Almost every day, a viral video pops up, seemingly out of nowhere, and swiftly takes the Web by storm, amassing millions of views, shares and Press hits along the way.
With that much social attention up for grabs, it’s not just YouTube and Instagram power users or the staff at Buzzfeed who can benefit from understanding the tips and tricks of viral video content creation – marketing leaders must, too.
“No matter the size or budget of a company, in the end, everyone is pursuing similar marketing goals that either help better explain their product or service to new potential consumers or to build a brand’s trust,” says Poonam Jangir, CEO and digital marketing director at Umbrella Media UAE.
And research upon research reveals that among all the types of marketing content on the Web, video is the most effective tool to achieve those goals.
On average, video content is shared on social media 12 times more than regular images and 85 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy a product or service after watching a marketing video, according to Wistia, a video hosting platform for businesses. This may be why nearly 52 per cent of marketers worldwide choose video as the content with the best return on investment, based on statistics released by eMarketeer.
“Viral marketing harnesses the power of the Internet by identifying and delivering a marketing message to online communities and individuals that have a high social networking potential in hope that the message will be replicated and passed along,” Lahle Wolfe, CEO of LA Wolfe Marketing, writes for The Balance.
Essentially, any video that strikes a chord with enough people to pass it along to others has the potential to go viral.
But wanting to launch a viral video and executing it are two very different things – and as more businesses create videos, the competition for attention is only constantly increasing.
So what does it take for a piece of content to go viral?
The fact is that there is no easy answer to those questions, Jangir points out.
“You may as well read an instruction manual on how to win the lottery,” she says. “Yes, you might pick up a few tips, but any success will be purely accidental.”
Jangir has recently been working on a series of video showcasing vegan food in UAE-based restaurants. On average, the videos get shared a few thousand times in the first few hours of their release on Facebook. There are various types of video content and you should choose wisely which will help you achieve your specific marketing objectives, she explains.
This is because different types of video content will help you achieve different marketing goals. Educational videos, for example, are great for building brand awareness while animated explainer videos are perfect for pitching your company and product demo videos showcase your product’s features in detail. “Knowing when to choose the right type is the key to making content that consumers not only appreciate but also want to share further,” says Jangir.
And the more people who share your video, the more likely it will go viral. The operative word in all successful marketing campaigns is, in fact, ‘shared’.
“If you’re going to spend the time and money to create a beautiful, high production video, you want to make sure the result is shareable,” she adds. And video’s popularity is only going to continue increasing: today, social video generates 1,200 per cent more shares than text and images combined.
“This is why marketers need to create new ways to take advantage in ways that are different from competition,” says Jangir, “and the only way to beat competition is by creating better content.”
She added that an easy yet effective way to initiate this approach is by asking internally if there is something that can be improved upon or, better yet, something not being done that can be implemented to stand out?
“In an increasingly digital world, where you’re able to track shares, engagement, likes and more for each piece of content, your data tells a story and will let you know when know something isn’t working,” she added.
Creating the best possible content is a good start, of course, and promoting that content should be the next step.
For more established brands, an existing network of fans and followers on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be powerful, as can links with the blogger community. After all, it is the people already loyal to a brand that are more likely to share branded content with their own friends, followers and readers.
This increases the chances of a message going viral by purposely and strategically mass promoting a message.
So, in order for a brand to produce the next Internet sensation, it needs a story worth sharing, the ability to tell it differently from competitors, optimise it all with data and a lot of luck.
The writer is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.