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Thanksgiving Eve. Turkeys were being prepared to go in ovens. Drinks were being poured. And we were preparing to launch a video that we knew would be shared around even more than grandpa's special eggnog.
You probably heard the story about the schmucks at Hampshire College. The day after the election, the campus went into "mourning". They lowered the flag to half-mast (which, as those of us with half a brain know, you aren't supposed to do unless you're the freaking Governor).
The students then took down the flag and burned it - on Veteran's Day. And the college, in keeping with safe spaces and bubbles and all of that liberal horse shit decided to remove the American flag from the campus.
That pissed off a whole bunch of vets....and many of us who are actually proud to be American. So...we put together a little video. You can watch it here.
In less than a week, more than 100,000 people had shared it and we surpassed four million views.
We've received more than 25,000 private messages and emails of support.
The video also pissed off a whole bunch of tender snowflakes, which was more delicious to me than my smoked bourbon.
What the hell does this have to do with marketing? Simple - it's strategy. I want to share with you all the recipe of success when it comes to achieving viral growth.
1) Know your demographic.
Understand that I'm not necessarily suggesting your company take on topics nearly as controversial as this. Our company doesn't do business by "volume"...so we're not afraid of pissing people off from time to time. But in our case, when it comes to business, we work directly with business owners and the heads of corporations...and they tend to share one big thing in common with us - they at the very least lean conservative. Know your demographic and double down.
2) Engage your audience.
We didn't produce this video to grow our business. Just the opposite, actually, I knew it was risky. This was produced to demonstrate our support of veterans. And so when we were blessed with comments left by them, we engaged with them.
On the flip side....when internet trolls left comments....I had a field day with them. Why? The higher the level of engagements - good or bad - the more it shoots the organic reach through the roof.
3) Tap into cross-promotional marketing.
There are always going to be organizations out there - non-competitive organizations - that share in your philosophy when it comes to cause-based marketing. Tap into these resources to help spread the message and watch it take on a life of it's own.
4) Be timely and relevant.
Be ready to jump on topics and produce content quickly when it hits the news cycle. The media - and the internet - was going nuts on the topic of flag burning. We simply contributed to the conversation. Understand what is trending and do your best to be a part of the national conversation.
5) Have fun.
Allow your personality - and that of your team - to shine in your content. Don't take yourselves too seriously. Understand that social media is just that - SOCIAL. MEDIA. If you aren't enjoying what you are doing...people will know it.
FINALLY... stop selling shit. No, really. You're so focused on selling your products that you forgot to actually nurture relationships with your audience. Put them first and everybody wins.
Kyle S. Reyes is President and CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing. He’s also anacclaimed keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and social media. You can find him on Facebook and of course be sure to follow him here on LinkedIn.