Posts by diana

How to make a video viral? Jonathan Berger’s STEPS in “I feel Good” campaign

7 May 2013

Have you ever wondered why certain online digital marketing campaigns go viral? As part of our MSc Marketing course at Salford Business School we created a video and tested how Jonathan Berger’s STEPS concept works in real life projects.

We were introduced to Jonathan Berger’s idea of STEPS during our Search and Social Media Marketing module guest speaker’s Denise Brooks presentation.  Berger suggested that going viral is not just luck, its science based on psychology of talk.

Jonathan Berger’s STEPS concept

The key 6 STEPS in creating a viral video using Jonathan Berger’s idea of STEPS are:

  1. Social currency
  2. Trigger
  3. Emotion
  4. Public
  5. Practical value
  6. Story

Here is bit more background on the concept from Jonathan Berger himself:

I feel Good – viral video campaign concept

Our task was to create a viral campaign to promote Salford Business School to future applicants. The question we faced was – “How to make a video viral?”. We decided to take an interactive and lively approach to the campaign and link it to the online community of those following the ‘I feel good’ song by James Brown as a base for the viral video. Using keyword research we identified that “I feel good” is a popular search term, which taps into an existing community of interest online.

Through this song we emphasised that Salford Business School has great facilities and it is an enjoyable place where students feel good when they are better placed. People from different backgrounds have sung the verse showing the cultural variety that could be found in Salford Business School. This video linked to current campaign of the University of Salford – ‘Be better Placed’ and anyone interested to study business management courses at Salford Business School. At the end of the video we used a call to action message: You feel good when you’re better placed. Salford Business School… Be better placed. What makes you #IFeelGood? The idea here was to get people to share their own stories and get the video “viral” so that students would create their own footage and post it using this already existing hash tag on twitter  – #IFeelGood.

Jonathan Berger’s STEPS Framework application and results

The video contains 4 key Jonathan Berger ideas: It has social currency as the video uses humour which makes people feel good and encourages people to share. This is because of well-known trigger, the song, which becomes associated with the positive emotions that could be achieved studying at Salford Business School. It kindles the fire to share as ‘feel good’ emotions are embedded in the song. The video has a public message as it shows how Salford Business School community is beneficial for studying business in an interactive environment.

“I feel Good” campaign results

The “I feel good” campaign ran for one week during which time we were competing with five other student teams. By integrating this video with social networks sharing and organic search optimisation we achieved over 500 views in just over a week! This was associated with an incredible number of re-tweets, shares on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+, comments and various social media platforms.

Our campaign integrated Social Media Optimisation (SMO) with YouTube video optimisation. YouTube optimisation was done using a keyword rich video title, video description and keywords in video tags so that we have had a good stream of organic traffic coming from different searches.

This practical project as part of our Search and Social Media Marketing module proved that a viral campaign could be easily managed through a controlled message and a plan without a budget!

What do you think about Berger’s STEPS framework? Is it a science that makes it contagious or just luck? Please share and comment below.

Diana is on LinkedIn: Diana