Dulye & Co.: Going Viral Behind the Firewall

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Our slidecast on going viral behind the firewall, based on our client work. Visit dulye.com for more information and a free consultation session.

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  • As communicators chase elusive notions of employee engagement in the new social media landscape, we happen upon this even more elusive notion of viral communication and wonder how we might inoculate our communication programs to drive attention and conversation among our communities and business organizations.Do you know how to create viral communication? Have you wondered how to instill your communications with that certain infectious quality that moves them to pass it on to friends and colleagues? “Check this out; they finally got it right,” or “You have to watch this,” they may declare, as the latest viral message makes its rounds.This paper's objective is to guide you in the process of developing effective viral communications for the corporate communication environment.
  • The term viral is usually associated with visual media, particularly video and pictures. The barrier to creating and sharing affordable digital HD-quality video was lowered with the introduction of the Flip Mino video recorder. The Flip has been a tremendous tool for creative communicators, and there are many great examples of using viral video to drive employee engagement.
  • The Deloitte Film Festival, an employee contest that showcased employee accomplishments in the workplace, comes to mind, as does Zappos’ 10 Core Values video, which featured entertaining employee stories about why they love to work for the company, and comments about corporate culture from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.
  • The Deloitte Film Festival, an employee contest that showcased employee accomplishments in the workplace, comes to mind, as does Zappos’ 10 Core Values video, which featured entertaining employee stories about why they love to work for the company, and comments about corporate culture from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.
  • Viral videos run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous—to the disgusting. When did you first see Susan Boyle?
  • How about the Comcast Cable Technician caught napping on a customer’s couch for an hour?
  • When did you first see the Domino’s crew doing disgusting things with food—before or after you heard it on the news? Many videos get their 15-minutes of fame by accident. These powerful segments beg the question put by communications professionals:
  • How do I position my communications to encourage their viral spread? You Tube is nice, but how do I create viral communications here—behind the firewall—inside the walls of my company (or with your external audience if you’re in a public relations role)? What makes this buzz happen? This leads to a discussion about the definition and common elements of viral communication, and then incorporating these practices into corporate communication strategy.
  • By definition, a viral communication is information that gets passed around informally—the message could originate with mass distribution, but its defining quality is the way it is then forwarded from friend to friend or colleague to colleague as an item of interest.Viral communication always involves authentic, compelling content of some sort. The term viral is usually associated with video, or a series of pictures—something easily digestible and then passed around, featuring content that is remarkably interesting or topical, raw—or even shocking—and that grabs the reader’s attention immediately.
  • What Are The Elements (Checklist) of a Viral Communication?The following elements may function as a kind of helpful checklist for creating communications positioned to achieve viral dissemination:
  •  Easily Digestible Content. A common quality of viral communication is easily-digestible content that can be quickly consumed, including a catchy or quirky headline—teaser text—that describes the video content, and what you what you may get out of watching it.
  •  Short-Form Content. Viral communications normally use short-form content. They should be designed to run about the length of television commercial. This is good guidance in terms of attention span. The communication could be shorter, or as long as it takes to get your point across.
  •  Break Up Long Clips. Anything other than short-form content should be broken up into smaller clips. You can view entire episodes of South Park here, or view the episode guide and watch smaller clips of the show. Notice the ability to blog is built right in—we’ll come back to this. Breaking up longer clips works particularly well with executive speeches, human resources benefits communication, and change communication, where employees may want to drill down to certain excerpt or topical area that pertains to them.
  •  Leave Selling or Branding Message To The End. The message must engage effortlessly and stand on its own. Trying to “sell” too early generally has an adverse effect on viral quality. The content must have intrinsic value and be entertaining or vitally interesting without any manipulation —your call to action/branding should be reserved until the end.
  •  Stimulate two-way dialogue through strategic call to action: Although calls to action are normally left to the end of the viral message, a request to reply back to the sender—a call to action to vote or provide an opinion— tends to make the message more personal and tends to build rapport. This must be fine tuned and calibrated to your organizational culture, using the two-way social media tools at your disposal, such as blogs, micro-blogs (Twitter/Yammer), IM, or the intranet.
  • Video Still Frame. Visually, the html e-mail must feature an interesting video still frame picture with an embedded “play” arrow. The video is not to play inside the e-mail, but should link seamlessly to a web-landing page, where the video may be viewed.
  •  Message Forwarding: As opposed to mass messages, viral messages are usually forwarded on from friend to friend or colleague to colleague. Know your audience and try to find the “what’s in it for me” content value proposition. Use your own judgment: Would you want to forward this message on? Why would your audience care to forward this message on?
  •  Thought You Might Enjoy. Pre-populating the subject and content of a viral message you want forwarded with “thought you might enjoy;” “mail to: fill in friend’s name,” is another practical tip you may wish to incorporate.
  •  Use Two-Way Dialoguing/Comment Capability That Caters to Corporate Culture: As mentioned earlier with the South Park video, viral communications must have easy access to other social media platforms that enable conversation and two-way engagement. Is instant messaging the communication tool of choice at your company? Does video communication on the company portal or intranet hold sway, or how about wikis or blogs? Furnish quick and easy access to these channels to seed viral engagement.
  •  Seeding comments to start the buzz: Message or line of business champions may sometimes influence the viral quality of message by weighing in themselves on a posted video or set of pictures. If it would be inappropriate for you to weigh-in, then don’t. But it’s something to consider. Your honest enthusiasm and vibrancy about the message could be contagious and help get the ball rolling.
  • A Word About Metrics and Viral Communication
  • Metrics: Establish a single location web-landing page to post viral content. Concentrate as much if not all of the traffic to a single web-landing page to pull down analytics. Similar to the way URL shorteners such as bit.ly work, you should ensure that all traffic goes to the same measurement place. Concentrate all viral attention on a single web page.
  • Metrics: Use html e-mail marketing metrics to track click-throughs. You original e-mail list may have only 206 recipients. By using e-mail marketing contact management systems like iContact you can view click-throughs (tracking the recipient’s e-mail id) to know who passed the message on. Identifying who passed it on provides a view to who is engaged—and more important, helps identify the influencers in your organization.
  • Metrics: Create unique URL crafted for each internal communication channel to track effectiveness of distribution. When using various communication channels like IM, micro-blogs (Twitter/Yammer), and intranet portals, you can gauge the effectiveness of your viral campaign by customizing the links used for every communication channel. It may be the same message, but did they access it via e-mail, through an embedded IM or through a Twitter link? You’ll know how many people viewed the message and by which channel, so you’ll know which ones work best.
  • Metrics: Facilitate forwarding in a subtle way that enhances measurement and metrics. This concept is embodied by the Share on Facebook button/link at the end of most blogs. Again, this action will vary by corporate culture—it may be Share on IM (embed link inside IM post), or Share on Yammer (embed the link inside the mirco-blog post). Optimize e-mail and web landing pages for easy sharing. Build buttons that makes it easy to share via email and IM. You Tube, for example, makes this easy and they capture the additional metric of how many people shared the viral communication on Facebook. You can do the same.
  • Promote iPhone app
  • Promote 4Rs training, podcast and SFW newsletter
  • Promote Linda’s twitter
  • Dulye & Co.: Going Viral Behind the Firewall

    1. 1. Going viral<br />behind the firewall<br />
    2. 2. Going Viral Behind the Firewall<br />May 2010<br />
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    25. 25. intranet.company.com/video.aspx?IM<br />intranet.company.com/video.aspx?Email<br />intranet.company.com/video.aspx?HomePage<br />Etc…<br />
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    27. 27. Provide Real-Time Response <br />Dulye.com or iTunes to download<br />
    28. 28. Provide On-the-Job Coaching and Tools<br />Spectator-Free Workplace™<br />Coaching resources: 4R training, podcasts, e-mail newsletter.<br />Go to Dulye.com/blogto subscribe<br />
    29. 29. Keep the Dialogue Going<br />Spectator-Free Workplace™ Tweets<br />Visit twitter.com/dulye to follow Linda Dulye on twitter.<br />Twitter.com/dulyeto follow us<br />
    30. 30. Visit Dulye.com<br />Let our team guide you to a disciplined, measured, and Spectator-Free Workplace behind your firewall! <br />
    31. 31. The entire contents of the presentation are proprietary to Dulye & Co. This material may be not be copied or reproduced for any purpose. <br />Any reproduction or disclosure requires the prior consent of Dulye & Co.For more information, please contact Roger Gibboni, Business Manager, <br />at 845-987-7744 or rgibboni@dulye.com.<br />Thank You! <br />

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