Why a 6th Grader Going Viral on YouTube Matters to Your Business

by Brett Pollard on May 13, 2010

You probably haven’t heard the name Greyson Michael Chance before, but there’s a strong possibility you’ll be familiar with it very soon.  Every now and then the social media space launches a person from obscurity to stardom – practically overnight.  Greyson is the latest to take part in this phenomenon.

Greyson’s Viral Timeline:

  • 2 Weeks Ago – A video of Greyson performing Lady GaGa’s “Paparazzi” at school is uploaded to YouTube (see below)
  • 2 Days AgoAOL’s Pop Eater and The Daily What among other media sites feature Greyson’s video
  • Yesterday – The video spreads rapidly on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and countless other social sites
  • Today – The massive exposure of his video prompts an invitation to perform on The Ellen Degeneres Show

There’s no question this 12 year old 6th grader from Oklahoma has a natural talent.  His YouTube channel contains only two other videos (original songs).  Both were uploaded within the last 2 weeks.   Make no mistake.  Agents are calling, record companies are watching and his music teacher, Kelly Cheek, is hoping he’ll return to school before the end of the year.

Whether or not all this excitement leads to a music career or just 15 minutes of fame is irrelevant for the rest of us less talented “artists”.  What matters is the fact that this type of thing is actually possible.  As social media evolves, the process of sharing content keeps getting easier and easier.  What results are the staggering numbers below.

Greyson’s Social Data (as of 9:00 AM CST):

  • 16,000 Facebook fans in 48 hours
  • Over 10,000,000 collective views on only 3 YouTube videos
  • 58,000 YouTube subscribers

Remember this isn’t someone discovered by a reality show such as American Idol and broadcast to 30 million people.  This is a kid who simply uploaded a video of himself  to YouTube 2 weeks ago.  So how does this relate to your business, you ask?  The social environment that allows these types of things to happen is the same environment that can be leveraged for your business.  The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what you sell, what services you offer, or who your clients are.   Your audience is out there, easily accessible  and part of what made a 12 year old boy an overnight sensation.

Your customers and potential customers are on a wide variety of social media sites right now sharing vast amounts of information with their acquaintances.  These sites have become so interwoven that information freely passes from one network to the next with minimal effort.  I’m not suggesting businesses can find the scale of viral success Greyson is enjoying.  However, understanding that this sharing of information, even on a small scale, can be incredibly effective should be enough for any business to get serious about developing a social strategy.

In the coming days and weeks, Greyson’s “handlers” will no doubt try to leverage his new found fame and the girls in his middle school will claim to their friends they always knew he was cool.  What will your business do during that time?   Get creative, find your customers, connect with your advocates, share information and respond to feedback.  It’s not too late to get involved or improve your current presence if you’re already involved.  A strong, well executed social strategy can have a very positive impact on your business.  I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

UPDATE (5/16/10):

  • Greyson’s appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show was a success
  • His YouTube videos now have over 19,000,000 views collectively
  • There are now over 116,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel
  • Over 25,000 people have become fans of his unofficial Facebook fan page
  • CrazedHits.com is reporting Greyson signed with Interscope Records on 5/15/10

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