Kiki, do you love me? I know… I’m a month late and you’re over it. I am, too.
In case you missed it, celebrities and dogs across the internet were dancing to Drake’s song “In my Feelings” as a part of the world’s most recent viral video trend. Some businesses filmed their best “shiggy” and earned a lot of attention, accumulating upward of 75 million views (we noticed, cute dentist). Some people were literally hit by cars trying to garner internet fame (this guy made it on Jimmy Kimmel for just that).
While the action is different, every viral trend is the same in structure (think Pokemon Go!, Ice bucket challenge, the mannequin challenge, the Harlem Shake, etc.). They come, they go, and businesses struggle to know when they should participate. We’ve listed five things you should consider before participating in the next internet challenge.
- Timing – How timely is the trend and do you have time to do it right?
The first, and arguably most important, thing to consider when deciding whether to participate in a trend is timing. Typically, the first people to put out a video get the most attention. If two weeks, or even 2 days, have passed, you’re likely too late.
If you’re not too late, really consider how much time it will take to do the challenge correctly. Is choreography involved? Are there supplies needed? Do you have someone to operate a camera? What about editing? Well-made videos are a significant time investment. The better the video is, the more views you’ll receive. Remembering that time is money, don’t waste your time participating in a trend if you don’t have the time to do it well.
- Does the trend have a logical connection to your business?
Going back to the recent Drake challenge – ICYMI, dentists hijacked the campaign, dubbing it the “In my Fillings” challenge. If you listen to the song, they way Drake sings “feelings” sounds like “fillings.” So, dentists made a logical connection, jumped on the pun and joined in on the challenge.
If you can’t logically connect the challenge to your business, why participate? Your creation will likely seem random, and it won’t be worth the time you spent.
Trends that are associated with charitable causes, like the Ice Bucket Challenge, are an exception. Every business should support worthy causes like the ALS Association. Once you post your video, be sure you actually follow up with a donation.
- Has it already been done by your competitors? Or do you think you can do it better than your competitors?
For a business, the purpose of participating in a viral trend is to bring in new customers and endear people to your company. You want to do something that is fun and unique, not just a response to something your competitors are doing. Just because it made sense for them to create a video doesn’t mean it makes sense for you.
But, if they did a particularly bad job, and you have confidence in your skills… there’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition!
- Do you have a unique angle you can pursue?
If you do the same thing everyone else is doing or has already done, you’re not going to get any attention. When participating in a viral trend, you need to have a unique angle that makes your video special and interesting. Attention is a valuable commodity, and you need to hook people quickly.
This doesn’t mean you have to charter a helicopter to get great aerial shots (though that might be cool). Your unique angle could be a receptionist who’s a stellar dancer. Or an accountant who sings opera. Really, you want your video to be trendy but not stale.
- Will your audience care?
We’ve mentioned this before – the entire purpose of participating in a viral trend is to gain attention and earn new business. If your audience doesn’t care, wouldn’t get it, or isn’t on the platforms to watch your video, don’t spend the time participating.
*BONUS* You can participate without participating.
“Doing it right” doesn’t always mean making a video to share on Facebook. A savvy PR firm can help you integrate online and real-world trends into your communication pieces through funny headlines, media pitches and a number of other avenues. You can be hip AND get attention without the drama of making a video.