Taking advantage of viral videos to grow your sales

Companies can ride on the positive effects of viral content to hook in global clients. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH

What you need to know:

  • Firms capitalise on the publicity to raise brand awareness and attract customers.

Ocean Sole Africa, a Kenyan company that recycles flip-flops to create animal carvings, last week received global attention after a one-minute video showcasing its work was posted on Facebook.

In one week, it garnered 53 million views and over 10,000 shares and messages in a viral marketing success that evidence shows when capitalised on before it dies down, could increase sales.

The video was posted on June 1, and was produced by Vanessa Gutierrez, a junior producer at 60-Second Docs — a video website that produces one-minute documentaries that focus on unique characters, expressions and practices globally.

It features Francis Mutua, a Kenyan flip-flop artiste, narrating the process of making the carvings including how flip-flops are collected from the shores of the Indian Ocean and sanding the final products: an elephant, giraffe, lion or octopus, which retail between Sh1,000 and Sh2.5 million.

“The flood of attention and support for our company has been amazing; we were shocked by how well it was received globally. Just that night after the video was posted, it went viral, it garnered 20 million hits, we received a million enquiries in 100 hours and our website overloaded,” said Erin Smith, CEO, Ocean Sole Africa.

With viral videos, the excitement quickly disappears as another is released — thus by capitalising on such video content it can increase a brand’s awareness, attract more leads, and improve user engagement which enhances visitor-to-customer conversion rates.

Ocean Sole Africa’s viral video has created a new rise in demand for their products, which came days after the company had launched a JustGiving crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for more recycling machines and a larger factory.

The firm received donations from individuals offering to buy recycling machines and expects to raise over $500,000 (Sh50 million) in cash donations as well.

“What we learnt from this is that the video went viral because it was simple; it was not promotional, authentic and it had an emotional connection with the viewers. Sometimes brands over -promote their products yet what consumers want to know is the value of their products,” said Mr Smith.

In seizing the moment and capitalising on the expected spotlight, Ocean Sole Africa replied to the many comments and messages it received to increase user engagement.

Additionally, as a Kenyan brand selling its products globally; it sought to manage the customers’ expectations in terms of service delivery by improving its customer experience in countries such as Thailand, Peru and the US, among other countries.

By doing so, the firm will enjoy positive effects of the viral content in the long run. An example of another company that took advantage of its viral video on social media to increase sales is Wren, a niche clothing and accessories brand. In 2014, the firm released a three-minute video called ‘First Kiss’ to market its fall clothing line. It featured 20 strangers; 10 men and 10 women, who were asked to share a kiss. In a month, the video had received 77.8 million views, 1,392,296 Facebook shares, and 68,740 Twitter shares.

It continued to launch a series of other short videos to keep consumers interested and talking about the brand. In an interview with Tubular Insights, a platform that offers digital marketing research, Melissa Coker, the founder of Wren, stated that the video had increased its sales, brand awareness and visibility globally.

“Sales increased by nearly 13,600 per cent in the first two weeks after its release, compared to the week before we uploaded it. Traffic to the site also increased by 14,000 per cent, with 96 per cent of those visitors brands new. A month later, things slowed down a little but sales are still up by an incredible over 7,000 per cent compared to before the video hit.

Traffic to the site has decreased from its peak when it debuted but the average site visit length has grown 112 per cent,” reported Coker.

African Laughter

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.