Okay, we have to start with an admission. There is no perfect formula for going viral. That’s it, nothing we can do about that. But what we can do is help you go viral with some of our best tips and ideas for breaking through and achieving viral video marketing success!
1. Know Your Audience
True, a viral video is by definition one that reaches an enormous audience. But that doesn’t mean viral videos are built with “everyone” as a target audience. Far from it. Videos are more shareable when they’re well targeted, when they know just who they’re made for and stick to that audience.
So start by asking yourself who your audience is (ideally you should already have buyer personas ready to go). Think about what kind of video content your audience already likes. Is that fast and funny clips or longer explanatory videos teaching them about issues? Do they want something deeply emotional or something light and fun?
2. Have a Marketing Plan
What do successful marketing campaigns and men have in common? Neither of them is an island. Your marketing videos have to fit into a larger campaign related to how you want to present your company. Remember when I mentioned that videos make 58% of people who watch them feel the company presented is more trustworthy? (If not, go read the previous article in this series!)
Well, considering that videos are excellent at quickly forming meaningful associations with your company and your brand, it’s essential to ensure those are the right kind of associations. Then, when a customer goes to your website, the style, branding, etc. they find there should match what they saw in the video. This tells them they’re at the right place and further reinforces the message you’re getting across.
As with any marketing plan, making sure every aspect of it from tweets to articles, videos to landing pages, works together makes sure everything is optimized.
3. Evoke Emotions
If there’s one thing that video can do better than any other medium it’s evoke emotions (which is in part why videos are capable of affecting customer perceptions of your company and brand so strongly). So if you’re video isn’t evoking emotion, you’re not taking advantage of what you have!
Now emotion doesn’t necessarily mean The Notebook or Shakespeare, just that you should think about how your video will make the viewer feel. That could be simple amusement or something deeply emotional (more about examples of those later). The point is, think about how you want that viewer to feel at the end of the video and then figure out how to get them there.
4. Keep It Simple
A classic mistake in video marketing is trying to get too much information across. Sometimes creators assume that because it’s video, they’re going to have the viewer’s full attention. Maybe, but you certainly can’t rely on that. So pick a core message and focus on getting that across. Trying to do too much at once just dilutes that message.
5. Don’t Be too Promotional
This is absolutely critical. Remember above when I mentioned that you have to know your audience? Well, no audience out there wants to sit down and watch promotional videos all day. So resist the urge to cover the video with your logo or talk endlessly about your company and products. Doing so just distracts from the emotional content, the brand message, and the viral potential.
6. Learn from The Best
Here are three examples of very successful viral video marketing and what made them work.
First is Dollar Shave Club
Sure this video actually explains quite a lot about the company and its product, so it must be violating the promotional rule right? Wrong, all the promotion it does is still in service to its emotional content: lighthearted humor. The video’s overriding goal is still to make you smile and that’s at the core of its success.
Next is Dove’s famous Real Beauty sketches
Here Dove is more daring and it pays off. This video connects with very deep emotional experiences that nearly all women experience in life. By being meaningful (and keeping the promotional aspect to a minimum) the video is touching and started a lot of conversations (leading to more shares).
Finally, Chipotle’s video The Scarecrow
Like Dove, Chipotle tells an emotional story and keeps brand mentions and promotion low. The result is an ad that feels like a real parable, an important story to spark conversations and changes in behavior. The branding at the end feels more like an afterthought and not the overriding purpose of the ad.
Taking the Next Step
Now you’ve got some great tips to use in creating your own viral videos. Check out the last article in this series for more detailed information on how to do video advertising with Google Adwords.