Content Wave Riding – GannettLocal Harlem Shake
What is the Harlem Shake?
Last Friday members of the GannettLocal team briefly turned one of our Think Tank meeting rooms into an oversized phone booth party that would make Mardi Gras patrons jealous. OK, maybe that’s an embellishment, but we did do a decent rendition of the popular Harlem Shake meme that has taken the Internet by storm.
The Harlem Shake was first created by five teenagers from Queensland, Australia, on February 2, under the YouTube name “The Sunny Coast Skate.” The original video shows a man in a helmet dancing to a song by the artist Baauer, while the other four people in the room ignore him until suddenly the beat drops and everyone is gyrating like crazed fans at a Justin Bieber concert.
According to The Sunny Coast Skate YouTube page, as of February 15, over 40,000 spinoffs of the video have been uploaded—generating more than 175 million views around the meme and counting. Other than having an excuse to dance and participate in an Internet phenomenon, what’s the benefit of jumping on a meme?
It’s strategic—not just fun
Anytime a popular meme or news headline breaks out online, millions of views and visits are generated on the topic. This spike in traffic creates a wave for content creators online. If you jump on the wave quick enough, you can catapult your website or video in front of millions of viewers. This is a form of timely SEO, and allows for marketers to use popular keywords and phrases that are generating traffic with low competition. Even a digital marketing agency having a little fun on a Friday can capitalize off this timing—in 24 hours our Harlem Shake video had over 600 views.
This isn’t just good for SEO and driving website traffic, it’s actually huge for social media engagement, too. When a video meme like the Harlem Shake is being highly talked about through social channels, the conversations are generating a buzz. Likes, shares and comments increasingly grow, and if brands contribute to the meme madness, it will help boost their social reach and engagement. Brands have to think about Facebook as a cocktail party among friends; if everyone is talking about the Harlem Shake, join in on the conversation with your community. Social is meant to be social—don’t forget that.
Ride the wave
If you create content online, next time something goes viral do an experiment. See if you can make a video or write a blog about the topic. Give it your own personal spin or slightly brand it to your business, but don’t overdo it with blatant advertising, and remember to keep it on par with the original meme. If you need help jumping on the viral wave, we know a few people who can help.