What Makes Viral Content Contagious? Update from 83rd Social Media Breakfast

Have you watched Kolaveri Di on YouTube yet, or the Mumbai flash mob video? If you’re from India or have Indian friends, you would know that Kolaveri Di has been a rage among Indians in the last few weeks. It brings together everyone on one song which some hate to love, other love to hate. Kolaveri Di achieved social distribution numbers which Airtel (multi-million dollar corporation in India) could not with their Har Friend Zaroori campaign, for which they pumped millions down TV and radio, a true case study in creating value which goes above and beyond the cost. What goes viral, what makes a video or content go viral, is still an elusive concept to many. This is what we set out to discuss at the 83rd Social Media Breakfast.

Viral what?

Viral videos (and other content) are quintessential popular culture examples. Powered by word of mouth on steroids (social sharing), you can go to your wits end to analyze and dissect strategies which make stuff go viral, but in my best experience and readings, its all one ‘Happy Accident’. If you look closely at the rise of some of these videos, it will be obvious to any marketer that half the battle is awesome content, while the other half is distribution (read social sharing)

Just videos?

Viral content can be of any type, not necessarily videos. Many blog posts are known to go viral, especially when they’re about controversial subjects or from people in the news. I remember when Hindi movie ‘3 Idiots’ was releasing; prominent author Chetan Bhagat’s blog post went viral. Another worthy mention is Intel’s museum of me, an interactive application which makes a walk-through museum out of your facebook friends and photos. Infographics are also becoming popular content type which is being shared a lot, check this cool Infographic on The Anatomy of Viral Content. Other worthy mentions of viral content examples are ‘United Breaks Guitars’ and the awesome integrated campaign which catapulted Old Spice back into limelight.

Why do we share?

It was interesting to learn from experiences from the participants, Ravi Mathur made a point about a viral video connecting to audiences feelings and emotions, which he substantiated with examples. Haru Mehta demonstrated it with an example of how the un-edited raw nature of videos make them go viral. We all agreed that what makes us share are one of the following: it makes us laugh, is deeply emotional, it agrees with our worldview, it makes us think, its not covered by mainstream media, it will make someone smile and is dramatic.

All in all, it was a fun Friday morning, who doesn’t like some fun videos, early breakfast and engaging discussions. We meet every Friday, breakfast is on the house, bring your enthusiasm, curiosity or questions about social media. Join on our Meetup page 🙂

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