5 Steps to Viral Video Success

Let’s just start by saying that there’s no way to guarantee a video will go viral. There’s no set formula that will ensure your video gets liked, shared, and turned into an instant classic by consumers. And yet, there are certainly ways to hedge your bets. For years advertising agencies have found ways to promote the brands they represent and elicit specific reactions from their audience. And the internet has only made it easier to tailor successful campaigns thanks to access to a wider range of consumers, as well as tracking and analytic tools that help companies to understand what’s working and what isn’t. But viral videos are a specific type of advertising tool and engineering a successful campaign can be made easier by considering why other videos have gone viral. Here are just a few steps that could lead to your own killer viral campaign.

  1. Consider your branding. What are the strengths of your brand that you want to promote? Perhaps you value honesty and integrity above all. Maybe you’re dedicated to furthering the advancement of women or minorities. Or innovation could be your primary concern. A good place to start with any viral video campaign is by figuring out what you want to say, the core brand message that you want to embed and that you want viewers to take away. Without this your videos may lack impact and fail to deliver the results you seek.
  2. Use humor. There’s no denying that humorous videos get a lot of hits, likes, and shares if they’re well-executed. Just look at the Old Spice videos featuring a half-naked hunk that put your grandpa’s brand back on the map, or the recent spate of Dodge videos featuring fictional anchorman Ron Burgundy. If you can find a way to adroitly use humorous content to promote your brand, there’s a much greater chance your videos will go viral.
  3. Get real. One of the best ways to launch a viral campaign is to come up with something that speaks to people on an emotional level, something they can relate to. So if humor isn’t your forte or it really doesn’t mesh with your brand message, then you might want to try creating a viral video that imparts some kind of truth. A good example is the Dove branding strategies. For one thing, they opted to create print ads featuring women of all sizes and shapes, or “real” women, something that the majority of female consumers can relate to more than size-0 models with airbrushed complexions. But they also launched a popular video called the Dove Experiment whereby they had an artist create two portraits of each participant without ever seeing them; one based on a self-description and one based on the description of others. Without fail, subjects were shown to be more critical of themselves, while others saw the beauty in them. In a very innovative and touching manner, the video told viewers “you are more beautiful than you think”, and Dove emerged as the altruistic brand that boosted every viewer’s self-esteem.
  4. Get people talking. Shock value and mystery are both tactics that work well in viral videos because they get people sharing and talking. Anytime people are driven to action by a video it can only help your chances of going viral, although you have to be careful not to push the envelope too far or you could wind up with a negative reaction.
  5. Involve your audience. It’s important to engage your audience if you want your video to go viral, but you might also want to consider involving them in the creative process. While it’s definitely smart to put your money into interactive promotional materials designed by companies likeĀ Evolve Media, you might also want to add content creation contests to your strategy. Let followers take a crack at creating video campaigns to represent your brand with prizes for the winners. You might be surprised by the incredible ideas consumers come up with.

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