March 4, 2016

Viral Marketing - Netflix Shows the Power of Simplicity

by Malek Murison

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It doesn't matter what industry you're in, if you start an interesting campaign or promotion and cleverly tie it in to social media, you're on to a winner. That's exactly what Netflix have done these past few weeks...

The foundations of a viral campaign for your travel brand

Quietly the ever growing media company has announced a job opportunity in partnership with social media platform Instagram. The job? Take photos and post them on Instagram, which is, let's be honest, what most of us do for free every single day. The only difference is that these photos will be of locations around the world - specifically Netflix's filming locations. So the lucky applicant will be taking pictures behind the scenes of Marco Polo, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and much more. Oh and did I mention that the pay is ,000? For two weeks work. No wonder it's got people talking. Let's take a closer look...

Force engagement

The great thing about the Netflix job search is that the application process is incredibly simple, but forces a form of engagement on behalf of the applicant. Want to be considered for the role of Netflix 'Grammaster'? All you have to do is tag three of your favourite pictures with a certain hashtag and follow Netflix on Instagram. Seems simple. And that's because it is. And what will the result of this simplicity, combined with a pretty cool job, be? Thousands of applicants, obviously. And with thousands of applicants come thousands more followers, and thousands more leads, and considerably more engagement over time. And all this for the cost - let's say that Netflix 'hire' 5 people - of ,000. This isn't too shabby by today's industry standards.

Forcing engagement may sound like a pretty sinister way of doing things, but dig a bit deeper and you'll realise that it's just a simple transaction. You give something, you get something back. Netflix are giving away, to begin with, an opportunity to land a great job. All they are asking for in return is a small investment of your time, and a tiny bit oh loyalty on social media. Everyone's a winner.

Try to come up with a similar scenario to attract potential customers to engage in your brand. And make them want to get involved.

Make things easy

As we've seen above, making sharing and engagement easy for customers is key to getting any campaign off the ground. Use mediums they are used to and ensure CTAs are the opposite of off-putting. The CTA for the Netflix campaign? Simply hashtag a few pictures and follow the brand. Simple, easy and appealing. So appealing in fact that people are likely to share the fact that they have applied within their social circles. Cue even more engagement.

Be different

Not all marketing has to be explicitly marketing. Publicity can be gained through other means. Have you ever advertised your brand by offering a dream job with a difference? I guess that the Netflix job is ultimately a prize, not a job; so in many ways it's similar to a competition. But in many ways it is different, too. Think about the psychology behind applying for a role and entering a competition. There's something about an application which implies you have a genuine chance of landing the gig. It seems more worth your time for that reason alone. There's plenty of competitions around that you can enter. The lottery is one great example, but loads of companies offer cash prizes and free travel too.

Netflix has managed to differentiate from all of those other competitions by explicitly labelling it as something else entirely. It's a job. It's worth your time, not like all of those tacky competitions.  Subtle, but very clever. Why not try and do the same? This kind of thing can go hand in hand with marketing in the travel industry.

Any viral campaign starts with your key audience

A story that is easy to spread, and that people will be willing to spread, is at the centre of any viral campaign. But where should you release that story? For the Netflix campaign, it's no surprise that the target audience is the Instagram generation, probably of ages ranging between 18 and 35. It's no coincidence that the Instagram demographic is probably pretty similar to the group of people who already use Netflix. This familiarity has already been established with Instagram users. If you haven't heard of 'Netflix and chill..' then it's not aimed at you, but it may reach you further down the line. To get publicity off the ground and eventually send it viral, you have to engage your intended audience first and foremost. Don't hope that it will reach them at some point.

Timing is everything

Do you think it's a coincidence that the application deadlines for the best job ever are around the same time as a new season of House of Cards (Netflix's headline show). Of course not. Timing is everything, and creating the maximum amount of publicity at a single point in time is sure to drive traffic through your travel site and social media platforms. Netflix has also managed to deflect one or two the negative media stories too - something which could always come in handy.

So what can we take from this? Why not target your publicity to come to fruition at the same time as a new product launch or service - kill two birds with one stone and attract attention at the right time.

Why can't your travel brand do the same?

In theory, there is no reason at all why you can't come up with something similar for your travel brand. Sure, you might not have the reach to engage with as many users, or the capability to do something on the same scale, but the underlying methodology is the same.