Social Media Series: Part Five – Viral Videos

Social Media

We’ve decided to go ahead and add one more article to the Social Media marketing series and talk about the efficacy in using viral videos for marketing your business.  You can use this article as either a guide map to viral video making for businesses or just a fun break time activity and watch some videos we’ve linked.  First, let’s define viral video as an online video that gains massive popularity just through internet shares (ie: email forwards, Facebook, blog posts, etc).  Often these are pets doing crazy things, the sort of painful activities/silly pranks America’s Funniest Home Videos used to award $100,000 for, or flash mobs (groups of people that break out in song, dance, or other choreographed activity in a public place like a train station.  Some of our favorite viral videos are Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer selling Windows 1.0, Rapping Financial Planner, BlendTec blending an iPhone4, and Old Spice’s The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.

It’s obvious that consumers love to find and share great new viral videos.  But it’s not so obvious if consumers are swayed to buy anything based on a viral video. The 2010 AdWeek article, “Does Viral Pay”, states that, “In fact, the evidence is thin that any viral video, no matter how successful, is likely to convince consumers to buy a product.”  I know this is true for me as a consumer. Though I love BlendTec videos, I don’t plan to ever buy one of their tough blenders or an iPhone4 for that matter.  In fact, this CNN video discusses that only the musicians whose music is featured in videos that go viral make any money.  Even the famous and handsome Brad Pitt didn’t seem to do any favors for Chanel N°5 in his commercial, except to get a Saturday Night Live parody.

You Tube

If you even look at YouTube’s 2012 list of the top viral videos none of them come from a business selling a specific product.  But don’t let this stop you or your business from making a “viral video”.  Just don’t expect any video you create to go viral.  Instead make a video simply for your fans.  People can put a lot of work into a viral video or marketing a video, but you can’t force it to go viral.  Few who purposefully set out to make a viral video ever see it actually go viral. Instead companies/individuals make videos and then the fans take them viral!  The only person we know who can consistently make a video go viral now is Isaac Lamb; he seems to have figured out how to portray the magic formula of love via video.

Your company can still share its fun-loving, humorous personality with a video, even without expecting to make it go viral.  For instance, check out this funny “Harlem Shake” video from an office.  Don’t understand the Harlem Shake phenomenon? Neither do we exactly, but it is still fun to watch and this site defines it better than we can.

If you’re still interested in making a video for your company (that may or may not go viral) here are five helpful hints:

  1. Make it fun.  People are more likely to send and share a funny and interesting video than any other kind.
  2. Keep it short.  If you don’t know how to do this, ask someone you know who is good with computers if they can edit it down for you to a comfortable 10 seconds to 3 minutes maximum.  If they work for you, you should pay them to do this editing work.  If they don’t work for you, at least offer to pay them in cookies.
  3. Send it to everyone you know simply because you want to share it and then let them send it onto their friend’s if it is good enough.  Post it on your blog, Facebook account, website, etc.
  4. Don’t ask people to help you go viral. If your video is good enough, they will send it out on their own without you begging them to do so.
  5. Overall, don’t stress over a two minute silly video.  To every other viewer it is just something fun to potentially pass out, so why should you worry over it.  If you’re not having fun, no one else will with it.

In the end, enjoy viral success or just remember that one time you and your company made a funny and memorable video in an afternoon!

Find all Social Media Series posts here.

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