6 Steps to Make Your Video Go Viral

Did you know that YouTube has more than 100 billion users localized in 75 countries and available in 61 languages? I’m amazed at the amount of time we spend watching videos online.  According to YouTube statistics, every day we watch hundreds of millions of hours of video generating billions of views, and those numbers don’t include video stats for Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, and other content/video sharing platforms.

With the influx of videos uploaded every minute of the day, how does one get people to view their content and hopefully make it go viral?  Viral as in “spreading an idea, cause or product” that garners the attention of a huge amount of people.  Just as we say “there is an app for that”… I’d like to also say there is a “formula” for that.  Believe it or not, there is a science behind making your content ‘go viral’ and it has little to do with the amount of money spent.  Successful viral marketing has more to do with content that dwells on positive issues or topics, evokes a strong emotional reaction (joy, fear, anger), and is practically useful.

Here’s an example of a unique viral video that evokes a strong emotion of pure joy.

Michael Shainblum’s time-lapse video “Welcome Home San Diego”.

VIRAL MARKETING – TOP 6 VIRAL INITIATIVES

Jonah Berger, Wharton Professor and Author of NYT Bestseller, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On” describes six initiatives (STEPPS) that will help make your video or product go viral.

  1. Social Currency: People care about how they look to others.  They want to seem smart, cool, and in-the-know.  So be sure to find the inner-remarkability and make people feel like insiders.

Example: Blendtec’s “Will It Blend” – iPhone

  1. Triggers: Top-of-mind means tip-of tongue. So consider the context and grow your habitat so that people are frequently triggered to think about your product or idea.

Example: Rebecca Black “Friday”

  1. Emotion: When we care, we share.  Emotional content often goes viral.  So focus on feelings rather than function.  And kindle the fire using high arousal emotions.

Example: Susan Boyle “Britain’s Got Talent” 2009 Episode 1

  1. Public: Built to show, built to grow. The more public something is, the more likely people will imitate it.  Design products and initiatives that advertise themselves (Red Bottom shoes) and create some visible behavioral residue (Livestrong bracelets).

Example: Christian Louboutin on his famous red-soled footwear

  1. Practical Value: News you can use. Useful things get shared.  So highlight incredible value (Rule of 100) and package knowledge and expertise so that people can easily pass it on (Corn shucking video).

Example: Microwave Corn on the Cob — No Shucking & Silk-Free!

  1. Stories: Information travels under what seems like idle chatter. Stories are vessels.  So build a Trojan horse.  A narrative or story that people want to tell which carries your idea along for the ride.

Example: Always #LikeAGirl Campaign

One more thing to note about viral marketing, be sure to make your videos interactive, humorous, relevant, and easy for others to share via social media sites.  Lastly, the more authentic your message is, the better.

Have you been successful at making your content go viral?  What are some initiatives you utilized to get more views on your videos?  Please leave a comment.  Thank you!

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