Your primary exposure to viral video up until this point in your life may be limited to absurd YouTube videos of teenagers pole vaulting into a vat of mud, or a dog singing to a cat, or any number of other videos that have gone viral for unknown reasons. But if you think this is the extent of viral video, you’re sorely mistaken. In fact, for many small businesses viral video is nothing less than the lifeblood of a successful advertising campaign. Here are a few ways in which viral video is fast becoming a powerhouse tool:
Most major corporations still prioritize traditional media. As popular as social media is becoming, the traditional giants still defer to television. This gives small businesses the inside track for dominating on the Internet and beating them to the punch. Where a viral video promoting 1 800 Vending may have been swallowed alive in the sea of television advertising, on the Internet it receives nine lives or more. There is no centralized home online; a viral video can spread to as many corners as you want and for much less money.
Viral video is much less expensive to produce. Viral video is a form of guerrilla marketing. The content does not have to be glossy or professionally produced. A successful viral video captures the essence of some barely articulated social meme and makes it catchy. A big budget may be just as ineffective at capturing this essence as a small budget. In this way viral video adds an element of democratization to media. The little guys have a chance now!
YouTube is transforming into a media provider. For most of its existence, YouTube has operated as a social media hub for user generated content. That is changing now as YouTube is set on altering its business model into that of a traditional broadcaster, providing original content and advertising, YouTube has partnered with major agencies, actors and directors and will soon be rolling out TV-like channels of original programming. While their user generated content will still be available, YouTube will soon look a lot more like cable TV, meaning viral video will be exposed to new eyes and will have the opportunity to make small businesses stand out even more.
Viral video alone may not be enough to catapult a small business into exponential sales growth. That said, many innovative marketing campaigns-including film promotions, startups, and new product lines-are utilizing viral video in order to tap into niche communities and appeal to new demographics and markets.