While every company that puts videos online would love to see their efforts go viral — reaching millions of new viewers through personal recommendations via email, Twitter, and Facebook — the fact is that few do. Up until now, planning a viral video has meant trusting experienced hunches on what causes videos to get passed along, then hoping for the best. Writing on Mashable, Chris Schreiber, vice president of marketing for Sharethrough, asserts that we now have research based on YouTube trends, academic studies, and publisher analytics that offer marketers real insights on what causes videos to go viral. The days of guessing are over.
Here are a few of Schreiber’s findings:
1. Influencers Aren’t Everything
Marketers looking to jump-start a viral campaign latch onto the idea that influencers — stars or popular online personalities — are the key, and that once a taste-maker shares a video, it takes off. Like so much common wisdom, that’s wrong. While influencers can help a campaign get popular, Schreiber shows that viral activity typically starts with large numbers of people sharing within their communities.
2. Don’t Sell — Tell a Story
People don’t want to be sold to. Videos that pitch a product or service are commercials, and commercials make people click away. What people do like are stories. Videos that tell a story and spark a conversation are valuable. People are happy to pass them along, as a way of engaging with friends and followers. Think like a storyteller when creating your next video.
3. Weave in your Logo
If you’re not overtly pitching your brand, how do you get value from your video? The answer is to be a little more subtle. If your logo is on the screen constantly, notes Schreiber, you’re going to turn people off. If it’s not there at all, you won’t get any value. The answer is to weave your logo into the storytelling in a way that makes sense. You want it there, but not glaringly so. Schreiber points to this video from U.K. newspaper The Guardian as a brand video that gets it right.
For more tips from Schreiber, read the full story on Mashable.
Viral image via Shutterstock.