(In case you’ve been encased in concrete and haven’t seen it yet – Kevin Allocca on going viral – click to watch his TEDYouth talk)
The viral video, it’s the golden egg laying google goose, the pot of gold and the end of the tweeting rainbow, the Facebook fairy prince who once was a frog and is now rich thanks to a million clicks.
Every company wants their video production to go viral. Marketing industry experts know that video is a marketing goldmine. Delivery of a marketing message through YouTube, Instagram, Vine or Snapchat can reach a larger targeted audience than television, reaching millions of eyeballs and all without those expensive air time fees.
As a video production company the pressure is on, if we were friended for every time we heard, “can you make it go viral”, we’d have a lot more friends.
So let’s have a look at what it takes to make a viral video:
Firstly, let’s dispense with the myth that you need an astounding idea or super high production value, what you do need is a video that captures the minds, imaginations or hearts of the general public.
So how do you do that?
The large brand companies invest millions into super bowl ads and video productions in an effort to make their ads go viral. The work produced is brilliant, but it doesn’t always go viral.
Why not? Because we are a media saturated society and the unknown factor that makes us hit the click, share, tweet, button is just that: unknown.
And that’s exactly how it should be, because creativity is not a formula, it cannot be outlined in quick ten tips or a downloadable PDF. Creative ideas are a strange magical phenomena, an alchemical mix of chance, open minds, a team of creative collaboration – and sometimes – illness or strange substances.
Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein after a dinner of rotten meat, she heard it helped induce hallucinations. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Jekyll and Hyde after fever-induced dreams, Alice in Wonderland, well, what was that caterpillar smoking.
However, video production companies, marketing and advertising companies can’t sit around and wait for the muse to visit, nor can they lie about in opium dens or hospital beds waiting for inspiring hallucinations, so they bring together teams of creatively minded individuals to work the concepts. They focus on the elements that motivate people to share and then they put their heads together to develop ideas and once the idea is developed and the video produced, they get to work on social media platforms and follow steps of promotion through paid and earned media channels.
There are identified elements in video production that help make a video go viral.
Production value is not of the utmost importance, as all the home video virals have proven. Susie crying about her brother growing up went viral; why, because we find it funny, cute and all parents, brothers and sisters can relate to it. This video made the personal connection.
Double Rainbow went viral; why, because Bear was authentic in his wonder, we loved his honesty and exuberance. He made us feel good about the world for a few seconds, in short, it was uplifting, but even this popular video may have remained in obscurity if it hadn’t been tweeted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Mentos in diet Pepsi went viral because it was cool, and millions of kids, ok and adults, wanted to try this at home.
A social media study from the University of Texas showed that all the participants involved preferred to share a funny video than one of a man treating his own spider bite. A similar study from the University of Pennsylvania found that uplifting articles are emailed more often than disheartening ones.
Advertising agencies, the masters of mind manipulation, have identified the most effective approaches to attracting attention.
Emotion, is top of the list as being the most effective, followed by humor, benefit and need, freak factor, social cause, and shocking statistics, all elements you should consider for your video production.
Good content is crucial, but there are other factors to consider.
Keep it short, between two to three minutes is a good length, 30 seconds is even better, about the length of commercials.
Open with a bang, you have five seconds to engage, better open with something unique.
Appeal to a social cause, like Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, this makes sharing easy as members and sites of social causes are always on the lookout for new video content to share.
Put your video on as many sites as possible, You Tube is just the beginning, Google+, Google Video, Yahoo Video and Vimeo, are all good places to start.
Blog about your video, and reach out to influencers who may be interested in your topic. Remember everyone is looking for new and interesting content.
Invest in paid media advertising, but think native, this will increase your chances of connecting with your audience. Pricing for native ads is based on CPV, cost per view, this guarantees that your advertising dollars are being spent wisely. Going native on Twitter’s promoted Tweets, You Tube, StumbleUpon’s Paid Discovery and TrueView are all good ways to reach your niche market.
Run with the herd: if you can jump on a trending wave, do it.
Understand that 95% of viewers won’t share your video no matter how good it is, statistics show that a good return on your video investment is 1% of people clicking through to your website. The key to mining Internet gold lies in the vast amount of people you can reach.
And most importantly, have fun, part of the alchemical magic is the passion and energy you pour into your production, all Bear had to offer in his Double Rainbow video was a good amount of Bear passion and energy, and we loved it. Thanks for sharing Bear!