Introducing the Adweek Podcast Network. Access infinite inspiration in your pocket on everything from career advice and creativity to metaverse marketing and more. Browse all podcasts.
What does going viral mean in a world of social media campaign oversaturation and fleeting attention spans?
Soyoung Kang, CMO of Gen Z-focused beauty brand Eos Products, and Ashley Atwell, avp of social content at the National Basketball Association, joined Adweek at Social Media Week to reflect on their best viral social media marketing examples and dissect what made them successful.
Breaking through a sea of noise
In an era where countless campaigns compete for attention, Kang and Atwell emphasized the importance of having a strong, concrete message that resonates with the target audience—something that’s becoming increasingly challenging to do.
“You have to work super hard to cut through,” Kang said. “We can’t cut through with content that doesn’t grab people’s attention and isn’t rooted in true human insight.”
In a cutthroat digital landscape, where brand after brand relentlessly vies for consumer attention, Kang said sometimes brands have to be willing to take a step outside the box and embrace the unexpected, as illustrated in Eos’ viral “Bless Your F*ing Cooch” campaign.
@killljoyy Reply to @_notbrooke_ ♬ original sound – killjoy
“That campaign taught us the value of speaking to your audience like you’re one of them—using real talk and being educational and helpful and rooted in things that other brands aren’t talking about. That’s how we were able to achieve this level of connection with, essentially, a shaving cream,” she explained.
From courtside to clicks
According to Atwell, social media is the MVP when it comes to forging a winning bond between fans and their favorite teams and players.
“We have a very vibrant community of NBA fans across social media we’re able to tap into,” she said. “Engagement is more important than ever, and we’re seeing our content be consumed by more fans. Social media gives us access to players and entertainment by being able to engage with our fans as fast as possible.”
The NBA Instagram account shattered engagement records last season, racking up more than 13 billion views and becoming the most viewed account on the platform.
“It takes a lot of teamwork to achieve those numbers,” Atwell said. “We’ve started to understand what our audience wants, how to reach them, and how to be timely. We’ve set up a framework to do so. It’s all about knowing what resonates and having the tools in place to be able to develop that content.”
Capitalizing on virality
The duo agrees that capitalizing on virality requires the right team in place and staying agile.
“These viral moments are the gift from the heavens—they just drop in your lap when you’re least expecting it,” Kang said. “The hard work that surrounds a viral campaign happens way before it goes viral. It’s about being able to create smart content that resonates, listening to your audience.
“And the other muscle you have to flex when a viral moment happens is to jump on it quickly and make sure you’re capitalizing on it with speed,” she added. “You can’t manufacture or engineer viral moments, but great marketers will figure out how to amplify the moment and keep it lasting.”