As to January 1st 2014, the total number of Facebook users worldwide is 1.4 billion, the total pieces of content shared on Facebook each month is 70 billion, the total amount of YouTube page views per month is 92 billion, the total amount hours spent on YouTube per month, and the huge statistics of today’s social networking and video sharing goes on and on. Welcome to the age of social network.
In this age, if you want to get something to be seen, it is impossible to avoid the Internet. No matter if you are making a movie, a TV show, a commercial or anything else. It is all about how to spread it to the world.
That’s why “viral video” is such a huge thing right now. Like virus, they spread fast and far. It is the cheapest and most effective way to reach the world.
There are many definitions about “viral video”. However, there are several key words that appear in all of these definitions, such as popular, fast (rapid), spread (circulate). From these key words, it is not difficult to find the core elements about viral videos: they all get a huge amount of views in a very short amount of time, and they generate a huge social impact.
Content matters a lot
There are always debates about what can make a video go viral. Some say that it has a lot to do with luck. However, only luck cannot make a video go viral, the content of the video matters.
I specifically look into ten articles (listed at the end of this post) about the content of viral videos. Despite the differences, there are several elements that almost every article would contain.
(In no particular order)
When you type in “how to” on Youtube, you can how easily these “how to” videos can get more than one million views. The reason why these videos can get so many views, is that they offer the exact information people are looking for, like “how to make your shoes waterproof”, “how to make a pancake”, or even “how to delete Flappy Bird”!
What is the big element of this video? Funny! People’s life can be quite boring, if you can make me laugh, I can make you popular!
No matter coming from what culture background, people can be defenseless to certain adorable/cute factors, such as cute kids, or cute animals.
There are lots of ways of surprising. And it is really difficult to identify the right “surprising”. The bottom line is, at least you can get a “Wow!” or “what the f**k?!” from the people who are watching your video.
What makes this video so successful is that, it generates a huge debate about whether or not the people’s reactions in the video are real. If your video can evoke people’s curiosity and start to talk about it, you are winning!
I cannot say this video would work on everyone, but it brings me to tears and remind me the kindness of human nature. People tend to be emotional. When people feel the same emotion as what the video conveys, they will be willing to share. It’s the same reason why some people like to share sad love songs to their friends.
Putting some form of ‘Call to Action’ will encourage people to share the video with their friends and turn it viral. Instead of making people feel mandatory, this video is a subtle “call to action” that make the audience think that they have the freedom to choose to share or not, which makes people more comfortable and more willing to share it.
By sharing things on their social media, people are also showing some part of themselves to the world. If the content you are sharing has certain good quality, people will also see you as a person who has a good taste. That says, we need to create videos that our target audience can be related to. This will lead to the sharing and spreading of our video to the audience we intended to draw.
There are successful videos which can make people feel related to worldwide. The content of these videos includes but not limited to things like humor and pop culture. That means, the larger the online population our video can relate, the higher the chance people will like it.
How to make a viral video
According to my online research and last semester’s viral video making experience, I summarize some key elements of how to make a viral video as follow:
1.Know the target audience
Need to have a clear idea of who they are and what they want.
This is coming from my real life class practices: this step will help the later execution a lot!
3.Equipment and talent
Expensive equipment is not necessary. Fully use the online resources (on looking for useful information and talent). Finding the right talent is very important.
4.Short and grasping title, related tagline, and intriguing introduction
I need to draw people attention to click on this video first.
5.Get my video out there and make it easy to share
Put the video link on all the possible related social media, forums and websites, Share the video with everyone I know. Special focus on opinion leaders.
The number of views, the number of sharing, read comments……these can all help improving my next video.
There is no guarantee that certain things will make a video go viral, but there are always certain things that can be done to increase the chance.