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The Art of Going Viral

The Art of Going Viral

Viral: The word itself has practically gone viral these days. But what is “Viral Marketing”? How does one create a surefire viral video these days?

In truth, there is a nearly limitless supply of incredible content on the internet these days. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Imgur and countless other websites play host to millions of great ideas every day. There are select few items that go viral, so much so that it is on everyone’s lips within days of being shared. While it is nearly impossible to dictate what will go viral, there are ways to make sure your idea gets the attention it deserves.

There is a law, Metcalfe’s Law, which calculates the value of a network. Essentially, the network effect says that the value of each potential sharer is proportional to the number of individuals he or she can connect to. This is important for marketers because by creating and joining strong networks, they are given opportunity to see incredible Return on Investment through the use of viral marketing. Though there is cost associated with promoting content, the ROI on a truly viral video or photo will outweigh the cost exponentially.

There are two key ideas to see content go viral:

1. The content must be worthy of going viral.

2. The content must be shared on a wide range of strong networks to reap the benefits of these networks.


Are you truly desperate to create content that will go viral? Your content should meet at least one, if not more, of the below criteria:


1. It makes people stop and think.

2. It is different or isn’t something that mainstream media would generally cover.

3. It agrees with most people’s world view.

4. People will smile when they see it.

5. It contains drama.

6. It is embarrassing.

7. It’s sexy (though still safe for work)

8. It is incredible or simply unbelievable.

9. It gets in touch with people’s emotions.

10. It is down right hysterical.

Here are some examples of some outstanding Viral Marketing campaigns in recent history.


Old Spice.


Old Spice started a campaign a few years back that touched on many of the key ingredients to viral success: It made people smile, it was sexy, it was different from typical advertising and it was incredibly funny. With the success of these commercials, Old Spice continued to make new, original content, including these outrageous commercials with Terry Crews.


Old spice continues to enjoy great viral success to this day with their marketing and has brought a fresh face to their product that has the attention of a new generation.


This past Holiday Season, WestJet created a video that turned into a viral sensation. Watch the video if you haven’t yet seen it.


This powerful video also contained many of the above criteria. It made people stop and think, it was different and had not been done before, people smiled when they saw it, it contained drama, it was truly incredible and got in touch with the emotions of everyone that saw it. This was easily the most talked about video this past holiday season.


So there you have it. You’re well on your way to creating your very own viral content. Don’t be upset if your video isn’t viewed by 10 million people in one week, there is no true formula to becoming a viral sensation. Though with some effort and some luck, who knows what you can accomplish.

We’ll leave you with this week’s most viral video. Enjoy Hero Cat!



How Social Media Changed The World: Part 2

How Social Media Changed The World: Part 2

Google was the brain child of two Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Larry, 22 at the time and Sergey, 21, began to bring their idea to life with a search engine named BackRub, that operated on the Stanford servers for more than a year. On September 15th, 1997, Google was registered as a domain name, and internet search engines would never be the same again.

This is how Google looked in its early years

Much  more than just a search engine now, Google has changed the internet, social media and the world for the better. As early as December of 1998, “PC Magazine” reported that Google is the search engine of choice in the Top 100 Web Sites of 1998. In October of 2000, Google AdWords is launched, introducing keyword targeting in online advertising and in July 2001, Google Images is launched allowing people to find specific images online.

Since then, Google has launched Google News, Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Analytics and Google+, their own social networking website which works in tandem with Youtube, an acquisition of Google’s in 2006. Google is a global powerhouse, to such a degree that the Google homepage receives 7.2 billion views per day.  Over 6 billion hours of video are watched on Youtube each month! These numbers are unprecedented and they continue to grow!

Psy's "Gangnam Style" has over 1.8 billion views
Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has over 1.8 billion views

There is no doubt that Google will continue to flourish throughout the world. It has become a household name that people trust and rely on every day for work, school and personal use and has truly been a key player in the evolution of Social Media.

Stay tuned for part 3 of “How Social Media Changed The World”.



Contest Marketing: Everyone’s A Winner!

Everyone likes to win free stuff. It’s the reason we play the lottery, it’s the reason we love game shows, and it’s the reason that contest marketing is so effective.

To kick-start the New Year, we at Engine 8 Media released our own contest called “The Ultimate Marketing Makeover” where by signing up for our newsletter, contestants are offered a chance to win:

– One month of social media management
– Free graphic design work for a new business card or company logo
– Custom design for a new email newsletter
– A free promotional online video
– 50% off a new website

In light of this, we decided to write about what’s involved in throwing an effective contest so that other businesses might take advantage of the same great marketing opportunity.

The Concept
Before you do anything, you need to figure out what you want to get from your contest. Is it…
– Increased brand awareness?
– More hits on your homepage?
– Email addresses?
– More media content like photos and videos?

Once you know what you want, its time to figure out how to get it, and in order to do that you need to understand your target audience. Ask yourself:
– Are they tech savvy?
– Are they creative?
– Are they business types?
– What is their typical age?

All these things will have to be considered when determining what contestants have to do to win. If they are tech savy and creative, you could run a video contest. If they are business types who are always short on time perhaps a simple enter to win contest will suffice. Whatever it is you want to make sure that it strikes a healthy balance of making the contest accessible while still achieving your goal (what you want to get from the contest)

Additionally make sure you have a system in place to track all the entries and keep them organized so that when it comes time to pick a winner you aren’t scrambling to find everything.

The Prize
Prizes are what entice people to play. You don’t have to spend thousands, but do make it something people actually want or else all the promotion in the world wont help increase entries.

The most important thing to consider is your target audience, what will attract them and make them want to play?

The length
How long are you going to give yourself to create, maintain and take advantage of the buzz, keeping in mind that you’ll have to promote your contest for the entire length its running?

Consider all the elements involved with participating and then time accordingly.

The Hype
Creating a contest with an excellent prize is not enough, it needs to be heavily promoted.

What are some options?
– Promote it on your homepage
– Send out an email blast
– Post it on your blog
– Take it to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
– Create a video that announces the contest
– Get creative and think outside the box!

The Side Benefits
Now you’re attracting a whole new audience as you create buzz around your contest. People who didn’t know you existed yesterday, are now suddenly interested in who you are and what you do.

With all this increased attention you will need to make sure that you are the best version of yourself you can be. You want to release your smartest posts, your greatest theories, and the stuff that makes you stand out in the most positive light.

Because although only one person might win that grand prize, every entry is a potential customer who might desperately need or want what you have to offer.

The Winner
Once your winner is selected, how will the community be notified?
– Via blog post?
– Secret RSS message in your RSS feed?
– Video post?
– Twitter message?
– Message in a bottle?

Make sure that you take the time to properly carry out this last stage of the contest as everyone who entered (and maybe even a few people who didn’t) are eagerly awaiting the news so make sure that it gets out to as many people as possible.

Social Media Marketing: What People Are Saying

As a followup to our last blog post on the awkward relationship between big business and social media, we thought we would take a minute to look at the opinion of the marketing community on the importance of social media.

To get the ball rolling we present the following figures that have been collected from Social Media Examiners 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

We encourage everyone to use the comment section at the bottom of this post to add their own figures that they have come across as well as give us their opinion so that we can find out how people really feel about this whole industry!!!

Marketers place high value on social media: A significant 90% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business.

Measurement and integration are top areas marketers want to master: One- third of all social media marketers want to know how to monitor and measure the return on investment (ROI) of social media and integrate their social media activities.

Social media marketing takes a lot of time: The majority of marketers (58%) are using social media for 6 hours or more each week, and more than a third (34%) invest 11 or more hours weekly.

Video marketing on the rise: A significant 77% of marketers plan on increasing their use of YouTube and video marketing, making it the top area marketers will invest in for 2011.

Marketers seek to learn more about Facebook and blogging: 70% of marketers want to learn more about Facebook and 69% want to learn more about blogging.

The top benefits of social media marketing: The number-one advantage of social media marketing (by a long shot) is generating more business exposure, as indicated by 88% of marketers. Increased traffic (72%) and improved search rankings (62%) were also major advantages.

The top social media tools: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs were the top four social media tools used by marketers, in that order. Facebook has eclipsed Twitter to take the top spot since our 2010 study.

Social media outsourcing underutilized: Only 28% of businesses are outsourcing some portion of their social media marketing.

Let’s hear what you have to say!