bucket challenge earlier in this guide, but there are still a lot of lessons to learn from it.
It wasn’t just Bill Gates and a host of other industry leaders and personalities doing the challenge, but almost everyone else.
Remember “the dress”?
Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia to remind you.
Do you know how many brands jumped on the bandwagon?
We’re looking at industry titans such as Adobe, Dunkin’ Donuts, and even Lego all jumping in on the craze.
Another way of going viral with your product launch is to jump on another viral trend.
Why does it work?
People already know what you’re on about, so they’re instantly hooked.
Once they’re hooked, they’ll be curious to know what you have to offer, and you can seal their attention and bring them over to convert.
It’s not just new product launches that benefit from viral trends in the market. You can also create a buzz for your product using current trends.
Test Your Viral Product Announcement
It’s surprising that not a lot of marketers test their content extensively before they release it.
It doesn’t matter if you spend money on an FGD or get your friends to take a look at your content. What matters is that you test it extensively.
If you’re creating any post, make sure that you create multiple variations and run it through other eyes. This will help you stay objective about the content.
However, testing doesn’t just stop there. You can even run A/B tests.
Once you’ve picked out a contender, create small variations of the content e.g., with static posts, change out the CTA, and run A/B tests using UTM parameters on Google Analytics.
Check out which one is more popular and focus on running with that.
If you don’t achieve a viral product announcement, then keep trying, but make sure you log all your metrics so you have a good idea of what went wrong.
To this date, we still log everything that we do and the metrics that we generate. It’s the only way that we can achieve virality with our clients.
Yes, going viral is difficult.
There are times where following al the rules can still lead to poor results.
But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
Going viral is much of a science as it is an art.
Do you want to know what makes all the difference?
It’s knowing your customer and continuously testing the process.
We’ve worked with hundreds of clients, getting them viral content and helping them hack their growth. It’s always been a difficult process, the algorithms change, people’s preferences change, and you might have the process down to a “t” and still mess up the timing.
If you don’t go viral on your first attempt, charge it to experience, and get back on the drawing board, figure out what exactly went wrong, retweak, and have another go.
Remember: difficult doesn’t mean impossible.
If we can go viral, so can you.