Marketing your business online can be a real challenge. How do you make your content stand out from what your competitors are doing? One way to do it is to create a viral video.
You might be wondering how you can be sure that a video will go viral. The short answer is that you can’t. However, there are some companies that manage to consistently create videos that go viral, including sites like BuzzFeed and companies like Friskies.
In this article, we’ll explore the world of viral videos and share some information that can help you capitalize on video marketing.
Video Marketing Basics
Let’s start with some video marketing basics. If you’re not already creating videos to market your company, you may not have given much consideration to why they’re popular.
What Is a Viral Video?
What is a viral video? The word viral suggests something that spreads, but that’s only part of the picture.
A viral video is a video that catches fire. It might initially be shared only with a few people, but those people then share it with their friends and contacts – and so on. Usually viral videos have something that makes them appealing to large numbers of people. They might be:
1) Topical and closely related to something that people are interested in
2) Funny and entertaining
3) Informational in a way that is new and unique
Opinions vary on how many views a video has to get to be considered viral. For a big company like BuzzFeed a video might have to get five million
views to be considered viral. However, for the purposes of this article, let’s say that any video that gets more than 20 times your usual amount of engagement is viral.
The best place to share your videos online is on YouTube. YouTube is not only the world’s largest video-sharing site. It’s also the second-largest search engine behind Google.
You should also be aware that YouTube is owned by Google. That means that local companies can get a real SEO boost if they use YouTube and optimize their profile and video descriptions.
Using YouTube is free. You can set up a channel for your business and link it to your Gmail address and Google business profile. You also have the option to sign up for Google ads to monetize your channel, or to pay to run ads for your company.
Video Marketing Statistics
Before moving on, let’s review some video marketing statistics so you understand why video marketing is a good investment. These are all from 2016:
1) Consumers are four times as likely to prefer watching a video about a product or service than reading about it
2) Facebook alone generates 8 billion video views per day
3) Having videos on your website can increase your web traffic by up to 157%
4) Having a video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%
5) 77% of all consumers say they have been convinced to buy a product by watching a video
You can see that video marketing has the potential to have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Qualities of a Viral Video
What are the qualities of a viral video? Here are some things that might surprise you.
Many effective viral videos tell a story.
The human brain is strongly affected by stories and is built to think in metaphors. If you can find a way to craft a story around your business, you’ll increase the chances that your video will go viral.
The next element of a viral video is surprise. It makes sense if you think about it. If a video is totally predictable, why would anybody share it? We want to be surprised and delighted. Your video doesn’t need to have a twist ending like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but it does need to take viewers to someplace they don’t expect.
What value does your video provide to the people who see it? Value can take all different forms. For example, your video might offer detailed information about a particular topic. Author John Green and his brother Hank have made a cottage industry out of their videos that teach kids about world history. (And not coincidentally, they also help sell John Green’s books.)
Value can also come in the form of entertainment. Many viral videos combine product promotion with humor. Just make sure that your videos offer a clear value to the people who watch it.
Every business has a target audience for its marketing. While you want your video to appeal to a broad cross-section of people, it also must be relevant to your core viewers. You might be tempted to make a cat video, but if you can’t find a way to tie it into your audience and their needs, you shouldn’t.
The next thing your video needs to have is good production values. In film, good production value doesn’t have to correlate to how much you spend. However, it does speak directly to the quality of the video.
The key to virality is to make a video that looks professional even if it isn’t. You don’t want grainy images, jarring camera moves, or poor sound quality. Your video needs to be well-produced and easy to watch.
Examples of Successful Viral Marketing Videos
Before we talk about how to make a viral marketing video, let’s look at some examples of marketing videos that went viral.
1. In 2014, feminine hygiene company Hello Flo launched their “First Moon Party” video. It told the story of a young girl who, feeling left out, faked her first period. Her mother called her bluff by throwing her an elaborate party to celebrate. As of this writing, the video has over 38 million views on YouTube. It was successful because it combined effective marketing with humor and storytelling.
2. In that same year, cat food manufacturer Friskies released a video entitled “Dear Kitten.” It featured a world-weary cat giving advice to a kitten who had just joined his household. The video advertised the company’s products, but did it in a way that was smart, funny, and designed to appeal to cat owners. The video has more than 27 million views on YouTube.
These are just two examples, but there are many others. Kate Spade had a lot of success with its series of “Miss Match” videos featuring actress Anna Kendrick as well.
Tips to Help Your Video Go Viral
While there is certainly an element of luck in having one of your videos go viral, there are things you can do to help it along. The first thing is to give it as many of the qualities that we listed earlier as possible. The marketing videos that have the best chance of going viral are those that combine storytelling with value.
Here are some other things to consider.
When to Release Your Video
The first thing to consider is when to release your video. For a video to go viral, it has to be seen. Video released on certain days and at certain times are more likely to be viewed.
You should consider what you know about your customers as well as the statistics available about video viewing. A video that’s aimed at working parents will do better if it’s released when parents are likely to be online. It’s not a perfect science, but it’s worth thinking about.
Where to Promote Your Video
Now you need to consider where to promote your video. Posting it on YouTube is a must, but here are some other ideas:
1) Share the video on your blog. It might seem obvious, but the people who read your blog regularly are people who are already champions of your brand. Show them the video and give them a chance to share it.
2) Share it on all of your social media accounts. You’ll be able to embed the video on Facebook. If it’s more than a minute long, you won’t be able to post the whole thing on Instagram. However, you can post a still from and encourage people to watch the whole thing.
3) If you regularly comment on articles in industry publications, include a link to your video when you do.
These are just a few ideas. The key is to share it as much as possible to increase the chances that it will go viral.
How to Promote Your Video
Promoting your video is going to require some ingenuity. It’s not enough just to post it. You also need to give it the best possible chance of success.
1) Make sure to optimize your video on YouTube by including keywords, a link to your website, and a transcript.
2) Pull a quote from the video or share an intriguing screenshot to get people interested.
3) Tease the video by letting people know what they can learn from it.
4) Consider making your video one of a series – that way, each video can tease the next.
5) Post your video as a promoted post on Facebook or Twitter.
The more intriguing and enticing you make your video sound, the more likely it is that people will watch it.
Tips to Encourage Sharing
Finally, if you want your video to go viral you must encourage people to share it. Here are some ways to do that:
1) Ask them to share. Again, this might seem obvious. But people are far more likely to share things when you ask them too. Try asking a question like this: Did you like our video? Please share it with your friends!
2) Incentivize people to share by running a contest at the same time. You might offer a free gift in return for people clicking “Share” on your video. Facebook, for example, will provide you with a running list of all the people who shared so you can keep track.
2) Share the video more than once and in more than one place. The more visible it is, the more likely it is that it will take off.
The bottom line is that you want your video to be as visible as possible. After all, people who don’t see it can’t share it.
Creating viral videos for your business requires a combination of planning and luck. As long as you keep your target audience in mind and do what you can to promote the video, your chances of having a marketing video that goes viral are as good as anybody else’s. And if one video doesn’t work, you should just move on to the next one. If you keep telling great stories, people will notice – and you’ll be able to reap the rewards.