[Cross-posted from my original post at True Digital Communications' More to Come blog.]
What happens when you have an idea that you know could be successful, but you just don’t have the cash for paid advertising?
Of course, that’s much easier said than done. The equation to what exactly makes online content viral has been under debate since the phenomenon began, with Gawker, TechCrunch, Social Media Today, Forbes, Mashable, Spin Sucks and countless others chiming in. With so many different analyses, how do we know what’s correct? Is there a correct answer? Let’s take a look at a specific brand example.
Dollar Shave Club, a new startup with few resources available to it, created a cheap viral video with almost five million views at this writing. It suddenly received thousands of orders, plus positive reviews and analyses like this. This article even claims the video and Dollar Shave Club are part of a new capitalism where startups can move forward with the help of social media.
Of course, Dollar Shave Club has other positive attributes as well. Its website is user-friendly, the product and how the service works are well-explained, it keeps an active social media presence, and it possesses a tagline that is easy to remember: “Shave Money. Shave Time.”
Does this mean a company can simply make a video and expect success from that? Of course not. Dollar Shave Club is lucky that its video was one of the relative few to go viral. Nothing is ever viral until it suddenly goes viral. No one in public relations or marketing can control whether a video goes viral or not, even though plenty of people would probably like to!
The uncertain nature of going viral constitutes a risk. What if your brand spends a lot of money to create a professional video in the hopes it will go viral and it falls flat? What if your brand quickly slaps together a video and it suddenly gets viewed by millions within a few hours?
Of course, the Dollar Shave Club video is a case study to be celebrated. One video helped a company become an overnight success. That’s the power of social media and corporate social video, especially if your brand is lucky enough to go viral.