The marketing world has changed tremendously since YouTube first went live in 2005 and taught us all a thing or two about the power of video.
Since then, brands have discovered the vast potential videos hold in our socially connected world, and virality became every marketer’s dream as they witnessed greater reach than they could ever imagine.
But since the trend is motivated by voluntary shares and takes a less promotional approach, it can also be quite complicated to create and replicate. Countless companies have tried and failed at sparking the next viral frenzy, as they recognized that learning how to make a viral video requires a deep understanding of viewers’ emotional reactions and what encourages them to share content.
So the million share question is –
How To Make A Video Go Viral?
Know your audience
All marketing strategies acknowledge their audiences and viral video is no different. You need to know your target audience, understand the language they speak and their key influencers. Note that for each video you may want to target a different demographic. Tailor your content with the technology, people, and the message that are right for your audience.
Caring drives more sharing
Sharing is caring, but do your viewers care enough to share? A share-worthy video is one that provides value to its viewers. Whether it’s a cute animal video, a motivating story, or a shocking display of new technology, viewers share videos that stand out among other messages.
Ideally, you want your video to make a person’s day a little better so they’ll want to share this feeling with their friends. If your video is just promoting your product or service, it will probably be lost among the vast sea of content. Instead, you can reach more viewers with a funny, even strange message, like this video by Dollar Shave Club that got over 23 million views by using self-humor and honesty.
Make it short
Potential viewers will watch your video either on their mobile phone or on their laptop or desktop with twenty something other tabs or apps open. Competing over people’s attention nowadays is difficult, and getting a viewer’s attention is a remarkable achievement not short of a small miracle. You need to create short videos that entice viewers within the first 5 seconds or they’ll move on to something better. How do you do that? Skip the fluff and go directly to the point you’re trying to make and the story you want to tell.
Tell a story
People connect with people. You’ll be able to increase your video’s exposure when you bring a story to life and establish an emotional connection with the viewers. We relate to people who are similar to us or to those who are experiencing the same things. But more than that, when trying to make a point or raise awareness, an easy to digest story or one that’s easy to relate to will most likely get more traction. GoPro, for example, employed user-generated content to reiterate their everyday hero message with this awe-inspiring video of a fireman saving a kitten.
Infotainment, or combining information with entertainment, reinforces a video’s value and makes it far more interesting for wider audiences. Again, we’re talking about value, and more specifically in this case, you can educate viewers with a light-hearted message. Airline companies like Virgin America and Air New Zealand were able to do this successfully when they spiced up the traditional safety video and made it into an engaging experience that extended beyond the flight.
Jump on the viral wagon
Viewers are much more likely to respond to videos that reference current pop culture trends and even other viral videos. If people are already talking about it, they’ll want to see more of it. You can spread the virality with videos that spoof the original video, create another version of a “challenge” video, or continue to develop a concept that works. Evian Babies created a funny dancing baby video over 7 years ago, and they continue to produce witty videos that successfully entertain viewers.
Aspire to inspire
We all need some encouragement from time to time. One of the most powerful videos that spark virality are the ones that inspire people to become better and conquer their fears, goals, or motivate them to achieve greatness. Keep the video positive and upbeat with a story that moves people to dare to dream big, like Nike’s Unlimited You video, that shows viewers there are no limits.
Viral videos have the ability to reach wider audiences over a relatively short period of time. As a result, more brands and small businesses are trying to take a stab at creating the next video that will spread like wildfire and get everyone talking about it.
But understanding how to make a video go viral involves careful consideration of your audience, the content, and the video’s format. You should always think big and different but still keep it simple.And don’t forget to encourage sharing.