|Not everyone can go viral like “Grumpy Cat”
You’ve seen them. Those short little videos that end up in your Facebook newsfeed, on your Twitter or that pop up in your emails daily. From the Harlem Shake to Grumpy Cat, viral videos have become a staple of workday surfing and something called “friendsharing”.
They have millions of views and have elevated ordinary folks into stardom (think “the Bieb” and the guy who did “Gangnam Style“). It’s tempting to think that just about anyone can create a viral video, and in theory, anyone can. But in reality, creating a video that racks up millions of hits is, particularly for your business, is very, very, VERY hard.
An Essential Element:
The irony is, your business NEEDS to utilize video, especially on your social media platforms, in order to gain followers, friends and potential customers.
It’s just a simple fact of social media: You need visuals and video to raise your profile online.
This is where the viral video curse comes into play. Too often businesses believe they can create a viral video that will instantly make their company an internet hit. The problem is, it’s nearly impossible to consciously create a video that goes viral.
However, you CAN create a video that attracts viewers, hits your target demographic and effectively promotes your business.
Don’t Try Too Hard:
The internet graveyard is littered with examples of companies that tried too hard to create a viral video, or reach a particular demographic. Pepsi comes to mind, Coors tried it with their “Code Blue” campaign and Cheetos struck out with their recent “Orange Underground” effort. (click link to see example). So, even the big boys find it nearly impossible to do.
For your business, however, the first thing to do is remove the idea of creating a viral video in the first place. Instead, focus on creating a video that is interesting and actually says something about your business.
Let’s start with the basics of creating an online video for your company:
1. Keep it short – Anything over a minute is less likely to be viewed by the general public. Don’t use two minutes to say what you can say in :45 seconds.
2. Don’t TRY to be funny – Humor is subjective. What’s funny to you might be offensive to someone else. You don’t want to anger potential customers.
3. Have a clear message – Don’t let your efforts at humor or viral fame get in the way of telling your viewers what you want to say about your business.
4. Reflect your personality – If you’re a fun, whimsical restaurant, you probably don’t want your video to be stuffy or stiff. Show your businesses’ personality in your video.
5. Don’t scrimp on the details – The worst thing you can do is have awful lighting, bad sound and subpar editing. It doesn’t have to look like George Lucas directed it, but it also shouldn’t look like a middle school art project.
Two other items you should keep in mind. For those who are Denver natives, you’ll remember the old Jake Jabs American Furniture Warehouse ads. I bring this up because one of the staples of viral videos is the use of cute cats, puppies and other assorted animals to attract interest.
You can attempt to use animals in your videos, but remember a few things if this is the way you choose to go. First, animals are very hard to work with. Second, using cute animals might look like you’re trying too hard to go viral. Third, a cute animal might take away from the message you’re trying to deliver.
One last thing. When you make your video think in terms of volume. In other words, don’t make just one video, make several. A single video can be posted and get a ton of hits, but in a short time, people move on and it is forgotten. If you have seven or even ten short videos, you can constantly post the videos to your Facebook and Twitter feeds and keep people interested and looking forward to new videos. You don’t have to try and tell a story, just make your videos interesting and informative and you’ll be fine; just have a lot of them.
Again, producing a viral video is nearly impossible because the best ones happen by accident. Instead make your videos fun (not necessarily funny), watchable, have a message and keep it short and you’ll be able to post videos that will be effective enough to catch the attention of potential customers while allowing your current customers a chance to share something that will draw more attention to your business. And that is just as valuable to your business than any viral video will ever be.