Millions of views on one piece of content, thousands of new social media followers, comment after comment online and your web traffic is through the roof. This all happens in a short space of time. Sounds good doesn’t it? Living the dream, having your business seen my millions. That’s what happens when you go viral and it sounds amazing, but is going viral actually good for your business? I’d say no.
It should never be your goal.
I’ve been in meetings before where people have actually said the words “Let’s aim to go viral with this” and it honestly makes me put my head in my hands in despair. Why? Because you can’t plan to go viral with your content – it either happens or it doesn’t and if it does it happens by accident. You
To me, having a goal to make your content goes viral lacks vision. It doesn’t consider who your target audience is, what the messaging behind the piece of content is and what impact going viral can actually have on your business – both positive and negative. Going viral should never be your goal, producing high quality content to excite your audience should.
Here are my thoughts on why going viral isn’t always good for business.
#1: It only gives you 5 minutes of fame.
Here’s the thing. Going viral with one amazing piece of content won’t make your business a success, it only puts you in the limelight for a very short space of time. You may go viral for 2 days but after that what do you do? Ideally the 5 minutes of fame will help you get thousands of new followers and online engagement, but how many of them are followers you want? How many will purchase from you? Also how long will they follow you for? Usually not long.
#2: It’s not sustainable.
Think you can go viral more than once? If you do I’d think again. It’s hard enough to go viral in the first place, the chance of you following up with more content that does the same is slim. It’s not sustainable long term because online users have a short attention span and will have moved into the next piece of content before you can even consider what to create.
#3: It doesn’t target anyone.
It really doesn’t. It’s not targeted, neatly packaged and certainly doesn’t add value. It’s pure entertainment for anyone who uses the internet to watch or listen to. When people consume the piece of content they won’t be thinking of your business, they’ll just think about the entrainment value. You’re basically targeting everybody and nobody at the same time time.
#4: You won’t be perceived as adding value.
Good quality content adds value to the right people for your business and encourages them to buy from you. This completely contradicts viral content which, as I’ve said, entertains rather than educates. As a consequence if anyone who consumes the viral content actually registers that it’s your brand that has created they won’t perceive your business as one that adds value. That can damage your reputation rather than add credibility.
#5: It can damage your brand.
Depending on what the piece of content is that goes viral, it can have a serious impact on your brand and could potentially reduce your sales, not increase them. You’ll receive negative comments on social media and become known for the content rather than your expertise. Is that really what you want?
So if you think you need to go viral …
You really don’t. Yes you’ll get attention, yes you’ll get new followers on social media and increase traffic, but how will that actually benefit your brand or your customers? The answer is, it won’t. You’ll get your 5 minutes of fame then the internet will move into the next viral sensation. That’s just how it works.
Instead you should focus on producing high quality content that attracts new followers, engagement from existing followers and an increase in sales.
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