Why Didn't My Video Go Viral?!
Being the first speaker at the Digital Gaggle conference, I think it’s safe to say that most people would be bricking it. The conference hall is filled with weird purple lighting, Harlem Shake is blasting from the speakers, and there’s a massive crowd of over-excited social media experts poised and ready to destroy you in one finely crafted tweet.
Regardless, with her cool charisma, amusing personality, and brilliant digital insights, Tiffany Maddox – creative lead at Rubber Republic - did more than set the standard. So, for those of you who want to relive it, or for those who missed out (tut tut), here's a quick summary of Tiff’s talk, ‘5 Reasons Your Video Didn’t Go Viral’.
Barely two minutes into the talk and Tiff doesn’t hold back on attacking her title. Basically, there is no ‘why’ to a video going viral. How come? Because NOBODY CAN PREDICT IT. There’s no magic formula, no special ingredient - so get over it.
Being a ‘viral video’ is also not a quantifiable measure of success. Neither are the ‘OMG I love this’ comments, likes, clicks or the sales. Nope, according to Rubber Republic, a real measure of achievement is in the shares. Above all else, this demonstrates your audience are truly relating to your content, want to show it to their friends, and will likely return to it (triple win).
To give you an idea of the shareable video content Rubber Republic produce, you can see their showreel below.
So, how do you go about creating truly shareable video?
When getting a brief for a video, there's a serious temptation to delve straight into the product messaging, the brand, and how to articulate the message. STOP. Get out of that tunnel vision and think about the audience. Like, now.
Audience platforms – Whilst Facebook is an absolute winner for likes and shares, it can be lousy for audience retention. This makes sense. After all, how many other pieces of content are there battling for your attention on the newsfeed?! Contrastingly, YouTube audiences tend to stick around for a bit longer. People go there to indulge which is why longer, story-telling themed content does so much better there.
Influencers – Paying influencers to advocate your content can be a big no-no. For instance, it may result in your video being shared in a soulless and disingenuous way - a total misrepresentation of the content itself. You need to think of an influencer as a representative of a community, and consider the platform your video may end up on.
Communities – Ultimately, a video that represents a community will be shared organically. So, if you’re targeting an audience with die-hard fans, go in hard. Or, if you’re aiming for the mainstream, try not to alienate your audience with nerdy facts. Just aim for the KISS (keep it simple, stupid).
Ok, so you want to create a film that’ll be bold, brilliant and leave your audience begging for more. Who wouldn’t? But, it’s important to make sure that the content you want to produce fits your brand. I mean, would you like to see an epic fail compilation from your bank? Yeh, maybs not…
To create a video that is truly authentic, you need to apply a heavy pessimistic lens (*pun alert*) throughout the whole production process. Be critical of the work you are producing; if the video content you create doesn't feel genuine or feels fake, it will look fake. So, work on the underlying message of your content and don’t let the brand overtake the story, otherwise you'll just end up diluting your original idea.
Provoke a reaction - Let’s face it, call someone ‘emotional’ and you might get a smack. Yet, evoking emotion from your audience is the best way to get them to engage deeply with your video content.
Your audience after they have watched your latest piece of video marketing
Is this more easily said than done though? Well, tying back to authenticity, it’s all about defining the underlying video message and identifying the emotion you want to associate with brand. Whether you want to make your audience laugh, get angry, or weep, just keep the objective clear. Also, try testing your video content out on people you trust. This will help you measure the success of your message.
Be surprising - You’ve only got your audience for a short amount of time, so don’t bore them. Interject some SURPRISE to keep them on their toes and retain interest.
4) What’s in it for them?
It may sound a bit cheeky but an overall aim should be to not pay for video distribution. Why? Because if your content has struck a chord, then your audience should want to do it for you. I mean, how else does content go viral?!
When a person shares your video content on their social networks, this suggests that the film has resonated with them. It says something about the person sharing it; it echoes their values, beliefs, or personality (even if it is just a video of a cat hitting a printer). So ask: is the content useful? This can be in terms of education, entertainment or emotions. You just want them to feel your video has value.
To begin with, it’s all 'brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm' and nothing is a bad idea in a brainstorm. So let those ideas and creative juices flow when developing an idea.
You at your next brainstorming meeting.
Once the idea has found some feet, that's when you need to turn on it. You need to strip it down, and unpick it completely. This process needs to be quite harsh because that’s what the internet will be. So, don’t be precious about your idea because - to use a brilliant Tiff quote - “ideas are like arseholes, everyone thinks theirs is great but the amount of truly terrible branded video content in the world says otherwise”.
Finally, build that idea back up to make Daft Punk proud - make it harder, better, faster, stronger - and DON’T FORGET to look at it from an audience perspective. Yes, it may be creative and enjoyable, but would you share it?!
Remember Tiff's A.R.S.E
So, to conclude, don’t get all hot and bothered because your video didn’t go viral. The success of film is almost totally unpredictable and a constant challenge. After all, video creation is not a science. It’s a mish-mash of art, trial and error, and simple gut-feeling. And, if you are ever doubtful of your video content, remember ‘Tiff’s ARSE’, and keep it:
S - Surprising
E - Entertaining