Viral videos may just be the greatest marketing tools ever. They're usually easy to make, and when done right, they spread like wildfire. Some of the best videos can even be great teaching tools.
Here's what your business can learn from Rebecca Black and other YouTube phenomena:
The Video: Rebecca Black’s Friday
The story: A few weeks ago, Rebecca Black was just an average 13-year-old girl. Then, the music video her parents paid to have made debuted on YouTube. Less than a month later, it has over 100 million views and Black is an Internet sensation. However, she’s also become a mockery.
The lesson: Be prepared for backlash. When the teenager decided to record the song, she never imagined she’d get this much attention. Much of the attention she received, unfortunately, was negative. Media outlets and Twitter commenters bashed her for making what they called the worst song of all time. If you’re going to face the public, you have to be prepared for scrutiny. Come up with a plan, in advance, for how you’ll react to criticism. But don’t sweat the negativity too much. After all, Black is making millions. So who cares if people think her lyrics are terrible?
The video: Share the Air
The story: Trademarkia paid actress Rachel Cherones to appear in front of VCs and present the most ridiculous idea ever. Her character, Rachel Sequoia, introduced a company that bottled and sold air from all around the world. Best of all, she asked for $500 million. It was soon revealed to be a big joke, but not before it went viral.
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The lesson: No idea is too ridiculous. Even though Cherones tried her hardest to look silly, forgoing shoes and using hand-drawn doodles as props, people were still supportive. The actress told Tech Crunch, “Most of the people that came up to me afterward said, ‘I don’t care about blessing the air, but I think there's legitimately a market for what you’re doing.’”
The video: GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons shoots an elephant
The story: Last month, Parsons went to Zimbabwe and killed an elephant. Then, he posted a video of the hunt to his blog. The video, which quickly appeared all over the Internet, caused an outrage.
The lesson: Protect your brand. It’s the soul of your business. Don’t let it get tarnished by stupid PR decisions. GoDaddy has nothing to do with animal cruelty, but it’s what people are associating it with these days. Even PETA closed its GoDaddy account. Remember: as a business owner, you reflect your business. Even comments made on a personal website can be associated with your company. And if you do screw up, apologize. Parsons went out of his way to confirm that he does not regret the incident. This scandal could haunt the company for months.
The video: Limitless’s Times Square takeover hoax
The story: On March 14th, two men allegedly released a video in which they claimed to have hacked the Times Square big screens. It received a ton of attention. Turns out, it was just a viral marketing campaign for the movie Limitless. Once the hoax was announced, people stopped talking about it.
The lesson: A marketing campaign can’t just be popular. It has to be effective. Over a million people have seen the hacker video, but how many of those actually went and saw Limitless? No matter how great an ad or a viral campaign is, it won’t monetize unless it has purpose. The creative content of the promotion should reflect what you’re trying to promote.