How to make a video go viral
Imagine a scene: You are a business owner catching up with a friend who asks you if you’ve seen a video going around. When you see that the video has received 2 million views in just three days, you ask yourself, “How can we I get such a large audience for my business? ”You decide to make the videos in the hopes of going viral.
However, videos inspired by a success story are unlikely to go viral. Instead, you should consider all factors correlated with videos go viral. While viral success is never guaranteed, there are a few best practices you can follow to increase your chances of making a viral video.
What makes a video go viral?
There isn’t just one way to make a video go viral. Between the complexity of social media algorithms and the unknowns involved in targeting any audience, it’s difficult to predict which videos will go viral. That said, most viral videos share a few factors:
- Strong emotional attraction: Whether a viral video was funny, adorable, or infuriating, it went viral because viewers had a visceral reaction to it. A viral video can also describe an experience that viewers find broadly relevant and choose to share, resulting in a ripple effect on the internet of additional shares.
- Brevity: With so much content at their disposal, most people are less likely to watch videos that are longer than a minute or two. Many viral videos don’t even reach 30 seconds, let alone a minute.
- Relevance to current events: As social media moves beyond traditional forms of journalism, more and more people are turning to social media platforms for information. This is why so many viral videos are about the news. A news reader who comes across an unforgettable video detailing or satirizing the topic may feel compelled to share it.
- Eye-catching miniature: People have always liked a good image, so choose an attractive thumbnail for your video to draw people to it. On some video platforms, you can customize your thumbnail to be a screenshot of the video with added text and graphics.
Of course, some videos go viral thanks to a carefully thought out non-organic marketing campaign. Improved social media posts, influencer sharing and other digital efforts can help your video go viral, but even a heavily marketed video is unlikely to go viral unless it meets at least some of the above criteria.
Video platforms to consider
Another factor in a video’s potential to go viral is where you post it. Here are some popular choices:
At the start of 2020, there was about 1.3 billion videos on YouTube, with around 5 billion views on the platform per day. It is also the preferred platform for embedding videos on most websites, which can help you distribute your video to blogs, news posts and more. In other words, if you want your video to have the largest theoretical audience possible, it’s a good idea to post it on YouTube. You can also take advantage of the platform’s live streaming feature for creating videos on the go.
Although the future of TikTok in the United States remains uncertain, it was the most downloaded application in all categories at the beginning of 2019. It remains a very important platform for user-created videos under a minute and has a massive audience of Generation Z.
Since its inception, Instagram has also grown from a photo-based app to a popular video platform. It has more 1 billion users worldwide and allows users to share their own native videos and other feed videos via direct message, Instagram stories or Instagram feed posts. It also includes live streaming features and allows you to save broadcast videos to your profile for later viewing. However, users can only privately share videos shared as native Instagram stories.
Facebook remains the most popular social media platform, with 2.6 billion users in 2020. Like Instagram (which it owns), it allows video sharing through direct message, Facebook stories, Facebook feed posts, and live Facebook videos. You can also use Facebook to create video playlists, and if a video in a playlist goes viral, its viewers are more likely to encounter the other videos in the playlist.
At the start of 2019, Twitter had 30 million monthly users. Like Instagram and Facebook, Twitter can be used to create native videos, but unlike Facebook and Instagram, the dominant method of sharing on Twitter is single click – just hit the retweet button and the video reaches your Twitter profile. Also, since Twitter is for short posts, its audience may be looking for shorter content, so short content that you prepare in the hopes of going viral may fare better there. -low.
Vimeo is functionally similar to YouTube in that it allows for uploading, embedding, and live creation of videos. You can also use Vimeo to enhance your video and find professionals who can add high quality graphics enhancements. However, unlike the other options on this list, Vimeo is not a social network.
No matter which video platform you choose, you will have options for advertising, boosting, and marketing. Learn more in these articles on business.com:
Tips to make your videos go viral
If you share a relevant or emotional video with a short runtime and an intriguing thumbnail on any of the above platforms, it may have a good chance of going viral. Here are some more specific tips on how to make a viral video:
1. Make it actionable.
In a University of Pennsylvania study, two professors examined the New York Times Most Emailed Content list to determine which attributes were shared among the most popular items. They found that 34% of the items on the list provided practical utility – in other words, actionable content. This result could explain why the videos showing “tips for everyday life“are so popular: viewers can use videos that show how to improve their lives.
To take this 5 minute craft video for example. The phrase “genius tricks for everyday life situations” may compel viewers interested in life improvement to click through the video, as may the unusual, initially inexplicable thumbnail. People seem eager to understand what’s going on in the image and how what’s portrayed can improve their lives – the video received 1.3 million views in its first week.
2. Target strong negative emotions.
Earlier we mentioned that videos that trigger emotional reactions are more likely to go viral. The University of Pennsylvania study of actionable videos also found that not all emotions lead to sharing. According to the study, videos that make viewers sad are less likely to be shared. For full viral potential, your videos should instead inspire awe or anger in your viewers.
A combination of anger and fear may have led to Amanda Todd’s potentially triggering video, “My story: struggle, bullying, suicide, self-harm“to go viral. In the video, which Todd posted on September 7, 2012, she uses flashcards to reveal her struggles with being bullied. When Todd took his own life a month later, widespread anger among viewers was inflate the video to 1.6 million views in three days. The video has now been viewed over 14 million times.
3. Target strong positive emotions.
In another study by UPennProfessor Jonah Berger found that videos that make viewers feel very positive emotions are also likely to go viral. Berger’s study explains scientifically why videos involving cute animals or children often go viral: People who see the shameless happiness of children or pets often make a version of it themselves. With this wave of intense positive emotions comes a desire to share the video.
Perhaps the most famous example of a cute viral video is “Charlie bit my finger-again!“This video was one of the very first to go viral and was previously YouTube’s most viewed video. Her cuteness is almost entirely responsible for its viral spread, and the family who posted it reportedly won hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising placed on it.
4. Put it in good hands.
No matter how well your video ticks all the necessary boxes to go viral, you might not see much attention in it, at least initially. If you manage to get your video shared to a prominent public figure, internet platform, or publication, you might suddenly see an increase in views. Upload your video to influencers, internet forums, or online posts to increase the chances that more people will encounter it and ideally share it so much that it will go viral.
Karen X. Cheng took this approach to make it “Girl learns to dance in a year (TIME LAPSE)“goes viral. Cheng used a formal marketing strategy that involved placing his video on the front page of a popular Reddit subpage (better known as a subreddit). From there, online reporters have retrieved the video for news coverage. Cheng then contacted the companies whose products appeared in his video for shares, and sometimes they obligated themselves.
5. Once you’ve gone viral, strive to stay viral.
While recounting his experience going viral, Cheng said the work doesn’t stop once you go viral. As her video went viral, instead of cheering, she took the time to reply to as many emails and tweets as possible, especially those from reporters. The work paid off: After several startups asked Cheng to make videos for them, she started her own production business.
Follow Cheng’s lead to not only go viral, but also capitalize on this success. Even if your business video is only briefly viral, your 15 minutes of fame could lead to a lifetime of business opportunity.