“Let’s make a viral video.”
If anyone at work has ever suggested this, you probably responded by banging your head on your desk.
I’m not saying viral videos are bad. Without them we wouldn’t have the Harlem Shake or Justin Bieber. One of the best parts of viral videos is that they’re made on a low (or no) budget. There’s no fancy setting, no superstar actors. Just regular people. And then, somehow, millions of people see it and it becomes pop culture.
The problem is when businesses think they can recreate that type of video and expect the same results. The truth is, no one knows what makes a video go viral. There’s no pattern. Viral videos have been funny, like the Evolution of Dance and Overly Attached Girlfriend, and they’ve been eye-opening, like Kony 2012.
Social media guru B.J. Mendelson admits that there’s no sure-fire formula for viral video success. Internet users are as unpredictable as Lady Gaga’s outfit choices, and anyone who tries telling you they can guarantee your video will get millions of hits is full of it. There’s nothing you can do to secure viral video status, but there are several tips you can try to improve your chances.
Show it Off
You should spend just as much, or more, time promoting your video as you did making it. There are millions of videos uploaded online every day, so the chances of yours taking off are already small. Do everything you can to get your video noticed. More views means more of a chance to go viral. Which leads to my next point…
The purpose of a video is to get seen, and that’s hard to do if the only place it can exist is on your website. Make sure to offer readers a ‘Share’ button so they can broadcast the video to their social media sites, personal blog or to their email contacts.
Have a hook
A hook is a particular line or move that defines your video. The idea of a hook may be confusing at first, but you’ll know as soon as you hear it. Examples of viral hooks are, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” and “Charlie bit my finger!”
If you have a viral video project at work, definitely incorporate these tips into your plan if you haven’t already. If all else fails, just make a video of a bunch of cats and put your company logo on it.