Are you new to digital marketing and interested in launching a viral campaign? Then you could learn something from our experience in running a viral campaign as part of our Search and Social Media Marketing module. This module is shared by MSc Marketing and Salford MBA postgraduate students at Salford Business School.
Launching a viral campaign is a great cost-effective way to connect with a wide and otherwise unreachable audience. The only real barrier to entry in this context is being able to construct an engaging idea.
Our challenge was to create a viral video, but how can we do it? Our client for our campaign was the University of Salford Business School, and we chose to target our campaign at EU/home students looking to study for undergraduate business management degrees. We were given the overall aim of building awareness of the clients brand and generating leads to the course application webpage. To achieve this, we had to combine certain ‘brand consistencies’ given by the client, as well as the ‘creative’ elements that we thought would have characteristics of being viral.
We began our work by looking at competitors online strategies, researching online trends, reading journals and blogs on viral marketing strategies and analysing past viral marketing successes. After gathering enough research we were set with the most difficult task of a viral campaign, creating original and engaging content that our target audience would be willing to share with their friends.
Our attempt at going viral was a video to be posted on YouTube and shared through international social media networks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit. The storyline is about a frustrated student looking for the right place to study business, who finally finds the website with the help of his Lego figures. While it may sound very unusual and irrelevant to use Lego in a university business school campaign, our rationale was that the stop-motion animation that we created would grab the attention of our target audience because of its relative originality. This was also backed up by the fact that online videos which include Lego stop-motion animations are particularly popular on YouTube with our target audience which made it more likely to go viral.
Halfway through the development of the video, feedback received from our client pointed out the absence of a clear call to action in our campaign, which we addressed by adding an extra scene where the Lego characters construct our new core message ‘Build your future’. We also added a pun into the title of the video to give a better description of the content.
The revised version of our video got positive feedback from the client so therefore we decided to launch our campaign. The video was posted through the clients and our personal Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as through Instagram and Reddit personal accounts. In 6 days the video gained 700 views, 30 ‘Likes’, as well as positive comments, however, that is far from our aim of going viral.
To conclude, we have learned that the process of making a video go viral is a challenging task, part of which is beyond our control. Due to the nature of the client demands and because of the nature of the content itself (i.e. business education) it is challenging to combine the aspects of a ‘viral’ video with a client that demands a certain level of neutrality and messages open to a universal audience. It is evidently difficult to attempt to produce a video of viral nature which also has the broad objective of promoting the business school, which seems to contradict the inherent nature of viral videos themselves.
If you have any questions or experiences you would like to share, feel free to comment!