3 Elements To Make A Video Go Viral On Social Media



Good morning, internet fans! Ryan Perry here, Simple Biz Support. Today is July 20th. It is Wednesday therefore it is Social Media Wednesday with Sarah Giometti with Provaro Marketing. Good morning, Sarah.

Sarah Giometti: Good morning, Ryan. How are you?

RP: I’m doing great. We were just talking off-air about the next viral video which I believe is going to be Casey Neistat, who is a daily YouTuber that I follow and he just did a Pokemon Live. So, him and a buddy who, and his buddy’s in a Pokemon outfit, are on Boosted Boards which are electric skateboards flying through traffic in different parks in New York City and I don’t know what the ball is in Pokemon but he’s throwing the ball at the dude and they’re having fun. So I think that is going to be the next viral video, which ties into, what does it take to make a video go viral these days on social media?

SG: Well, you can’t predict it but there are certain elements that you can have in your video that would encourage it to become viral. And that’s what we’re really going to talk about is how to structure your video in a way that gets you exposure, but then how is it possible to get viral, a lot shares, a lot of views, that eventually should bring traffic to your website, to your business, ’cause that’s ultimately the game, is to get in front of new people. One of the elements that… There was a study done by a company that they wanted to prove that they could do viral videos over and over and over again and what they found was, one of the elements that all of their videos had was some sort of element of surprise, something unexpected. And that’s ’cause people are intrigued by that, they’re like, “Oh my god! I can’t believe that happened!” And so having an element of surprise and something unexpected is one of the things that will get people to share it. ‘Cause how often have you watched a video and it’s surprised you of how it ended or what happened in it and shared it on your Facebook or Twitter or shared it with your friends, talked about it, and so thinking back at how you have viewed videos that have been viral and having that element in the videos that you’re creating.

RP: Yeah. And one of them that I can think of would be Roman Atwood who started out just doing prank videos. So you never knew what the prank was going to be and a lot of times it was on his wife, it would be on total strangers, but he was constantly doing prank videos and that’s how he became viral and became a regular mainstream YouTuber these days.

SG: Right. And so you can have… And that leads into the segway of having fun with it… is most viral videos are lighthearted or funny to some sort. They’re not deep and thought provoking because usually if we’re sharing videos like that, we’re taking a break from our day, we’re having fun, it made us laugh, so when you combine the element of surprise with the element of lightheartedness, then you’ve got something that people will want to watch, will want to share because it made them happy. It’s the emotional response is what you’re going after is you surprise them but in a good and/or funny way, then they’re more likely to share it with their friends and promote it for you.

RP: Yeah, and the one caveat, technicality, be careful, I’m not a huge proponent of just trying to make viral videos when we’re talking about from a small business owner, and that’s typically because a lot of times people are watching them strictly for an entertainment value only. So there is a lot of websites that have a lot of traffic but very little action or conversion, because people are like, “Yeah, I want my daily dose of funny or my daily dose of surprise.” And then they bounce out. Now that doesn’t say, that doesn’t mean that you cannot make something that is funny, surprising and also effective. So don’t forget, even though we’re talking about going viral, don’t forget what the core part of the video is, and that is to drive people to your website. There’s two situations I can think of, I cannot think of the deodorant for men and the guy, there was the black guy, the actor and…

SG: Old Spice.

RP: Old Spice did a great job a few years ago with their different videos, very weird, totally unrelated to the actual product, but it engaged people and I think for the target audience that they were going for, they were trying to attract a younger new crowd to Old Spice, and I think they did a great job with it. And the other one is Dollar Shave Club. They did a great video, one shot where the guy drove around, had a great message and you didn’t know what was going to happen each time because it wasn’t your regular, run-of-the-mill video. That takes some work and effort to get done.

SG: Right. And viral for you, for a small business, could be 100 people, and especially if it drives traffic to your website, it drives traffic to your business that ultimately turns into sales. And so you don’t need to view viral as, “Oh, 34 million people saw this.” Because from a local business that’s probably not useful for you, because there are not 34 million people in your market. But knowing the elements of what goes into the viral ones that get shared huge, could help you in creating your own local mini-viral videos for your community, because it’s still the same elements. If you got the element of surprise, you got the lightheartedness and you don’t need to do this in every single video, but if you’ve got a few in there that are just maybe a little unrelated, a little silly, you guys are just having fun, it helps also to show them your corporate culture. Because people buy from people they know, like, and trust. They don’t really buy the product, they buy the people and their product is a by-product of what they’re going after. And so by having your personality and behavioral style come through those videos in that lighthearted, fun way, it’ll endear people to you more. And so also think of this in your own little market, it could be 100, 500, 1,000 and that’s still okay… I know that was half a thought.

RP: I was going to ask… You generated a thought, I forget who I was talking to but they did videos on a regular basis. Small business, and they ended up with a blooper reel after the end of doing a couple of them. And so they just for fun, they just put it out there as a blooper reel and it was the blooper reel that ended up getting the most views, it was the most talked about, and that’s what actually created the most traffic for them, was that blooper reel. So they reevaluated their video marketing to add that lightheartedness. Also, because their blooper reels they come across as being very honest and sincere, those mistakes and just the natural reaction that you see from people, is always going to be intriguing for people to watch.

SG: Right. Because we’re human and we don’t want… That’s one of the things on social media, people want to see your human element come out. They don’t want the super scripted, you hired a videographer and it’s perfect and you never screwed up because it’s not real life. And so having the blooper reel is a great way at the end of doing your videos, by having a little bit of humor and have fun with what you’re doing. Have fun with your marketing ’cause we hope that you enjoy what your business is, that you really like what you’re doing, and have that relay through the videos and the social media efforts that you’re doing. And that leads us into the third point that we were going to talk about, is authenticity. Is these videos that are going viral, they look authentic, they look plausible. They’re not… If you’ve got a guy running from a tornado and the tornado takes him away, that’s not really reality if you’re trying to be funny. It could be in a negative way, but if you’re trying to be goofy, running from a bear and you fight off the bear to win, it exits the realm of plausibility and so you want to make sure you stay authentic and plausible, while having fun with it ’cause that’s also something that people… It needs to be believable.

RP: Yeah, and I think also on those lines is that if you’re trying to make funny, that sometimes scripting it out just doesn’t come across as authentic or real. Again, it takes… There’s reason why some people are comedians and do a great job, is because they understand the nuance of making people laugh and being able to make it look natural, which is not an easy task all the time. If you’re going to do something, don’t try and force things to be funny.

SG: Yeah, that’ll show through. So to recap, the three elements, you want to have lightheartedness. Make sure, you don’t want to be over the top funny but you don’t want to be dark and dreary either. Even if what your business is is a serious thing, you can still have some element of lightheartedness in it and it doesn’t need to be every single video. And then you want to have a element of surprise. So something a little unexpected is something that will get people to like the video and be more inclined to share it. And then the authenticity, and don’t be forced. I will say Ryan’s more of a… I can’t think today. Ryan is more comfortable doing video than even I am and so I always tell people… I delete my first three takes, easy. Just so I can get it natural and comfortable in front of the video, I always hate the first one because I’m stiff, I don’t know what I’m trying to say and it’s okay if you have to do a few takes. Just trash them just to get comfortable with the topic, with what you’re going to say, fine tune it, ’cause you don’t want to be overly scripted. Ryan recommends you sit there with a bullet list, and you mostly ad-lib so that it feels natural and that way your natural funny and humor can come through.

RP: Right. Typically when you work off-script, it makes for really good gag reel stuff at the end because it takes… I’ll do five, 10 takes sometimes just because I’m not able to get through the thoughts or the words, and sometimes I get a little frustrated so you start making little side comments and those are those natural reactions that people are looking for. That add a little bit of humor, and again, it just shows, like you were saying earlier, that you’re a real person. We do not expect perfection. The other thing I want to add, just as a reminder though remember what your core purpose of the video is. If you want to grow your business, create credibility and all of that, just make sure that your video is in alignment with your business and your product, doesn’t mean it has to be directly related like the $2 Shave Club, is a great example of a guy just driving through the warehouse on a forklift thing. Great video. And then Old Spice, the guy holding the product. Just really off the beat but it connected with people and when you connect at an emotional level that is… That’s that authentic piece that’s going to drive people to want to share it with others and check you out.

SG: Yeah, absolutely. So, we can’t hammer it home enough to be authentic to your business, to be authentic to you, but have a little fun with it. And again, your videos can be a wide variety of videos. So, one could be a little bit off the beaten path the other one’s a little bit more serious and more product-driven or service-driven, so this doesn’t need to be every single video, but when you go into your videos, when you’re crafting out what you’re going to do, if you can have a little lightheartedness in it, if you can have a little element of surprise in it, those are good elements to think of as you’re mapping out what you’re going to do.

RP: Alright. Perfect. So, with that, if you have a viral video that you’d love to share or if you have any thoughts, comments on today’s episode, we’d love to hear them in the comments below. Sarah, as always, I appreciate the time and energy that you put into the show.

SG: Thanks, Ryan. It’s always a pleasure to be here.

RP: Alright, everybody that’s it for this episode of Social Media Wednesday. I will see you next week, same computer, same time. Take care.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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