How to Go Viral

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Almost everyone who posts a video on YouTube nowadays expects it to become viral, but what does it take to make that happen?
Is it luck? Is it amazing content? Is it something psychological? Go on reading and discover the answers to these questions!

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Step 1: Understand the Term Viral

If something has gone viral, it usually means that a piece of content has been widely shared and has been well received. Wikipedia defines Viral Marketing as "marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of viruses or computer viruses."

Viral marketing can be delivered by word of mouth and enhanced by the use of social media. Most viral marketing campaigns take the form of video clips, games or images. The main focus on this guide will be videos, and more precisely, YouTube Videos. We'll take a look at some of the most viewed videos on this platform and analyse their success.

(image via Spire Advertising)

Step 2: Metcalfe's Law?

Metcalfe's law is a way to calculate the value of a network. It states that the value of a communication network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. Hold on, what does this mean? The value of each potential sharer of your content is proportional to the number of individuals that person is connected to.

Imagine two telephones, they can only make a connection. But if we have 5 telephones there can be 10 different connections between them. Now translate that into, say, Facebook. If you have around 100 Facebook friends, imagine the amount of connections that can be established.

For viral marketers, this law is important to understand the power of social networks and how people with a strong online presence can be used to create value and Return On Investment (ROI).

(image via Wikipedia)

Step 3: The Key Factors in Viral Marketing

1. The content

Although some videos end up being viral God knows how, most of the viral marketing campaigns rely on the quality of the content. The most important thing is to understand customers and internet users and find out what they like. If we take a look at the Volkswagen "The Force" campaign, the german car manufacturer uses one of the pop icons of our generation (Darth Vader) and creates an innovative story around it.

Although the commercial was first aired during the Super Bowl, it was later shared extensively on social channels like Twitter and Facebook.

2. The sharing of the content

Most companies don't have the money to spend on a spot during the Super Bowl, does this mean that their campaigns won't go viral? Not at all. Here's where the value of the social networks should be considered.

You want your content to be shared, therefore you need to reach people with a considerable amount of friends on Facebook or followers on Twitter. How do ou do that? Although establishing a well-regarded online presence takes time, there are social network tools like Compaign Commander Enterprise Edition, that allow the management of email and social marketing increasing the reach of the published content.

(image via Xcellimark)

Step 4: Why Do People Share Content?

Although the success of content is unpredictable, here are some of the key factors that can make a video go viral.


If you can't stop laughing after watching a video, you'll probably end up showing it to all your friends.


When a video makes you share a tear, it will also make you share it.

It shares your values

When people come up with videos that share their values, beliefs or points of view, they are more likely to share them with their friends on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network. A perfect example is they Kony 2012 campaign, who has got almost 88 million views in less than a month.

It's unbelievable!

Videos that make the the viewers wondering whether what happens in them is real or not are easily shared between users.

How embarrassing!

Even if you feel completely embarrased after watching a video, you'll end up sharing it.


Step 5: Where to Share

Even if you create a video that mixes all the elements mentioned on the previous step, you still need to know and how to share it.

1. Bookmarking sites

Bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Delicious and Digg are the perfect place to start your campaign, if they get noticed in here there are high chances of being shared by thousands of people.

2. Blogs

Try to reach big bloggers and ask if they mind sharing your video, they might find it interesting and their readers as well. Some bloggers will do it for free but high authorities might ask for something in return

3. Twitter and Facebook

If you have contacted bloggers they will probably share the content as well on Twitter and Facebook, make sure that if they agree to share your video they also do it on these channels as the reach can be highly increased.



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