3 Reasons Why "Going Viral" Should Never Be Your Goal

At least two or three times a month I get asked "How can I make my (video, blog post, photo of child) get viral? I want to be the next Dollar Shave Club or Chipotle Kid."  This means that at least two or three times a month I mentally find a wall and begin sliding down it, while pulling out my hair.

In my experience, there are two types of content that go viral - those where the person filming was in the right place at the right time to catch something truly funny or tragic, and those where there is a multi-million dollar company behind the creation and distribution of said video.

Beyond that, there are several reasons why it just may not make sense for your credit union go after the elusive "viral" post/video/photo. 

  1. You don't have the appropriate audience. Every campaign isn't for every credit union. As much as we'd like to think of social media and off the wall strategies as being a silver bullet for success, if your audience isn't right, it won't be successful. If your target audience is over 60 and prefers to do all of their banking in branch, then it might be better to focus your efforts elsewhere. Know your audience. 
  2. You haven't laid the ground work. Most successful campaigns that end up going viral do so because they have a very intentional, focused marketing plan behind them. This usually includes a robust social media presence, plus a convergence of other traditional forms of marketing. 
  3. You aren't that funny. This is the hardest thing to get across to people - most people think they are hilarious, but sadly, they are not. There's also the question of whether or not your humor will translate well to the medium you are creating it for. Things that sound funny when said aloud don't always successfully make the leap to video.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't try at all, though - just rethink your goals and intention. Instead of creating something that will go viral and set the world on fire, concentrate on capturing your existing audience. Identify what will resonate with them before you place your efforts on everyone else.


DeAndre Upshaw is a former Young & Free Texas Spokester. He's a marketing professional living in Dallas and a Beyonce enthusiast. DeAndre is the host and executive producer of The State of Awesome. Follow him on Twitter and check out his personal website.