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Do businesses really need to go viral to be successful?

OPINION: Ask any businessperson in 2023 what they want more than anything, there’s one thing that stands above all others: a ‘viral moment’. Though the concept might sound simple, achieving it is far more complex. So, we ask the question: do businesses truly need them to be successful?

In a time where entertainment platforms like TikTok provides both individuals and businesses endless opportunities to go viral, no one can force virality on an algorithm so strong.

When asking creative agencies and social media experts, going viral is one of the toughest goals to achieve and for most, they say that this request is almost impossible when only the most organic and “I didn’t expect this to get views” are what goes viral.

But there are always outliers, with New Zealand brands like apparel company YouKnow Clothing and even the rugby league team the NZ Warriors, somehow unlocking the power of virality.

Looking at these brands, it’s easy to wonder what the secret to their viral success is? Putting my investigative hat on, I’ve scrolled through countless TikTok’s, and have deciphered the code to their viral successes.

The first key to success is one, forget the product.

It may be hard to believe that the best way to approach being viral on social media is to forget promoting the product and just be relatable.

YouKnow Clothing’s most popular TikToks that garner hundreds of thousands of views actually have nothing to do with their product but rather fun short videos of games like ‘would you rather’ and ‘guess the songs’ that is bound to bring funny and organic clips.

With the help of popular Kiwi personalities such as Stan Walker, Jordan Vahaakolo and Ruscoe, the brand is able to harness bringing a familiar and funny faces to make the brand more relatable and in touch, ensuring a high chance of viral moments.

On an international level, language education app Duolingo quickly became the face of successful viral marketing and has completely disregarded its product, with its most viewed videos being related to Dua Lipa, cultural moments, and more.

Read more: New Zealand brands that ‘slay’ on TikTok

Creating the content is the second step, and the best way to approach this is by following the trends.

Often, following the trend is not encouraged, but in the case of social media, jumping on the bandwagon is vital, especially on an app like TikTok where the algorithm pushes out these trends.

The NZ Warriors is the perfect example of taking popular trends and utilising it to a brands advantage.

Using popular sounds and trending meme formats has shot the NZ Warriors TikTok account to a whole new level of fame within the Gen Z audience, the main demographic of the entertainment platform.

The rugby league team has been able to receive an average of 100k views per TikTok, meaning nearly every single video they have made has gone viral.

But despite all these tips on how to get viral, the real question is whether businesses need a viral moment?

TikTok revealed that over 34 million videos are posted every day and of these, only a few of those blow up.

For any business, rather than taking your chances on being that select few that goes viral every day, what is better fitted in terms of strategy is building a platform that audiences always come back to instead of one funny video and then they keep scrolling.

Though I mentioned that YouKnow Clothing and NZ Warriors managed to unlock virality, these two Kiwi brands focused on their platform first and foremost.

As businesses they didn’t get a viral moment, they made a viral account, where everything they post gets a large number of views.

Making a viral moment is hard so instead of wishing on a star for your businesses 15 minutes of fame, it is best to work on creating a viral account where that 15 minutes turns into 15 years (or however long TikTok lasts for until the next big thing comes along).

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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