Sorry! But the magical social viral machine does not exist

Yes Sir! You read that right. The magical viral box doesn’t exist and it’s most likely a figment of imagination of some phony social media consultant that you may have hired. It’s amazing the number of people I still meet in the industry that live in the LaLa land and believe that they can make a piece of branded content like a video and then the content will just magically travel the ends of the planet.

Recently I had an agency pitching for a campaign idea and one of their brilliant ideas – ‘Let’s make a viral video’ #FAIL. First of all you can’t make a viral video. At the best you can make contextual content that has the potential of being viral. Secondly there aren’t any free lunches on social, where you press the publish button and you sit back and relax and hit the ‘Viral Charts’.

First step is to get the Content right. It has to be contextual to your brand, meets your brands voice and personality and then it should be something that your consumers deeply care about. Creating great content is just half the battle won and most marketers stop there, and they often wonder why they get no love from their audience. Rule of thumb for any great social campaign is that content/ creative production should be less than 40% of the cost of campaign, the rest 60% should go into figuring the right content distribution strategy for that piece of content.

A good content distribution factors in multiple platforms, multiple mediums and multiple screens like smartphones, PC’s, TV and tablets.  But most important of all, a great content distribution strategy uses the powerful combination Paid, Earned and Owned to achieve its reach and engagement goals. Where in Owned is your brands communities and networks, blogs, brand website etc. Earned is your advocate networks, blogger networks, and social shares by audiences. And Paid is the media buys on social that the brand puts behind the content. In summary, you can see that setting up a great content distribution takes time and investment. From acquiring and nurturing communities to developing those advocate relationships and then having a commitment to spend media.