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About ten years back, when I began creating content, it was much easier to go viral. Even I had my own viral YouTube video. It was controversial.
Early on a Christmas morning, I’d caught wind of a contentious topic. With little preparation and just before I was to leave for church, I recorded and uploaded a video of my thoughts to YouTube. I wanted to cause a stir and the video performed as intended. Admittedly, I hadn’t anticipated being recognised on the streets. Neither had it crossed my mind that other content creators would care much about the video. A sizeable number who thought it would make for good content began sharing their opinion on me. Not the topic of the video I’d created. Me. I was the object of conversation.
People, including those I had considered my friends, were sharing opposing or supportive opinions of me. For the first few days after my video release, I saw blogs, more videos, tweets and digital magazine articles about me. I remember dreading logging onto one of the social media platforms. Honestly, don’t bother searching for this recording as I’ve since removed it. It went viral for all the wrong reasons. Nothing sordid. It was just me being authentic on social media – I suppose you could call it. However I didn’t want that video to be the thing I was known for, that’s all. What can I say, I’m a brand strategist, and I’m big on image.
Growing your organization, spreading the word, doing work you’re proud of–these aren’t engineering problems or economics problems. They’re marketing problems.
These days going viral is harder. Not a problem for the most part because the purpose of our marketing is building an identity and reaching a defined segmented market. We don’t need our content to seen by every active Facebook user – just those who are going to be interested in our products. What we want is for our thought-out ideal customer to know that we are here to help them and we do it better than the competition.
Long after that viral video, I have found that authenticity is not enough. The best content, the prettiest content, the grittiest content won’t work on its own to build a brand presence. Social media is saturated with content creators who were brave enough not to take down their first embarrassing viral video at least not until they were very well known. They now have large loyal followings and continue to create with a seeming ease that the newbies try to imitate.
Nowadays, being strategic are the methods best to adopt. Stories, in particular, are the path that I have chosen to achieve visibility and online community development. It’s the only chance a brand has of being original.
Tell us a story that helps us believe in the change.
Defining goals, identifying the stories that will most resonate with our customers and strategising takes time and effort. Social media lures content creators to create quickly and to be seen. Attention is scarce, and the desire is to obtain as much of the little attention as is available and to do it as quickly as possible. It leaves little time to think and the rush to do – to keep creating; to get attention. The risk is that content is created for all because that’s easier. All too often, the smaller niche audiences are overlooked.
The clever brand decides it will cater to this forgotten audience. They plan and then execute a content strategy designed to help those who need a solution only their brand provides. They’ve studied and know well their customers, as well as their hopes, fear and desires. They’ve curated brand stories that weave effortlessly into their audiences’ consciousness.
Strategic brands want to connect with their audiences in a way that is emotional and meaningful. Because they want to be remembered after the viral video has been forgotten.