Getting Content To Go Viral (Tech Is Not The Answer)Intersocial
Large-scale viral content campaigns have been part of the Marketing and Selling playbook for modern B2B enterprises for some time now. However, expanding the reach of even the highest-quality content through viral techniques is notoriously difficult. Many Marketing and Sales teams mistakenly believe that modern technology platforms like EAPs resolve the challenges of viral content. The reality is however that technology is only a small part of the answer. Instead, viral results require a very significant upfront investment in specialised campaign planning before technology can add any real value.
High-quality Core Content is Never Enough. Focus on Short-Form Insights.
High-quality content which is relevant, engaging, delivers value and is within with your organisations authority is an obvious starting point for content marketing success. It is however is not enough to gain viral distribution.
Marketing teams often fail to invest sufficiently in developing short-form insights and content which significantly limits exposure and cut-through.
This is broadly akin to sending a bulk email campaign to 250,000 subscribers. Without high-quality subject lines which stop readers and encourage opens, further engagement is simply not possible.
In addition, in their short-form posts, many Marketers fail to call out the intended target audience or articulate why a reader should read let alone share the content. They also fail to produce enough variations or distinct insights which help promote the content effectively without risking content ‘wearout’.
If organisations lack the required resource or expertise, then they should consider an expert short-form copywriter or agency to focus on producing content which converts in order to enable viral distribution.
Engage your Employees (With Real Precision)
For B2B content to go viral, it obviously requires engagement from a large number of users. Inevitably, this means leveraging employees is high on the agendas of many resource-limited marketing teams.
In our experience however, employee engagement falls down primary because there is a lack of ‘success management’. Employees are implored to like, share, comment and generate unique insights but there is rarely a dedicated resource which ensures this occurs and ongoing focus is maintained. The results can vary wildly over time.
Faced with employees’ apathy around their content objectives, Marketing teams then circle around a small number of ‘champions’ to subtly encourage their peers towards greater engagement. Working in this way limits scale, but the objective should be to engage asas many employees as possible. Investing in quality short-form insights which are packaged and ready for teams to use is critical .
Employee Advocacy platforms – Help or Hindrance?
Employee Advocacy platforms are gaining traction with modern B2B enterprises seeking to get more from their employees and their content marketing investments, including viral campaigns. But even these new platforms have limitations.
Firstly, they lack scalability. Platforms generally charge for licenses on a costly ‘per employee’ basis. For an organisation of approximately 2000 employees, perhaps only 50, 100 or slightly more have a license. The vast majority of the workforce therefore are ‘locked out’ of the platform.
Secondly, these new tools often lack the management and focus to drive platform adoption, training and advocacy. For B2B content to go viral, the platforms need to be used to their fullest potential.
Thirdly, and most critically, these platforms do not typically extend to individuals beyond the organisations’ employees…
Beyond Employee Advocates: Engage Your Ecosystem To Maximise Viral Potential
In our experience, we find it is rare for Marketing and Sales teams to reach out to key stakeholders beyond employees and engage them to support content distribution. In actual fact, business partners, channel partners, customers, suppliers and intermediaries can be extremely fertile ground for viral content.
This is primarily because they are not influencers but ‘unpaid advocates’ for the brand. Third party advocates provide a significant credibility boost to the content as they have deeper experience with the brand and its products and are seen as impartial.
This added credibility fuels viral distribution in itself of course,but interestingly, it also comes via the creation of more advocates. And yet Marketing and Sales teams rarely plan to, let alone actually engage, these groups.
We find this is sometimes due to a misguided assumption of ‘imposition’ or ‘inconvenience’ to the customer or partner. Leading B2B organisations are engaging their ecosystems in more and more ways outside of ‘marketing’ and it requires pre-planning and alignment of different teams and functions in the organisation.
The organisation must reach out to their networks, explaining the reason for doing so and the objectives of the campaign. They must articulate the benefits of sharing the content to those individuals.
Ideally, campaign planners must also ask advocates to produce their own short-form insights from the content to post through their channels. Ifthey do not have sufficient time, then the company can draft posts on their behalf or simply request they comment, re-share or like the company’s posts.
The important factor here is to activate as many of these advocates as possible to be visible parts of the conversation around your content.
To summarise, achieving viral distribution is primarily about precision campaign planning. Focussing on crafting high quality short-form content to promote the core content, engaging employees in a disciplined, ‘managed’ way and leveraging the full ecosystem of advocates around your brand, segments or products can significantly improve the likelihood of your B2B content going viral.
Technology plays a part, but good campaign design, strong execution and effective orchestration of the many moving parts of a viral campaign are what drive successful B2B viral campaigns.
Do you agree? Please feel free to leave comments below.
Intersocial provide a range of viral campaign design and planning services. If you would like to discuss how to get your B2B content to go viral or how to leverage Social Selling to identify, contact and convert engagement to sales please contact us.