The Washington Post

How can you make a video ‘go viral’?

On Small Business has a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young entrepreneurs.

Q: What are some strategies in order to help a video “go viral”?

Jun Loayza, co-founder and CMO of RewardMe in Mountain View, Calif.:

I’ve helped several large U.S. brands create and launch viral videos on YouTube. Of course, it helped tremendously that these brands were household names, had millions of social fans and followers, and was ready with plenty of money for advertisements and PR. Chances are that you don’t have these luxuries at your disposal, so you, therefore, have to create an amazing video that will be shared by people organically.

I’ve noticed there are three ways to do so. Employ the “How did they do that?” effect by using your product in a creative and mysterious way to mystify your audience, like in the popular Sunglass Catch video.

Or, showcase your product with an unexpected but entertaining purpose, like Johnny Mac, the trick-shot quarterback.

Shama Kabani, CEO of The Marketing Zen Group in Dallas:

‘Going viral’ simply means that your content has been shared on a massive scale. Most videos never go viral, and that’s okay. More important than ‘going viral’ is that the video accomplishes what you wanted.

However, you can increase the viral factor of a video in three ways. First, adding a touch of humor to almost any subject can attract more viewers. Also, most viral videos evoke a strong reaction — whether that’s anger, indignation or heartfelt concern. Such a reaction often prompts us to share the source of our emotion. Case in point, the Kony 2012 videos showcase the cruelty of a dictator, and the attempts of an organization, Invisible Children, to fight back.

Finally, contrarian videos present a different take on something we all take for granted. We all know blenders are meant to blend, but by showing how Blendtec blenders can blend cell phones (not just tomatoes!), they caused a sensation.”

Lauren Fairbanks, partner at Stunt & Gimmick’s in New York:

Having content, like a video or an infographic, go viral is two-parts numbers game and one-part sheer luck. With that said, there are a few strategies that can be done to maximize the virality of your company’s content, things that have nothing to do with what is actually being shared.

First, make a list of online brand evangelists — these are people who regularly connect and engage with your brand either through social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, blog comments, etc). Then make sure your content is optimized for sharing by including easy-to-find and easy-to-use sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Pinterest, and content aggregators like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Slashdot and Fark.

Finally, use internal and external resources as much as possible. Encourage employees to share the content with both their personal and professional networks. Push content out through as many content distribution channels as you can find — press releases, social media, e-mail newsletters and content aggregators. Also, remember to reach out to your online brand evangelists to help get that initial buzz going.

The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good).

Follow @onsmallbiz on Twitter


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.