How to go viral

Every brand wants to go viral, but not many actually achieve it, and when they do it can be for the wrong reasons. 

KOMI Group was recently named one of the top 10 social video publishers in the UK so should know a thing or two about getting traction online. Andrew Trotman, Managing Director & Co-Founder, shares his top tips for brands wanting to go viral… 

1. Treat social with respect

Traditional brands are still guilty of thinking they can just hire a marketing graduate and get them to start pushing their existing brand collateral out on Facebook and Twitter. Then be like “Hey, we’re smashing social” - no, you’re not, and you will quickly find out that traditional approaches in other channels don’t simply translate to social platforms.

2. All platforms are different  

There isn’t one set of rules that covers all social channels. Each has its own identity, users, strengths and quirks. To know what they are you need to spend time working with them, experimenting and seeing what is effective for your brand. Your TV campaign may be a stunning piece of content… for TV. It won’t necessarily work as it is on TikTok, but there may be ways and formats that give it viral legs.

3. Get to grips with social speed

Think in terms of three seconds, 15 seconds, and a minute. Those are key markers for success on social video. You have three seconds to grab someone’s attention on Facebook. 15 seconds to hold it. If you can hold a viewer’s attention for one minute then they’re likely to stay with it to the end.

4. Longer-form works

Social isn’t just about snippets and bite-sized chunks. There is a hunger for longer format pieces and Facebook in particular is looking for longer video as it tries to take on YouTube and entice viewers to stay on-site longer. If it’s good, make it a series. For example, KOMI produced a series looking at the world of Only Fans content creators, which got everyone hot and bothered.

5. Make it relatable

Great viral content stops people in their tracks and makes them laugh, cry or scream in recognition. It can be something very simple. For Tequila Rose, KOMI had a specialist baker create an exact replica of the bottle and filmed it being sliced. The sleight of hand helped build brand awareness and was in-line with a trend for realistic cakes at the time.

6. Jump on a trend

Be alert to opportunities and move quickly. Brands such as Paddy Power and Brew Dog are masters at it with stunts such as the Barnard Castle eye test beer. It works because they are prepared to act at the speed of social. It’s not like the John Lewis Christmas campaign where you have six months’ run up. You may only get one shot at leveraging a trend or moment. Don’t waste it prevaricating. Working with an agency that understands your brand’s needs, and who you trust, is essential. 

7. Make it personal

Viewers are more likely to pull off the social highway at your junction if they sense a connection. A personal touch to stories makes all the difference. People will want to know more.