Recent figures from social media networks show that 700 videos are shared on Twitter every minute of every day, while over 500 years of YouTube videos are watched daily on Facebook! Over past few years, viral videos have taken the Internet by storm and they continue to garner millions and millions of views, making up a good proportion of those online video views. Videos that go viral are an amazing sales tool, both for your overall brand and for a particular product. If you want a slice of this viral pie for your organisation, here are some top tips on how to get it!
That stand-out quality
Viral videos stand out from the crowd – but how? It might seem obvious, but one of the keys is producing footage that instantly grabs and holds the viewer’s attention. Your customers are increasingly multi-screening: watching video content on their phones or tablets, while doing other things at the same time, like watching TV or replying to emails. This means that your potential customers are often distracted when they encounter your content. One of the ways to get around this is to give your customer a visual spectacle – something new and fresh that they haven’t seen before, that hooks them in, right from the beginning. Have you seen the “Will it Blend?” video? It involves a stereotypical ‘scientist’ blending a range of household items with hilarious results and has been a major YouTube hit. Bearing this in mind, I recommend finding something light-hearted that is relevant to your product as your ‘grab’ content. It is even worth gently poking fun at your brand.
Going for laughs
If we are honest, we will all admit to watching viral videos. What is appealing to us about them is the fact that unlike much B2B content, they are not dry or boring. Similarly your prospective customers are unlikely to be grabbed by dry, corporate fodder. The simplest way to inject a bit of excitement into your sales video and give it a shot at going viral, is to make it funny.
WARNING: Humour is very subjective, so try and be careful when coming up with your hilarious idea, as it could easily fall flat or even offend, causing untold brand damage.
One of the things viral videos do so well, which therefore contributes enormously to their success, is to get people talking. Take for example those Marmite love or hate videos. They show a brand using strong viewpoints and a bit of controversy to hammer home their message. Being controversial is something most businesses try to avoid, but having strong opinions and communicating original ideas is generally very beneficial for your brand.
A bit of star quality
Another way to generate interest for your sales video is to get some celebrities involved. Your potential customers are average consumers too. Celebrity culture is a huge part of modern life and with highly active fan communities on Facebook and Twitter, a relevant celebrity can really boost your view count, and get your video the exposure it deserves among your customers and beyond.
Meow, woof and squeak
When you think of viral videos, cats are probably one of the first things to cross your mind. Cute animal videos rack up millions of views on YouTube every day, providing something that people from all cultures and nationalities can connect with. However, unless you’re involved in the pet or veterinary industry, tying a cute animal into your key message or brand image is not going to be obvious! The key lesson here is about emotion. Cute animal videos provide something that viewers whatever their background can emote with. Choose an angle or storyline that all your customers can relate to and will have some feeling for, and you have a much better chance of success with your sales video.
Mix and match
Most videos that have gone viral employ a combination of all of these techniques. One of my favourites is the Volvo Lorry video in which Jean-Claude Van Damme is seen balancing on two moving Volvo trucks, and eventually doing the splits as they move apart beneath his feet. It uses a mix of celebrity, humour and stand-out quality.
While the average business might not have the budget to hire Van Damme or organise huge stunts, using these principles will certainly make your sales videos much more interesting, attracting many more potential customers as viewers and creating a positive attitude towards your brand.
By Keren Haynes, co-founder and CEO of Shout Communications - one of London's leading broadcast agencies. For more advice on creating compelling PR Videos, check out our Power of Video e-book or give us a call and we can make your brand go viral.