Appealing Viral And Social Media Content: SES San Francisco 2011, Day 1!

Aug 17, 2011 | 1,256 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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Content you use on social media plays the key role in gaining traffic, links and ultimately business for you. At the SES SF 2011, speakers shed light on how appealing content can help less sexy brands gain traction.

The agenda of this session was about the role of social and viral content in making a brand appealing. Speakers discussed how, the effective use of social media and viral content can push a brand ahead.

Noran El-Shinnawy, Director of Marketing, BoostCTR


  1. Liana Evans, Author and Co-Founder & CEO, LiBeck Integrated Marketing
  2. Jeffrey Harmon, Chief Marketing Officer, Orabrush
  3. Mike La Rotonda, CEO and Co-Founder, Votigo
  4. Jeff Revoy, Chief Product, Marketing & Strategy Officer, iContact

The session got going with Liana Evans stressing on the importance of looks. She began talking how it is necessary to look sexy if you want to be liked. She gave examples of viral videos which became popular because they were appealing. These videos were not meant to go viral. However, their popularity spread far and wide as they had interesting content. One can't plan to go viral but can try to do something which is really interesting for the people. Liana gave an example of Staples Go Elf Yourself, which wasn't intended to go viral, yet became a good example of a viral web creation. However, viral content is short lived and one must know to ride on it when it is going strong.

Liana underlined the need to become a valuable resource on social media. If people think you are reliable, they will come back to you and promote your stuff to their networks. Sometimes, content might grow viral locally and not nationally. Hence you need to think differently when creating viral content. Discussing 'plumbing' she said that it is not sexy but can be made to look like. She illustrated her point of view with an example of a guy that responded well to the questions, becoming a valuable resource. You must also be clear what your goal is when you want to go viral.

Telling how to push a product through, she talked about the Old Spice commercial where a ruggedly handsome man attempts to convince female viewers that purchasing the body wash will make their guys just like him. It targeted on changing the perception of the product that it was just about the old guys trying to look young. The ad tried to change the perception rather than to sell the product, and it worked.

Good websites allow people to share content. An example of such websites is MSNBC. She urged to focus on quality and not just quantity. If you create your content understanding your audience and demographics, you will be able to create viral content. As business owners, you need to listen to your audience. She recommended to understand the demographics. She advised to involve the audience, ask them questions, submit pictures and videos. Results will come. She told just to create useful content, give up control and stop counting conversions. If you are on the right path, you are bound to get to the destination.

Next speaker was Mike La Rotonda who began focusing on using User Generated Content (UGC) in campaigns and how to get users involved. He stressed that social media is about communicating with brands and friends, and not just about Facebook and Twitter. UGC helps to build cost effective content, help grow user base and build community around a brand. UGC can be effectively used to promote a brand. You can run a contest, focusing on intangible benefits and if the users are convinced, they will come on board.

When you begin a campaign, the most important thing is to define your objectives. Thereafter, you need to decide what platforms to run on, make your campaign social, provide tools for sharing. If you do not introduce sharing tools, the campaign is bound to fail. Finally, you need to choose the right partners. It is important that your partners know the rules, or it could have negative impact on the campaign.

Jeff Revoy Appealing Viral And Social Media Content: SES San Francisco 2011, Day 1!

Mike was followed by Jeff Revoy who discussed why social media is exactly important. He gave an example of Twitter users. When asked if they were more likely to purchase from a brand after becoming a subscriber, fan or follower, 37% of Twitters users had responded in affirmative. You must not jump onto social media just because your friends are there. You must use social media because it is an effective medium of reaching your customer base.

He mentioned iContact telling how it has transitioned from an email marketing company to a company focusing on both email and social. When setting up a social media campaign, it is important to define objectives such as build brand awareness. In any social media campaign, content is the primary driver. It must engage the brand audience and persuade them to share. Companies such as have used social media very well.

You can use offers, promotions effectively to promote your end on social media such as Facebook. When they get something special in return for following you, they do that. B2B social media campaigns are different. These are more about repurposing content and reposting/reformatting for your social profiles. However, B2C content is about the users, not the brand.

Jeff Harmon followed Jeff Revoy, explaining how he started working for Orabrush. He disclosed the creator of Orabrush thought a bad breath brush could not be promoted on the internet. However, he worked on it and video has created 15 millions views resulting in the sale of one million units. With a large subscriber base they became like a mini television network. Their success helped them get into Walmart.

He advised to create a conversion video for the purpose as it has longer sustainability than the viral video. A good formula for doing conversion video is to create a problem and point out it. Underlining the success of Orabrush, he told how the oral hygiene market, dominated by a few players, is hard to break into. And yet Orabrush succeeded in it.

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Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
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