Tips For Going Viral

Category: SaaS Management

So the largest online video site is finally making money! They have managed to sell advertisements to some of the largest corporations in America, and these businesses are achieving greater heights of product sales from placing their ad on the face of YouTube. Every dollar anyone makes all rests in YouTube’s popularity. I discussed in my last blog that 2 billion videos are watched daily, and that 100 million viewers visit the site per month. If you do the math that means that each person watches an average of 2,000 videos a month.

That makes me wonder, What is everyone watching?

Today I searched for the White Stripes video, “My Doorbell,” which is a popular video, but it’s reason for views have to do with their fan base, not with the quality of their YouTube upload. Other than personalized searches, the only way to make your video well known is to make it viral. True success has happened with hundreds of non-professional videos that have caught the eye of millions. YouTube’s original purpose was a modest site that allowed people to upload public videos for free, but it has since then been established as a revolutionary idea.

Viral videos are no longer just for amateur home videos, although they still cater to this large audience. They have also become one of the most popular sources of advertising for companies trying to squeeze their brands into the every day lives of Internet users. Although viral videos do not place direct capital into the pockets of YouTube, their ability to publicize for other companies using a non-intrusive, engaging medium increases their individual endorsements.

No one would ever type “Smirnoff Tea Partay” into the search box. The only reason this video has remained on “Top 10 viral marketing videos,” is because someone worked hard to get it there. It has been fantastic publicity for Smirnoff, but this is only one example of viral video marketing success. How do they do it?

8 tips to making your marketing video viral:

1. Don’t just rely on YouTube.
Although YouTube is a top priority in releasing your video to the public, it should be connected with other sites as well. Share your video through multiple social media modems: Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. By threading links of your video through various web sites, it will generate traffic back to you. And traffic is what we want.

2. Appeal to an Audience, any audience.
Although professional advertising in magazines and on websites have media planning that researches exactly what target market will be seeing their ad, YouTube has the glory of appealing to every age, race, and gender. Therefore, make your content worth anyone’s while. You can do this by making it shocking, fascinating, or humorous. I say humorous, but I should be saying “humor at your own risk.” The successful funny videos are extremely successful, but if it’s not funny with the intent of being so, go ahead and sign over your company now.

3. Comment on videos that are similar to yours
The more Internet connections made, the trail becomes larger, and that trail leads back to you. Don’t be too proud to comment on other videos for fear of giving them more publicity. As long as you’re confident that people will enjoy watching your video as well, go ahead! Make connections! However, be sure to leave your link at the bottom of the comment. That way your bread crumb trail is easier to find. Also, subscribe to their channels, then they will subscribe to yours.

4. Don’t make an advertisement
YouTube is a medium that is free from the stereotypes and normalcies of print ads and television ads. I have no interest in signing onto YouTube and watching commercials. I would assume your target audience feels the same. This is not saying that your intent is not to promote your product! That should be a main focus, but do so in a way that captures their attention and doesn’t bore them to tears. For example, many of the viral videos that are popular are candid (seeming) home videos. You could take that approach and incorporate your company in some way.

5. Trendy Title
Until someone actually clicks on the video, the only thing they have to rely on is the title and the thumbnail. Many “tips to go viral” suggest placing a catchy, often fake, title for the first few days so that it can start out strong with as many views as possible until it becomes a popularly viewed video. Titles can be changed as many times as needed, and the original title will still be a tag so that people can find it the same. Then when it gets off on the right foot, change it to something more relevant to the brand. How many times do people say, “Look up something about a kid and something about a dog – I’m not sure exactly.” Titles aren’t what will make or break your video, but they can make your traffic.

6. Talk to yourself
No, this isn’t a suggestion for boosting your self esteem. This is a legitimate marketing strategy. Make several accounts and comment on your video. Don’t be afraid to raise questions, spark heated debates, etc. For YouTube, the phrase “any publicity is good publicity,” typically applies. The more comments underneath your video, the more your video will be marked as “heavily trafficked.” It’s not cheating – it’s initiating conversation! So, take initiative!

7. Think about you timing
Just like blog posts or network television programming, timing can sometimes be everything. Although some people may think that Saturday (when people are free and have time to surf the Internet) would be the best day to release activity, it is actually a slump in the online world. I suppose people have realized that there is sometimes a life outside of our digitally focused minds. Some of the most popular YouTube viewing times fall during the day and at the beginning of the week. Is this because people are bored at work and bored during class? Never! Of course they are. According to Web Distortion, a company that focuses on web development, the best day to release a potential viral video is on Tuesday or Wednesday. Monday people are refreshed and realizing the chores of the week that lie ahead, and the weekend never proves to be all that traffic heavy. So – think about your timing, it’s important to viral success!

8. The simplest tip…tell your friends!
This is the easiest way to put your video on the map, and someday (fingers crossed) find yourselves on the “Most Popular” tab on the YouTube video homepage. The best social media broadcasting you can do is to tell all of your friends, families, coworkers, neighbors, accountants, library secretaries, dentist assistants, you name it, about your video. It starts out local, but when they tell their friends, or post it on Facebook, it can soon become the “Pay it Forward” concept.

When YouTube was first created, they had issues with copyright infringements. The meetings were full of angry lawyers and marketers fighting for their rights. However, as companies began to realize the positive influence of such a public site, the marketers began to shrink towards the back of these meetings. Now, large corporations are not only making their own videos, but they are encouraging others to make their own. I said earlier to make videos that can be “easily remixed.” This will happen when viewers are eager to poke fun of products and their advertising attempts. For example, the Old Spice Remix. However, when remixes are made, it encourages viewers to see the original video… which is what we want, right?

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and don’t be upset if your video only has 60 views, try again. Viral videos take a lot of hard work, but there is genuine luck involved as well. Keep trying.

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