Social media platforms have evolved rapidly since their inception. Beginning with a focus on text-based formats, social media has branched into the highly visual platforms we see today. YouTube revolves around video content, Instagram relies on images and video, and TikTok is all about short-form video content and remixing. With brands achieving viral status in video marketing campaigns, it’s a good idea to consider how your business could benefit from video content on social media.
Whether you’re utilising video for paid advertising, organic content, or both, video marketing is a must on modern social media platforms. From the demonstrated virality of TikTok content, to YouTube becoming the second-largest search engine online (second only to its parent company, Google), video content has proven itself to be engaging and top-performing on most social media channels.
General Advice for Viral Video Marketing
Know Your Audience
Whichever platform(s) you choose for your video marketing efforts, it’s important to make sure you’re choosing platforms wisely. Research which platforms your target audience is active on and whether they’re engaging with video content on those platforms. If your target audience is young, entrepreneurial, and always on the move, platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are going to work well with your video content.
Set Your Goals
Reaching “viral status” doesn’t mean a lot if you don’t define what viral means to your business. Do you want to reach millions of views? Gain thousands of followers? What is viral to a smaller business may not be the same as what is viral to a globally known brand. You’ll need to figure out your video marketing campaign goals first before venturing into the content creation stage.
Keep Up With the Times
Marketing is very competitive on social media and it is always important to adapt to changes in platform features, target audience behaviours, and industry fluctuations. We can always expect on any new social network that becomes successful to see all types of companies advertising their products on it shortly after. What we have also seen is the ‘main’ social platforms adapting to their competitors. For example, Instagram implementing Stories following the success of Snapchat.
Closed captioning directly on your video is proven to increase the accessibility of your content and improve your chances of longer view counts. One recent study showed “a 40% increase in views of captioned videos versus uncaptioned,” with the same study finding that viewers are more likely to watch a video all the way through when captions are present. Think about how many people scroll their phones on mute while commuting, on their lunch break, or even quickly while working. You can reach so many more eyes when you make your content available to watch even without sound.
Capture Your Audience’s Attention
Your videos should be interesting and captivating right from the start.
We know, it’s easier said than done. But in any viral video marketing campaign, videos grab the attention of the user within just a few seconds. Anything past that is for the actively interested and engaged users, so make those precious seconds count.
Influencer marketing is booming on social media. Utilising influencer marketing in your video marketing campaigns can help your videos go viral given the reach and impact that influencers have by nature. Although, like always, virality is not guaranteed, it makes sense that influencer marketing can play a role in brands’ viral video content due to the ability to tap into markets that you wouldn’t usually reach organically.
Creating Viral Video Content For…
There is no guarantee or definitive rule to creating viral video marketing content. There are, however, best practices and tips that you can follow consistently as a brand to boost your chances of hitting the viral mark with your video marketing content.
Again, nothing is guaranteed, but if your brand’s videos are going to blow up, it’s likely to be on TikTok. TikTok’s expertly crafted For You page (FYP) algorithm contributes greatly to viral content on the platform, even for creators or brands without many followers. Going viral on TikTok is by no means easy, or guaranteed, but by following a few simple tips, you’ll increase your chances of your TikTok page taking off.
Make sure that you’re creating unique, high-quality content that’s relevant to your brand, especially when incorporating popular trends, dances, or sounds into your content. Users will get tired of seeing the same copy-and-paste content every third video on their FYP.
Your video captions should also utilise popular hashtags to gain traction, as they are one of the factors of the algorithm. You’re unfortunately limited to a 100-character long un-editable (after posting) caption, so make sure you’re thorough with your hashtag research before devising your captions.
YouTube, as the second-largest search engine, is the video hub of the internet. As a search engine, SEO (search engine optimisation) is an important aspect of creating good YouTube content. To stand out from the billions of other videos on YouTube, you’ll need unique optimised titles, thumbnails, and descriptions for your videos.
The trick to going viral on YouTube also often involves your video’s shareability on other social media platforms. Twitter and Facebook are great places to share and repurpose your YouTube content and redirect your following from one social channel to another.
Facebook boasts video features such as playlists, featured videos, custom thumbnails, and editable metadata – utilise all these features to create the best chance of growing your video content’s reach and impressions. Also, natively uploaded videos often perform better than shared video links. If you’re looking to focus on creating viral content on Facebook rather than other platforms, uploading natively is your best bet.
Reaching viral level on Instagram through organic feed videos is almost entirely a relic of the past. Instagram’s hottest features are Reels, Stories and IGTV when it comes to attention-grabbing video content with viral potential and reshare-ability. As with other platforms, you’ll want to utilise popular (making sure they’re relevant) hashtags in your captions. For Reels, you can use music from within the platform – similar to TikTok’s sounds, but less vast – in the hopes of users finding your content from the song’s explore page.
On Twitter, viral videos are driven by mass retweets. According to Twitter themselves, there is a spectrum of virality on Twitter – sometimes viral content “spreads like wildfire,” and sometimes it grows more slowly “like ripples spreading across a lake.” Similar to other fast-paced platforms, to have a successful Twitter video marketing campaign you’ll need to utilise hashtags, well-written copy, and attention-grabbing starts to your videos.
Are you struggling with managing all of these social media platforms, content formats, and creative campaigns? Maybe we can help! As social specialists, Giraffe Social Media have worked with clients big and small in a variety of industries. With our expert knowledge and years of experience, we will be able to help you achieve your social media goals.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance in June 2021.