ISM 041: What Makes a Video Go Viral & the Strategy Behind WestJet's Christmas Miracle with Greg Hounslow and Greg Plata - Rick Mulready

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ISM 041: What Makes a Video Go Viral & the Strategy Behind WestJet’s Christmas Miracle with Greg Hounslow and Greg Plata

January 19, 2014

westjetIn this episode of the Inside Social Media podcast, I talk with WestJet’s Greg Hounslow and Greg Plata about the airline’s viral video hit “Christmas Miracle” — the strategy behind it and how small businesses can model something similar for their own business.

My journey to connect with the biggest brands in the world and share with you how you can model and adapt their social media insights and strategies for your business continues…

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More About This Show

If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t watched WestJet’s Christmas Miracle video, stop now and take a second to watch it below. It’ll make your day.

When WestJet released the video shortly before Christmas, they had no idea it would be a viral video hit.

Within the first few days of being released, it had been viewed millions of times and at the time of this interview, that count is up to 35 million views in just 6 weeks.

So what goes into making a video go viral? How did WestJet do it? Turns out they had a very specific launch and marketing strategy behind the video and that’s what I dive into today with WestJet’s Emerging Media Advisor, Greg Hounslow and their Team Lead for Sponsorships, Greg Plata.

Specifically, we discuss how small businesses can model and apply WestJet’s strategy to their own small business with little to no budget.

Here’s what else you’ll learn in this episode:

  • The strategy and planning that went into the Christmas Miracle video and how we small businesses can model and apply what WestJet did for our own business.
  • How WestJet marketed the video to set themselves up for massive success – and lessons learned that we as small businesses can take away.
  • The role of your brand voice and how its everything when it comes to telling the story of your business through social media.
  • We talk about Facebook’s recent algorithm update and how to strategically increase your reach.
  • And of course, you’ll hear from both Gregs about the top 3 things they would do if they were just starting to market their business with social media.

Episode Resources

Follow WestJet on:

Greg Plata on Twitter

Greg Hounslow on Twitter

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Insider Show Notes: WestJet’s ‘Christmas Miracle’ and How to Model It for Your Small Business

On What Makes Content Successful In The First Place…

  • It’s critical to create an emotional response from your audience.
  • Connect with and listen to what the people really want, then deliver it.
  • Build genuine, authentic relationships with your audience.

On Building An Experience Through Social Media…

  • Don’t push your brand on people, allow them to interact and engage with it.
  • You don’t need a ton of resources to have a great brand experience.
  • Create feeling and bring your brand to life.

On Levering Social Media To Maximize Your Viewers…

  • Share your content over a number of social media platforms once released.
  • Simplify your promotion for easier sharing through the various platforms.
  • Amplify the message as much as possible and create excitement.
  • Creating ‘behind the scenes’ content can really launch your content.

On The Relationship Between Customer Service And Social Media…

  • Don’t underestimate the power of social media when applied to customer service.
  • Real time customer service allows a great level of connectedness between you and your customers.
  • Positive feedback on social media becomes instant publicity for your brand.
  • Integrate online and offline customer service to get the best of both worlds.

On The Changes To Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm…

  • As Facebook evolves, it’s essential to keep on top of any big changes which could affect your social media strategy.
  • Any future changes made can definitely make an impact on your reach through Facebook.
  • Putting out quality content to begin with helps soften the blow.

On Dealing With Social Media Overload…

  • Before you get your brand involved with a platform, you need to be involved in it first.
  • Begin by interacting with people on a personal account to get your feet wet.
  • You don’t need to be on every social media platform, choose a few and really nail them.


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